Peugeot 208 GTI 2016 Review

Peugeot 208 GTI 2016 Review - Since Peugeot launched its famous 205 GTi in 1984, it’s been going through the dreaded ‘second album phase’ with fan boys constantly asking the question – will anything ever instil the same hot hatch panache as the beloved 205? Well, the Peugeot 208 GTi has been received incredibly well since its launch in 2012 – so well that Peugeot launched a limited run of 30th Anniversary special edition models – which later went on to inspire a new range-topping model in the standard range, which is this, the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport. So as well as getting the standard exterior GTi treatment with a larger rear spoiler and chequered-grille – this also gets 18-inch matt black alloys, red Brembo brake callipers at the front and a host of performance-inspired changes, which we will explore in a few minutes. This Peugeot Sport model also gets appropriate badging and some additional red highlights inside as well with these red carpet mats – very snazzy – and the red stitching you find in the standard GTi is now added to these figure-hugging Alcantara sports seats, which might I add are brilliant, definitely one for the office chair wish list. Now as this interior is very similar to the standard 208, let alone the 208 GTi, it offers a very plush, up-market finish, without going overboard with toggles and switches, thanks to Peugeot’s de-cluttering design. And I think this is one of the most solid hot hatch interiors actually. 

Peugeot 208 GTI

Kit wise you get DAB radio, parking sensors, sat-nav and air-con – plus you get the likes of this leather-wrapped gearstick and steering wheel. And this steering wheel, again carried over from the standard 208, remains the rather small elephant in the room. I think it definitely suits the GTi more than the standard model, but many will still find that it can block the speedometer, depending on your height of course. Oh yes, due to the GTi only being available in a three door, you get these heavy, wide-opening doors, worth noting if you have a cramped driveway. Now looking into the back seats you may not expect there to be much space, but – you will be pleasantly surprised when you’re back here. Leg room is par for the course, but head room is great… bit of an optical illusion really. Boot space is manageable at just under 300 litres, so small shopping bags and rucksacks shouldn’t be an issue. So, on paper, what is different about this range-topping model? Well, it has wider front and rear tracks, a 10mm lowered ride, special shock absorbers and springs and it even has a Torsen Differential – helping it appropriately distribute torque to either of the front wheels. 

But what does all this mean? Well, you get tons of grip that allows you to grapple onto an apex and slingshot your way out of a bend, the steering is weightier and more responsive and the ride is firm enough to keep the car planted, but not so much that it shudders over bumps – it’s actually quite comfortable. It does have its limits and niggles of course, like its torque steer under heavy acceleration – the small steering wheel doesn’t help here – and it can break loose when pushed hard, especially in the wet. But once you get used to how the car behaves, you learn from it and find it’s easily manageable. Of course the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST doesn’t have this problem. There’s no denying the GTi’s composure though. And the Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres really fill you with confidence when you squeeze the brake pedal, very important when gunning it on a B-road. This six-speed manual is quick and snappy as well. Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbo petrol producing 205bhp and 300Nm of torque, getting it from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. 

It comes accompanied with a decent rumbling soundtrack as well. And you don’t have to work this engine very hard at all to get tasty results – and it’s got that great mid-range punch too. One of the best attributes of the GTi though is arguably one of its worst ones as well. Cruise around town and its sensible styling and comfortable ride make it feel like a normal supermini – great news for some, but not necessarily for hard core hot hatch fans. You end up seemingly paying a price for that subtle hot hatch package as well, with GTi prices starting from around £19,500 – that’s about the same price as a top-of-the-range Fiesta ST. And you’ll pay around £22,000 for this Peugeot Sport one. Fuel economy is pretty good though, as you should get an average return of around 40mpg and up – depending on how much you hoon it. The Fiesta ST may be the better track day option, but the 208 GTi can still hold its own on a twisty road – and it will certainly go down in the history books as a great, competent hot hatch. And if you are a younger driver that wants to pitch a car to your parents and hide its beast lying beneath the surface – then this might be right up your street. Thanks for read Peugeot 208 GTI 2016 Review.

