After the rather lackluster 206 and 207 GTi generations, Peugeot hoped to recapture some of the magic of their much-loved eighties classic, the 205 GTi. What they came up with was the 208 GTi and while it didn’t please everyone, the new car did harness some of the magic of the 205.
Today, the 208 GTi is a great buy for those looking for a small, sporty hatch that has a bit of sophistication. In this buyer’s guide we are going to give you all the information you need to know before purchasing a 208 GTi. From common problems with the car, to its history and much more.
How To Use This Peugeot 208 GTI A9 Buyer’s Guide
This is a long guide, so we recommend that you use the table of contents below to skip to the section you want to read. To begin with we will look at the history and specifications of the first generation 208 GTi. Following that, we will dive into the buyers guide section of this article where we will look at common problems to watch out for when looking to buy a Peugeot 208 GTi A9. To finish off we have more general car purchasing advice, such as how to get yourself the best deal, questions you should ask the seller and more.
Peugeot 208 GTi 2012 to 2019 History
The world would get its first proper look at the standard version of the new 208 A9 in November 2011, with sales beginning in Europe just under six months later. Those holding out for a sportier version of the car didn’t have to wait long.
News of a new generation GTi came in February 2012, with a reveal of a near production concept coming one month later at the Geneva Motor Show. Peugeot didn’t reveal much at the show, but did confirm that the concept was kitted out with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that produced as much as 197 bhp and 203 lb-ft of torque. This combined with the lightweight body of the new 208 meant that the concept was good for 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 7 seconds according to Peugeot.
The concept that Peugeot displayed and the news that they were targeting a more 205 GTi like experience was music to the ears of those who were disappointed by the rather pedestrian 206 and 207 GTis. However, many enthusiasts were still skeptical of Peugeot’s creation.
Production 208 GTi Revealed
The first images of the production 208 GTi would come in September 2012. While the production 208 GTI was still rather restrained compared to other hot hatches on the market at the time, the brushed aluminum instrument panel and pedals, red trim highlights, and 17-inch alloys showed that the GTI was no ordinary 208.
Behind the new 17-inch wheels were bigger 302 mm (11.9 inch) discs at the front and the wheels themselves were wrapped in grippier 205/45 tyres all round. The GTi’s suspension was also uprated, and the steering was recalibrated to provide better feel for spirited driving sessions. Additionally, the front and rear tracks were widened 10 mm and 20 mm respectively.
Just like the concept that was revealed earlier in the year, the production version of the 208 GTi featured a 197 bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged Prince engine that when mated to the lightweight 1,160 kg (2,557 lbs) body produced a 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) time of around 6.8 seconds. The top speed of the production GTi was also stated to be 230 km/h (143 mph), around 40 km/h (25 mph) faster than the next 208 down.
On the outside Peugeot gave the 208 GTi subtle sporty design features. New trapezoid chromed double tailpipes were fitted, along with a black rear skirt and a chromed trim strip along the window edge that paid tribute to the 205 GTi.
Limited Edition 208 GTi 2013
The arrival of the new 208 GTi based on the PSA PF1 platform was celebrated with the introduction of a limited edition model that actually came before the standard GTi. The 208 GTi Limited Edition was finished exclusively in Satin Pearlescent White and rides on special 17-inch diamond alloy wheels with Onyx Black paint. All 54 cars either bore the flag of France along the along the grille or the Union Jack for the 29 models sold in the United Kingdom.
Other features of the Limited Edition include satellite navigation and Peugeot’s Hi-Fi pack as standard. Lastly a special numbered plaque indicated what production model the car was in the series.
Rumours of a Hotter Peugeot 208
In the latter part of 2013, rumours were circulating of a more powerful and extreme version of the 208 that would slot in above the GTi. Named the 208 R, the car was rumoured to feature a detuned version of the RCZ-R’s 267 bhp (199 kW) 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that was mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Unfortunately, the 208 R would never eventuate, but Peugeot did release a more hardcore version of the GTi the next year.
208 GTi 30th Anniversary Edition 2014
To celebrate thirty years of the GTi badge, Peugeot Sport was tasked with creating a more radical version of the 208 GTi. The 30th Anniversary Edition was given lowered suspension, a 22mm wider track at the front and a 16mm wider track at the rear.
To compliment the lower stance, Peugeot Sport’s team fitted matt black side skirts and wheel arch extensions that covered new 18-inch wheels finished in matt black and wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport 205/40 ZR 18 tyres.
Under the sleek new wheels, the special edition 208 was kitted out with red Peugeot Sport labelled four-piston calipers. The front discs were also increased in size to 323mm in diameter and 28mm thick to help improve braking performance.
Perhaps the most striking visual change was the special two-tone, two material paint finish. The front was finished in a special textured black material, while the rear was given a contrasting lacquered red paint job. For those who weren’t so keen on the special paint finish, Peugeot also offered the car in the GTi’s historical colours, Pearl White and Ruby Red.
