I don’t understand why the Peugeot 208 is the best selling car in the Netherlands

The Peugeot 208 has been one of the absolute top sellers in the B-segment for more than two years, both in the Netherlands and in Europe. It is a great achievement. But with a slanted eye on the competition and a rational look at my list of pluses and minuses, I don’t understand why the 208 does so well.

First, let me say that I am not blind to the merits of Peugeot’s eyeball. The design is striking and bold to say the least compared to some competitors. It is also smart that the 208 is available with both a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric drivetrain. But when I compare the disadvantages of this car with these points, I cannot convince myself that it is true that the Peugeot 208 is the leader in the B segment.

Back seats beware

First of all, we take in the interior of the Frenchman. It is especially difficult in the back seat of the 208. With an average height, you will quickly find yourself with your knees pressed against the driver’s seat. Why do the tall Dutch choose this car in droves?

When you have to cover a longer distance in this way, you almost want to kick the seat back as revenge. Because one wishes the driver had taken more care and chosen a more spacious car. Think, for example, of the Skoda Fabia or Volkswagen Polo, which are designed with much more compassion for the rear seats.

Lean guarantee

Peugeot seems to have little faith in the reliability of their products. At least that’s what the brand propagates with a paltry two-year manufacturer’s warranty. This makes the competitors from the Volkswagen group much better: On the Polo, Fabia and Ibiza you get a 2-year factory warranty plus an additional 2-year warranty. Because at Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat, they understand that 4 years is a nice minimum.

If you crave safety, an East Asian car is the way to go. For example, the Suzuki Swift comes with a six-year factory warranty and the Kia Rio even seven years. For the absolute star, however, you have to go to Toyota, which sells all its cars, including the Yaris, with a ten-year factory warranty.

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Nice but clumsy

Despite the beautiful and futuristic interior, you are anything but ideal in the Peugeot 208. This is due, among other things, to the relatively short seat. This lack of support is very noticeable on longer rides. The steering position is also far from ideal. Once you’ve got the seat and steering wheel in the ideal position, there’s a good chance the remarkably small steering wheel will pretty much block your view of the digital instruments. In addition, the screen’s hip 3D display is not to everyone’s taste.

Not a full safety score

The Euro NCAP crash test is a good indicator to gain insight into a car’s safety. Five stars is the maximum score, and if a model doesn’t get it, something is wrong. The Peugeot 208 had to settle for four stars…

The pain point? According to the test, the 208 is less safe for vulnerable road users. Cyclists in particular suffer. This is because the emergency braking system does not detect cyclists. It makes the competitors better: Seat Ibiza, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2 and Toyota Yaris all got five stars.

I don't understand why the Peugeot 208 is the best selling car in the Netherlands
I don't understand why the Peugeot 208 is the best selling car in the Netherlands

Better opportunity internally

Buyers of the 208 should have looked a line down the model list, we concluded last November. The Peugeot 308 appears to be a better buy than its little brother. In the 308, you have significantly more space in the back seat and in the boot. The comfort in the 308 is also quite a bit greater. These improvements are within reach for a small additional price of 1680 euros.


The Peugeot 208 is selling great, but it’s not great. The compact hatchback is too small for large Dutchmen, the 2-year warranty period is out of date, the safety performance is not optimal and you really have to sit down to test the seating position. The rational buyer may have to think twice before ordering the popular 208.

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