Ford Galaxy 2016 Review

Ford Galaxy 2016 Review - If you’ve got a ‘go large or go home’ attitude and the seven-seat Ford S-MAX simply isn’t big enough for you, then the next step in Ford’s MPV range is this, the Galaxy. And although it’s based on the S-MAX platform, it’s just that tad bit more practical and luxurious. And okay, it’s not going to be a huge seller for Ford, but the Galaxy is more like it’s second fighter in the MPV ring, helping it tag team competition like the SEAT Alhambra and the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Now let’s just forget for a second that this is an MPV. I mean, even by saloon standards, this interior is lovely. You’ve got your obligatory couch-like, leather seats, standard kit that includes DAB, Bluetooth and Ford’s voice-activated SYNC2 system – plus, this Titanium X model comes with a reversing camera. And the layout is really no-nonsense and easy to understand too. As it does fall into that luxurious bracket, the options list lets you really splash out. For example, with this Titanium X model we have a SONY navigation system, £450, and Adaptive cruise control & Active city stop – which cost £900. The Titanium X model does get self-parking capabilities as standard though. One thing that has managed to irritate me on numerous occasions is the positioning of the electric handbrake, which is on the other side of the centre console, so you may end up encroaching on your passengers’ personal space. 

Ford Galaxy 2016

Someone’s comfort is usually jeopardised when it comes to seven-seaters – but that’s not the case in the Ford Galaxy. I mean sitting back here there’s tons of space, tray tables and adjustable seating positions for each individual seat, allowing you to recline or slide these forward, which still leaves you with enough leg room to get comfortable. And, hop into the furthest seats and you almost feel like you are in the second row again as it manages to stamp out the usual third row niggles of an MPV - the seats are slightly raised so your knees aren’t high up, there’s loads of headroom, cup holders for good measure and huge windows to avoid claustrophobia. £400 if you want that. Now, when you’ve got all the seats in place there’s only 300 litres for storage, but that’s still more than its key competitors. Use this incredibly clever switch to fold the third row down, which can also electronically fold them back up, and you get 1,301 litres of space. Press this and fold the second row and you have 2,339 litres – that’s more than the Grand C4 Picasso and Alhambra – you also get a flat, van-like loading surface. 

Engines are plentiful in the Galaxy – and there’s even two petrols to choose from, a 158bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost and a 237bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost. But come on, a massive seven-seat MPV, you don’t want a petrol. Which brings me on to the diesels. Now, all diesels are 2.0-litre units, but power outputs include 118bhp, 148bhp, 178bhp and 207bhp, the 207 one being bi-turbo. But as you may expect, you are better off going down the middle for either the 148 or the 178 that we are driving today, because they offer the best balance of power and efficiency. This 178bhp model can reach 62mph in under 10 seconds, which for a car its size is very impressive, but it still only emits 129g/km of CO2. MPG wise, it claims to return an average of around 56mpg – but expect more like 40-45mpg in day-to-day driving. When it comes to six-speed manual or six-speed Powershift automatic, the manual models are more efficient, but the automatic just seems to suit the car that bit better – especially when it comes to motorway cruising. Speaking of motorway cruising, and the fact that it’s an MPV, comfort is of course a priority and the Galaxy is on the money, as it eats up bumps with ease, it’s incredibly well-refined from the likes of wind and road noise and there’s loads of glass around, so you always feel… I don’t know, nice and fresh. 

And even though it is uber comfortable, the Galaxy’s still got a bit of personality about it when it comes to its drive and engagement levels. I mean you’re unlikely to be thrashing it around a country road, but if your route requires that type of driving – then you can go into it confidently. As with the C-MAX and S-MAX models, prices for the Galaxy are quite steep, starting at around £27,000 – or closer to £35,000 if you go a bit tick box crazy with the options. But what it really comes down to is whether you want to go above and beyond necessity. There are plenty of seven-seat MPVs out there that do the job. But if you don’t want it to simply ‘do the job’ and you are after top notch comfort and practicality – and general ease of use – then the Galaxy is spot on. Thanks for read Ford Galaxy 2016 Review.