Matt black window weather strips, a “208 GTi 30th” badge on the quarter panel and twin rounded chrome tail pipes rounded off the main exterior changes.
On the inside the more radical appearance continued with a smattering of contrasting red and black trim pieces. The front bucket seats were also specially developed by Peugeot Sport and trimmed in a blend of Alcantara and black TEP with red stitching.
Under the hood the special edition model’s 1.6-litre engine also received some changes to bring it more inline with the racier appearance of the car. Maximum power was increased to 208 PS (205 bhp/153 kW) to match the vehicle’s name and torque was increased to 300 Nm (221 lb-ft). This more powerful engine was then mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox with specific gear ratios and a Torsen limited slip differential – both of which were taken from the RCZ R.
The Torsen limited slip differential and revised suspension and steering setup produced a more planted and better handling car when compared to the standard 208 GTi. The ESP and traction control were also recalibrated to be less intrusive when driving and to allow the Torsen differential to work its magic.
Performance figures were definitely improved over the normal GTi, with 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) now being done and dusted in 6.5 seconds and 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) in 6 seconds while in 5th gear.
Peugeot Bids Farewell with Another Limited Edition 208 GTi
To celebrate the 208 GTIs production, Peugeot produced one last limited edition version of the car known as the 208 GTi Édition Définitive. Finished solely in Pearl White, the special edition 208 was given an upgraded version of the 1.6-litre engine that produced 205 bhp (153 kW).
The standard front calipers were also swapped out for more powerful Brembo ones, and the spare tyre was replaced with a repair kit to save weight.
The biggest visual changes were the new black alloy wheels and matching exterior highlights. The cabin was also upgraded with Peugeot Sport bucket seats finished in Alcantara, special red floor mats and contrasting stitching throughout.
Peugeot 208 GTi 2012 to 2019 (A9) Specifications
|Model||208 GTi||208 GTi 30th||208 GTi Édition Définitive|
|Country/Location||France (Poissy Plant)||France (Poissy Plant)||France (Poissy Plant)|
|Years||2013 to 2019||2014||2018|
|Layout||Front-engine, Front-wheel drive||Front-engine, Front-wheel drive||Front-engine, Front-wheel drive|
|Engine/Engines||1.6-litre 4-cylinder||1.6-litre 4-cylinder||1.6-litre 4-cylinder|
|Power||200 PS (197 bhp/147 kW) @ 5,800 rpm||208 PS (205 bhp/153 kW) @ 5,800 rpm||208 PS (205 bhp/153 kW) @ 5,800 rpm|
|Torque||275 Nm (202 lb-ft) @ 1,700 rpm||300 Nm (221 lb-ft) @ 1,700 rpm||300 Nm (221 lb-ft) @ 1,700 rpm|
|Gearbox||6-speed manual||6-speed manual||6-speed manual|
|Brakes Front||302 mm (11.9 inch) discs||323 mm (12.7 inch) discs||323 mm (12.7 inch) discs|
|Brakes Rear||249 mm (9.8 inch) discs||249 mm (9.8 inch) discs||249 mm (9.8 inch) discs|
|Wheels Front (standard)||17-inch||18-inch||18-inch|
|Wheels Back (standard)||17-inch||18-inch||18-inch|
|Tyres Front (standard)||205/45 R17||205/40 R18||205/40 R18|
|Tyres Rear (standard)||205/45 R17||205/40 R18||205/40 R18|
|Suspension Front||McPherson struts, coil springs.||McPherson struts, coil springs.||McPherson struts, coil springs.|
|Suspension Rear||Coil springs, torsion bar||Coil springs, torsion bar||Coil springs, torsion bar|
|Weight (Kerb)||1,160 kg (2,557 lbs)||1,160 kg (2,557 lbs)||1,160 kg (2,557 lbs)|
|Top speed||230 km/h (143 mph)||230 km/h (143 mph)||230 km/h (143 mph)|
|0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)||6.7 seconds||6.5 seconds||6.5 seconds|
Peugeot 208 GTi 2012 to 2019 Buyer’s Guide
According to a survey conducted by What Car, the Peugeot 208 was second to last place in the small car class when it came to reliability. More than 15% of 208s were reported to have suffered from some sort of electrical problem, and Peugeot has issued quite a few recalls for the car during its production run (a total of 20 for all versions of the 208). However, What Car’s survey was carried out for all versions of the 208 and many GTi owners report that they have had plenty of miles of trouble-free motoring.
As always reliability often comes down to how well a particular car has been maintained. A well looked after 208 GTi should be reliable enough, but we wouldn’t exactly expect Honda or Toyota-like reliability.
In this section we will cover all the things you need to watch out for when looking to buy a 2012 to 2019 Peugeot 208 GTi. We will also go into some information on where to find one for sale, how to set up an inspection and much more. Let’s get started!
Setting Up an Inspection of a Peugeot 208 GTi A9
Below we have listed some things to keep in mind when arranging an inspection of a first generation 208 GTi.
View the 208 GTi in person or get a reliable friend or third party to do so for you – Buying a vehicle sight unseen is becoming more popular, but it is always best to inspect a used car in person if possible. A physical inspection may reveal some hidden issues that you wouldn’t have discovered if you just went on the 208’s listing and photos. If you can view the Peugeot yourself, we recommend that you get a reliable friend or third-party to do so for you.
Bring a second pair of eyes and ears with you – Taking along a helper is always a good idea as they may be able to spot something you missed. They can also help you test the vehicle and give you their thoughts on the particularly 208 GTi you are looking at and whether or not they think it is a good purchase.
Inspect the 208 GTi at the seller’s house or place of business – This isn’t always possible, but it is a good thing to try and do. This is because you can get a look at where and how the car is regularly stored. If it is kept out on the streets it is far more likely to have bodywork issues than a GTi that has been parked in a garage for most of its life. Additionally, when you go to the seller’s house you can also check what sort of roads the car is regularly driven on. If they are really rough and full of potholes, the suspension, wheels and tyres may have taken a beating.
View the Peugeot in the morning if possible – This can be a good idea as it gives the seller less time to warm up the vehicle and clean up any potential issues such as a big oil leak.
Ask the seller not to drive or pre-warm the 208 GTi if possible – A warm engine can cover a multitude of sins, so check that the motor is cold when you begin the inspection.
If the Peugeot 208 GTi is being sold at a dealer, don’t let them know you are coming to see it – While this is not always possible depending on how the dealer operates, it can be a good idea. If the dealer knows you are coming it gives them a chance to clean up any potential issues and pre-warm the engine.
Try not to inspect a used 208 GTi in the rain – Water can cover up a number of different issues with the bodywork and paint. If it does happen to be raining when you inspect/test drive a 208 GTi, try to go back for a second viewing before making a decision on the car.
Be cautious if the seller has just washed the car – This is largely for the same reason as above, but some sellers will also wash the engine bay and underside of a vehicle to hide an issue (or anywhere a leak/issue may occur).
Get the seller to move their Peugeot 208 GTi outside if it is in a garage or showroom – Lighting in places such as garages and showrooms can cover up issues that direct sunlight may have revealed.
Buying a Used Peugeot 208 GTi With Problems
The information in this guide tries to steer you in the direction of buying the cleanest 208 GTi example possible. However, there is really nothing wrong with buying a car with problems as long as you know what you are getting yourself into. Make sure you find out what problems the 208 has and try to get a rough idea of how much it will cost to fix them before buying the car.
Use this guide work out what common issues to look out for, and if you do find any problems use them to get a discount. Be mindful of the fact that the problems you find could be more extensive and expensive to repair than first envisioned, so it can be a good idea to add a bit more to any quote you receive.
Where to Find a First Gen Peugeot 208 GTi for Sale?
Your usual auction/classifieds sites are going to be your best place to start your search for a first generation 208 GTi (think AutoTrader, eBay, TradeMe, GumTree, etc.). Most dealers and private sellers are going to use these sorts of sites to advertise their cars.
Along with the above, we also recommend that you check to see if there are any Peugeot clubs in your area. These sorts of clubs usually consist of enthusiastic owners who often know a bit more about their cars and how to maintain them. Here are a few examples of some clubs:
Club Peugeot UK – A club for all things Peugeot and definitely one to check out if you are in the United Kingdom.
Peugeot 208 Forums – This is a forum dedicated to all 208s, with a lot of information about the GTi.
Peugeot Forums – Another great forum with a section dedicated to the 2012 to 2019 Peugeot 208.
How Much Does a Used Peugeot 208 GTi A9 Cost?
This depends on a range of different factors from the condition of the car to what year it is, its mileage, where it is being sold, when you are reading this particular article, and much more. For example, a low mileage last year 208 GTi is going to be worth a lot more than a 2013 model that looks like it has just finished all events in the World Rally Championship.
With the above being the case, we recommend that you jump on your local auction/classifieds sites and search for 208 GTis for sale. You can then use these prices to work out roughly what you need to spend to get a 208 GTi in a condition and spec level you are happy with. Remember, it can also be a good idea to add around 5 to 10% of the purchase price to your budget for any unexpected expenses.
Will the 2012 – 2019 208 GTi be a Future Classic?
With the 205 GTi becoming quite the classic today, 208 GTi buyers and owners may wonder if the car will follow a similar path as its eighties ancestor. In truth, we really don’t know as what makes a classic can be quite unpredictable. The 205 GTi has the benefit of being a cult classic and the success of the 205 T16 on rally stages certainly helped the desirability of the car.