Jeep Wrangler 2016 Review

Jeep Wrangler 2016 Review - If you’re the type of person who wants a proper, rugged off-roader that looks like something the army would use, then allow me to introduce you to the Jeep Wrangler – a 4x4 inspired by the old Willys Jeep of World War II. Of course, from the outside it certainly fits the bill, with huge wheel arches that make it look like it’s flexing its muscles, a rear-mounted spare tyre and a black paint job that – maybe Batman would pick if he moved to the countryside – but what’s it like as a whole package. Well, its rugged character starts before you’ve even got in, because when you click the key, it sounds like someone un-bolting a large cellar door. Once you climb in – emphasis on climb – there are a few other features that give you that raw and rustic feel as well, like the old school, letterbox windscreen, removable roof panels and, as always, Jeep has dotted some of its little emblem Easter eggs about the place. Build-quality wise, everything seems solid, there are loads of scratchy plastics – but that can be said for a lot of down and out 4x4s – Land Rover Defender included. It’s not short of toys though, this mid-range Overland model gets a Uconnect touchscreen with USB compatibility and sat-nav, cruise control, climate control and you even get heated leather seats. You get a few useful storage compartments as well, including this huge centre console that can swallow a War and Peace-sized owner’s manual. 

Jeep Wrangler

Once you squeeze in these submarine-like doors – mind you head – space isn’t too bad, well head room is okay, foot well room… not as good. We would definitely advise the 4 door Wrangler though – the 2 door is just a nuisance. Swing this tailgate open and pop the glass and you have almost 500 litres of storage space – and this rubber mat makes it a bit more hard-wearing too. You can fold these seats down and the headrests fold back, but you will have to remove the centre headrest yourself. Do this and you get 935 litres of space. You can either go for the V6 petrol or the torquier 197bhp 2.8-litre diesel, which is what we’ve got, and this sprints from zero to 62 in under 11 seconds. And you can probably tell just by me revving it out, that yes, it’s very loud, you can clearly hear it grumbling and whistling under the bonnet. Personally though, with a car like this, I think that’s all part of the rugged experience. 

There are aspects of its road manners that will most likely rub all drivers up the wrong way though, like its vague steering, questionable body control when you take corners at speed and the way it can shake when you hit large bumps on the road. It’s manageable, as long as you are sensible, but there is no denying that day-to-day, the Wrangler feels like a bit of monster. If you want to channel its mammoth characteristics and four-wheel drive, then you will want to take it off-road. Here it’s a different story, because its utilitarian personality pays off as the Wrangler can pretty much climb, scale or mount anything. Ideal of course if you live on a farm. Its massive wheels and substantial ground clearance obviously help here. There’s also something called shift-on the-fly, which allows you to change between two-wheel and maximum-grip four-wheel drive when you are on the move by the shift of a lever – although this is quite obviously located for left-hand drive models. 

Although some may prefer a manual for off-roading, the five-speed automatic we’ve got is probably your best bet all-round as the manual requires a lot of work and can really take it out of you. The Jeep Wrangler is definitely not cheap though, starting between £30,000 and £32,000. To put that in perspective – a Land Rover Defender cost from £23,000. Saying that, some of the Jeep’s equipment was never available in a Defender. The Wrangler is a real mean-machine off-road – and sure, there are certain elements of its interior and drive that could do with some work – but this car is almost ten years old, if you look past its numerous refreshes, plus those who need its off-roading prowess probably won’t care about any of the other stuff. Whether you would go for this or a nearly-new Defender will certainly come down to badge loyalties and of course price, because both are highly-capable off-road. Thanks for read Jeep Wrangler 2016 Review.

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