We really don’t think the 208 GTi will be highly desirable in the future, but if there is one version of the car that may be, it is probably the 30th Anniversary Edition.
Checking the VIN
It is always a good idea to check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of a car prior to purchase. The VIN is a series of 17 characters and numbers that manufacturers such as Peugeot assign to a vehicle at production. It can be used to find out information about a particular car, such as where it was manufactured, the model, year of manufacturer and more.
The VIN can also be entered into a VIN checkup/decoder website that may contain information such as whether or not the 208 GTi you are inspecting has any money owing on it or if it has been written off at any point. Most of these VIN checkup websites/services are region limited, so keep that in mind.
A Peugeot 208 GTi’s VIN can be found in the following locations:
- On the bulkhead behind the coolant tank (see video below)
- Driver’s door jam
- Bottom of the windscreen if the car is still running the original one
In this section we are going to look at some common problems with the 208 GTi’s 1.6-litre engine and some other things to watch out for as well.
The THP engine inside the 208 GTi is pretty under stressed as the same power unit is used in the 308 GTi, which is rated at up to 270.
Starting Your Engine Inspection
Head to the front of the 208 GTi and lift the bonnet/hood. Check to make sure the bonnet hinges, catch and struts are in good condition. If the struts have failed it is not a major problem, but use it as a bargaining point. If the catch and hinges look like they have been replaced it could be a sign that the vehicle has had some sort of front-end repairs. Once you have done that, do a general check for the following:
- Cleanliness – Does the engine bay look super clean or like a dog’s breakfast? A really dirty engine bay is probably a sign of an owner who doesn’t care much for their 208 GTi. On the other hand, a super clean engine could be a sign of somebody who is trying to cover something up like a big oil leak.
- Obvious Issues – Do a quick general check for any immediately noticeable issues such as leaks, broken or missing components and more.
- Modifications – Be cautious of 208 GTi’s with modifications as while they can be alright, many mods can often be done poorly or may be unsuitable for the car. Make a mental note of any mods you see and check them more thoroughly later in the inspection. It may also be worth checking online to see if the mods are recommended by other owners as well.
Check the Fluids
One of the first things we recommend that you do is to check the fluids. This is because they can tell you quite a bit of information about how the particular 208 GTi you are looking at has been maintained and looked after.
Make sure that the oil level is at the right height and that the end of the dipstick has not broken off (doesn’t seem to be a major problem on the 208, but it can still happen). If the oil level is too low or too high, we would be cautious of the car as you simply won’t know how much damage has been caused. It can be handy to bring along some paper towels/kitchen roll when checking the oil level.
If the engine oil and other fluids have not been changed regularly and/or the wrong fluids have been used it can lead to premature wear and possibly even component/engine failure.
Remember to inspect the engine oil itself, keeping an eye out for any metallic particles or grit which may indicate a serious engine problem such as bearing failure. Metallic particles can also be a sign of other things such as a recent rebuild, so bear that in mind.
While not always necessary, it can be a good idea to get the oil analysed prior to purchase. This can help you determine whether or not there are any foreign particles in the oil. Additionally, it can also tell you if the vehicle needs more frequent changes or if it can go further between servicing. Once again, this isn’t completely necessary and we only really recommend it if you are looking for the cleanest example possible.
Make sure you check for any foam, froth or milky looking oil. If you notice any of these issues it could be a sign of a number of different problems from condensation in the oil, an engine that has been overfilled with oil, or possibly even a blown head gasket.
When Does the Oil and Oil Filter Need Replacing on a 2012 – 2019 208 GTi?
According to Peugeot, the 208 GTi should receive an oil and filter change every 32,000 km (20,000 miles) or every 12 months. Check in the service history and with the owner to see when the car was last serviced, and that regular servicing has been carried out. If servicing has been very infrequent it is probably a sign that the owner hasn’t cared much for their 208 GTi.
Peugeot recommends a high quality fully synthetic 0W-30 or 5W-30 engine oil for the 208 GTi (Castrol GTX Magnatec for example).
Oil Leaks on a First Generation Peugeot 208 GTi
Here are some of the main oil leaks to watch out for when it comes to a 2012 to 2019 Peugeot 208 GTi.
- Timing chain tensioner – If you notice a slight smell of burning oil in the cabin, it could be a sign of a leak from the timing chain tensioner. This strange smell is usually accompanied by an oil leaks that look like it is coming from the back left side of the engine. Sometimes a leak from the timing chain tensioner is only noticeable when the engine is given a good amount of revs, so make sure you give the car a good amount of throttle during a test drive. The main cause of this problem is a failed seal/O-ring that is often the result of an engine that has been overfilled with oil. Alternatively, the timing chain tensioner can become loose which may be the cause of the leak. You can see a good explanation of this leak in the video below:
- Rear main seal – This can often be confused with the timing chain tensioner leak above, but luckily a leak from the rear main seal isn’t that common on these cars (however, the problem may become more of an issue as these cars age). If the car has a rear main seal leak we would probably walk as the labour to fix it will be very expensive.
- Timing/valve cover – This is a common leak on most used cars and is usually down to the timing cover gasket. Leaks from around the timing cover aren’t usually too quick and replacing the gasket isn’t usually too much of an issue, but make sure you use it as a bargaining point.
- Oil filler cap – A number of owners have reported a slight leak around the oil filler cap. Changing the cap should sort the issue, so it is not a major problem.
Ask About Oil Consumption
Talk to the seller about whether or not their 208 GTi burns a bit of oil as a small number of owners have reported excessive oil consumption with these cars. Oil consumption of around 1 litre per 1,600 km (1,000 miles) is normal with the THP engine, but any more than that could be a sign of trouble. Excessive oil consumption can be caused by a whole range of problems both major and minor and we wouldn’t expect most sellers to be 100% honest with this question.
PCV Valve Whistle
Listen out for a whistle when you lift off the throttle as this is usually down to the PCV valve. Unfortunately, if it is the PCV the timing/rocker cover will need to be replaced as the valve is part of it.
Variable Valve Timing Issues
There have been a few reports of issues with the Variable Valve Timing (VVT) system on these cars, especially early model years. If there is a problem, an “Engine Fault – Repair Needed” message may come up and you may also find that the 208 GTi is down on power as well (could be as much as a third down). Some other symptoms you may come across include failure to start, poor running and strange noises.
If the Variable Valve system has failed it can lead to damage to the head internals. This repair can be quite expensive due to both parts and labour, so keep an eye out for the symptoms listed above.
Peugeot 208 GTi Timing Chain Failure
While in theory the timing chain should last the lifetime of the engine, quite a few 208 GTi owners seem to have experienced failure, even at relatively low mileages. Failures do seem to be far less common then on Peugeot’s previous cars however (207 GTi for example), as the THP 200 inside the 208 GTi featured a number of changes to improve reliability.
Most of the time if a failure has occurred it is due to either the timing chain stretching, a problem with the tensioner or the timing chain guides. Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate that the timing chain/tensioner is past its used by date:
- Death rattle – This can be a rattling sound during engine start and/or during idle.
- Misfiring and general rough running (some liken their car to running a bit like a diesel).
- Engine warning light/message
- Hesitation when accelerating (often a sign of a stretched timing chain)
If you do hear any strange rattling noises, we would definitely get the 208 GTi checked out by a Peugeot specialist or mechanic prior to purchase as fixing this problem could be quite expensive depending on what is required. Sometimes a simple oil change/top up can eliminate the problem, but we wouldn’t count on it.
If servicing has been lacklustre and the engine has been run low on oil it is far more likely to experience issues with the timing chain/tensioner. Pre-facelift models from 2013 to 2015 are more likely to suffer timing chain issues due to bad guides.
High Pressure Fuel Pump Issues
If the car goes into limp mode and you notice that you get a number of warnings and an “Engine Fault – Repair Needed” message it could be a sign that the high pressure fuel pump needs to be replaced. This is a common enough issue on Peugeot 208 GTis that the company had to issue a technical service bulletin for the problem.
Juddering/buckling and power loss are some other symptoms that may also indicate a problem with the fuel pump. If the problem isn’t too bad, a slight stuttering during acceleration is all that may occur. Lastly, some owners notice the smell of fuel in the cabin, so check for this as well.
Replacing the pump is quite expensive due to both parts and labour, so it may be worth checking to see when it was last replaced (if it has been). Failures can often occur as early as 30,000 km (18,000 miles), but most owners seem to get a bit more distance out of them.
Bad Coil Packs
Pre 2016 models are known to chew through coil packs. Models from 2016 onwards don’t suffer from the problem as much as Peugeot introduced a number of changes/upgrades to improve reliability. Here are some of the symptoms of coil pack failure:
- General rough running and down on power
- Warning lights/message
- Failure to start
- Poor fuel economy (portably won’t be able to determine whether or not this is the case during a short test drive)
Some owners recommend upgrading the coils to get a bit more longevity out of them, so it may be worth checking to see if this has been done.
Spark Plug Failure
Some of the symptoms listed above (misfiring, etc.) could also be a sign of spark plug failure as the original NGK plugs are only usually good for around 20,000 km (12,000 miles).
Bad Battery and/or Alternator
This is more of a general thing but if you notice that the 208 GTi struggles to turn over or won’t do so at all it is probably a sign of a bad battery. Try to find out how old the battery is as if it is quite new it may be a sign of another problem such as failing alternator, earthing issues, starter motor problems and more (new batteries can fail, but it isn’t that likely).
Checking the cooling system is important as a failure here could lead to catastrophic damage if left unchecked. Here are some things to watch out for:
Coolant Level and Condition
The 208 GTi’s coolant tank is located on the left side of the engine bay. It should feature a black cap and be round in shape if it is the original one. When the engine is cold, remove the lid slowly and check the coolant in the tank (Do not do this when the engine is warm and/or running!). Make sure it is in good condition and not muddy/brown in colour.
While you are doing this, don’t forget to check the coolant level as well. If the coolant level is low, it is most likely due to a leak somewhere in the system, but sometimes can be caused by something like an air lock in the heater matrix. Recheck the level after a test drive.
Leaking coolant is a very important thing to check for. Look around the coolant tank and lines for any leaking or crusted coolant. If you notice any cracks or damage on the tank, it should be replaced as soon as possible.
Check under the car and after you have come back from a test drive, switch the GTi off and let it sit for around 10 to 15 minutes. Following this, recheck for any coolant leaks. If you don’t notice any but smell a sweet aroma, the car probably is leaking coolant from somewhere (especially if you notice a drop/change in the coolant level).
Failing Water Pump
Water pump failure is a commonly reported issue on first generation Peugeot 208 GTis, so it may be worth checking when it was last replaced. If the water pump has gone bad, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Coolant leaks – the water pump is probably going to be your most likely cause of a leak
- Whining and/or chuffing sounds
- Overheating – It is a good idea to go for a reasonably long test drive as you may not notice the GTi overheating during a short test drive.
- Steam or smoke – Be on the lookout for any steam or smoke from the front of the car. If you notice this problem, it is best to walk away.
Testing the Water Pump
It is possible to test the water pump on a 208 GTi by switching on the heater as high as possible. The heater core requires proper function of the water pump for it to work correctly. If the pump isn’t working, fluid won’t be forced through the system.
When you switch on the heater you should feel a blast of hot air. This hot air should continue to come out of the vents if the Peugeot’s water pump is functioning correctly. If the warm air stops/gradually reduces it is a sign that hot fluid is not being cycled through the system and the 208 GTi’s water pump is not functioning correctly.
Temperature Sensor Failure
If the temperature sensor has failed you may notice some warnings indicating that the engine is overheating and an erratically behaving temperature gauge. This was a very common issue on early model years, but Peugeot did issue a recall in 2014. However, despite this the sensor can still fail, but it is not as much of a problem as it was.
Look for Air Bubbles in the Coolant
It is a good idea to check for bubbles in the coolant (once again, do not open the coolant tank when the car is running or when it is hot). A few bubbles when the engine is warming up is quite normal, but there should be none once the Peugeot 208 GTi is up to temperature. Bubbles indicate that air has entered the system at some point, which can lead to overheating.
Air can get into the cooling system through several different ways from something like a bad radiator cap to air pockets in the radiator and possibly even a blown head gasket, so be cautious if you notice this problem.
Head Gasket/Cooling System Failure
Head gasket failure is a possibility on these cars, especially those that have experienced issues with the variable valve system. Keep an eye out for the following issues:
- Bubbles in the radiator or coolant expansion tank
- White and milky oil
- Spark plugs that are fouled (if you or a mechanic can get a look at them)
- Low cooling system integrity
- Smell of coolant from the oil
- Sweet smelling exhaust
- White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
- Steam from the front of the 208 GTi
Check as much of the exhaust system as you can for any damage, repairs, corrosion or modifications. The normal 208 GTi has quite a nice exhaust note, but quite a lot of owners still like to fit aftermarket systems for a bit more of a throaty sound (more on aftermarket exhausts below).
We haven’t heard any problems with corrosion/rust on the standard exhaust, but the 208 GTi is still relatively new and it may become more of an issue as these cars age. However, if more serious rust issues have occurred it may not be immediately visible.
This is because the problem usually occurs from the inside out due to corrosive unburnt fuel or exhaust gases mixed with water vapour in the system. This is why cars that are driven on shorter trips tend to suffer from rusted exhausts more than those that do a lot of highway miles. The moisture and corrosive substances remain in the muffler as they are not burnt off during a short trip, leading to rust formation. Surface rust isn’t usually too much of an issue and will affect most cars on the road.
Make sure the exhaust is held on firmly. If it moves about a lot it may be a sign that the hangers are in a bad way.
If you hear any low rumbling, scraping or rattling noises it could be a sign of exhaust issues. Ticking noises are often a sign of a leak, especially if they change with an increase or decrease in rpms
Catalytic Converter (CAT)
The catalytic converter is probably going to be your biggest concern when it comes to a failure in the exhaust system as it is quite expensive to replace. There is no hard and fast rule for how long a CAT should last, but unburnt fuel and oil burning will lead to more rapid failure (As mentioned early try to find out if the 208 GTi burns any oil). Here are some signs of CAT failure:
- Smell of sulphur or rotten eggs from the exhaust
- Reduced acceleration and sluggish engine performance
- Excessive heat under the 208 GTi
- Dark smoke from the car’s exhaust
- CEL (Check Engine Light)/warnings/f ault codes
- Emission test failure
A common issue with the CAT on 208 GTis is that the housing cracks. This isn’t too much of an issue as you can get it welded back up. To determine whether or not the car does have a problem with the catalytic converter you are going to have to get the codes read (an OBD2 scanner can come in handy when doing a used car inspection).
Decat systems are available for the 208 GTi from the likes of Scorpion Exhaust, but a remap will be needed to get the best out of them. If the catalytic converter has been removed on the car you are looking at, be cautious as depending on where you live in the world the vehicle may not be road legal.
Aftermarket Exhaust Systems
There are quite a few aftermarket exhaust options from the likes of Milltek and some owners like to go fully custom. If the 208 GTi you are looking at is running an aftermarket exhaust, try to find out the brand or manufacturer and check any reviews. A poorly reviewed or unsuitable exhaust system could cause a whole load of problems. Additionally, if the owner or a previous owner has cheaped out on upgrades/maintenance on the exhaust you should be asking yourself what other components are substandard.
What Should the Idle Speed Be on a Peugeot 208 GTi
Once warm you should expect the idle speed to be around 750 to 850 rpm. Don’t worry if the idle is around 1,100 to 1,300 rpm when the car is first started as this is perfectly normal. However, it should soon drop to 750 – 850 rpm once the car is warm. When you turn on the air-conditioning expect a slight increase in idle speed.
If you do notice any particular issues with the car’s idle (hunting, low engine speed, etc.), you are probably not going to be able to work out the exact cause of the issue during a short inspection. If the idle issue was a simple fix, the owner of the GTi probably would have got it sorted before putting the car on the market.
Bad Engine Mounts
The engine mounts will eventually fail given age and mileage, so keep an eye out for the following issues:
- Engine movement – Rev the engine and see if it moves excessively. Also check how the engine is at idle and check for any movement while looking from underneath the car.
- Excessive vibrations/shaking – Often most noticeable at idle. In some cases, you may even notice the body of the car moving.
- Clunking, banging or other impact sounds – These sorts of noises could indicate that the engine is moving slightly due to a failed mount
Sourcing and replacing the engine mounts isn’t too pricey, but it is always worth using problems like this as a way to get a discount. Additionally, keep in mind that the vibrations could also be caused by some sort of other issue as well.
Carbon Build Up
The 207 GTi and many of Peugeot’s older THP equipped cars suffer quite badly from carbon build up. Luckily, by the time the 208 GTi rolled around, Peugeot had introduced a number of improvements to get a better handle on the problem, but as with all direction injection engines it is still a distinct possibility on these cars.
While there don’t seem to be too many reports of issues with the 208 GTi at the moment, we would expect more problems to pop up with age and mileage. Below we have listed some of the main symptoms to watch out for when it comes to carbon build up:
- Failing Sensors due to Fouling
- Black smoke from the tailpipes
- Rough Idles, hard starts and general rough running
- Decreased engine performance and lowered fuel economy
Depending on where you take the vehicle to carbon build up can be quite an expensive problem to fix.
Smoke from a First Gen Peugeot 208 GTi
If you see a whole load of smoke or steam from the tailpipes it is probably best to run a mile. A very small amount of vapour when the engine is first started is perfectly normal. This is just condensation in the exhaust and will be more noticeable during colder weather.
We recommend that you get the seller to start the 208 GTi for you for the first time. This way you can not only see what comes out the back, but if they rev the nuts of the car when it is cold you know they probably haven’t treated it well. Below we have outlined what the different colours of smoke may indicate:
As we have already mentioned above, a small amount of white vapour on engine start is usually just condensation in the exhaust.
If you notice lots of white/greyish smoke it is usually a sign that water/coolant has made its way into the cylinders due to a blown or leaking head gasket. Give the exhaust a good whiff and if it smells sweet, it is probably coolant. If the smoke is very thick and doesn’t dissipate quickly it could be sign that the block or cylinder head is cracked/broken.
White smoke can also be a sign that the turbo seals have gone bad as well,
This colour smoke could be caused by a whole range of things including warn pistons rings, valve seals, turbo issues and more. To test for this colour smoke during a drive, get somebody to follow you while you are driving the Peugeot 208 GTi. Take the engine through its rev range and see what comes out the back. If you don’t have a helper, get the owner to drive for a bit while you look out the back (good chance to see how they drive as well).
This sort of smoke is usually a sign that the engine is running too rich and burning too much fuel. There are quite a few things that could be causing this issue from something like dirty intake components to incorrect spark timing, problems with the injectors, and more. If the exhaust smells of fuel, the engine is almost certainly running too rich. Unburnt fuel being sent through the exhaust system can also lead to premature catalytic converter failure as well, so keep that in mind.
If the 208 GTi has been modified and a remap has not been done (or not done properly) it is more likely to produce a bit of black smoke.
What Are the Signs of a Failed Turbocharger on a 208 GTi
Turbo failure is a possibility given age, mileage and/or lack of maintenance. If there is a problem with the turbocharger on the Peugeot 208 GTi you are looking at you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Strange rumbling, whistling or high-pitched metallic sounds – when the turbocharger is at full boost (drive at a slow speed and then accelerate moderately up to high rpms).
- Distinctive blue or grey/whitish smoke – This happens when turbocharger’s housing cracks or if the internal seals become worn. The smoke will become more apparent when the turbocharger is in use, so get somebody to follow you and check while you are test driving a Peugeot 208 GTi. If there is a problem the smoke should appear around the 3,000 rpm mark or above. White/greyish smoke could be a sign that the turbo has failed catastrophically. Either way, it is probably best to avoid any 208 GTi with serious smoking issues.
- Burning lots of oil – It will be hard to get an accurate picture of this during a test drive, but try to glean some information from the owner. Some oil consumption is to be expected, especially as these cars are getting on a bit, but excessive amounts indicates a problem.
- Slow acceleration – Does the 208 GTi you are test driving feel particularly sluggish or slow? If it does it could be a sign that the turbochargers are failing or have failed. It is important to note that modified and unmodified cars will feel a bit different in terms of speed.
- If the boost pressure comes on late – Boost should come on from around 3,000 rpm or a bit before if the engine is under a hard load. If boost starts coming on much later than late or if it doesn’t come on at all there is a problem.
- Check Engine Warning Light – Could be caused by turbo issues or something else.
The issues listed above may also be the result of another problem as well, so keep that in mind.
Buying a 2012 to 2019 208 GTi With a Rebuilt or Replaced Engine
An engine rebuild or replacement is an almost certainty given age and mileage, so we don’t have a problem if the car does have a rebuilt or replaced engine. However, the Peugeot 208 GTi is still a fairly new car, so we would want to know the reason for the rebuild or replacement. We generally prefer rebuilds as there is a greater chance of knowing the history of the engine. A replacement could have come from any 208 GTi, but if it was a new replacement from Peugeot that would be preferable.
We wouldn’t expect to find too many home rebuild jobs, but if you do be very cautious as many home mechanics have more ambition than skill (however, there are some very good ones out there). If the work was done by a business/specialist, find out exactly who did the work and check any reviews (give them a call as well if you are really serious about the car as they may be able to tell you a bit more about it).
Radical engine swaps can be okay, but they are more likely to be an absolute nightmare and you don’t want to buy somebody else’s unfinished project.
We tend to recommend that you avoid fresh rebuilds or engine swaps with only a couple of hundred miles on them. This is because a Peugeot 208 GTi that has travelled 10,000 km (6,200 miles) on a rebuild is more of a known than one that has only travelled a short distance since the work was carried out.
If possible, we suggest that you get a compression test done prior to purchase. A compression test can help you determine whether or not there is problem with the engine, however, it won’t necessarily tell you exactly what the problem is. If the owner doesn’t want a compression test to go ahead it could be a sign that they are trying to hide something from you.
Some owners will get a compression test done before sale and put the results in the advertisement. The most important thing with the results is to make sure that they are all roughly the same (within around 10% of each other).
So far, the 6-speed manual transmission fitted to the 2012 to 2019 Peugeot 208 GTi seems to be quite reliable. However, some owners have reported that the transmission in their car struggles to get into certain gears even when warm (this can be pretty much any gear, but second and third seem to be the most common). There doesn’t seem to be too much info on this problem, but a transmission fluid change seems to fix the issue for some owners.
Apart from that check for the general transmission related things. When shifting, make sure that the gearbox is not overly loose or sloppy. Remember to test the gearbox at both low and high engine speeds. If any one of the gears pops out during acceleration it could be a sign of some of a range of different issues. A simple fix may be all that is needed, but it could also be something much more serious and expensive.
We haven’t really heard any reports of issues with synchro wear, but if you do experience any grinding/notchiness it could be a sign of the problem. Synchro wear is more likely to occur on 208 GTis that have been repeatedly thrashed and driven hard. Additionally, excessive amounts of power will put more stress on the transmission, so keep that in mind if you are looking at a modified Peugeot 208 GTi.
It is a good idea to see how the clutch and transmission performs during a hill start. Additionally, lift off after accelerating hard in second, third and fourth. If you notice any strange rattling noises it could be a sign that the gearbox bearings are in a bad way.
The clutch is a wear item and will eventually need to be replaced. Depending on how the car is treated and driven a clutch may last as little as 48,000 km (30,000 miles) or go on in excess of triple that distance.
Replacing a clutch on a Peugeot 208 GTi takes around nine hours for a single competent mechanic or specialist. This means that labour costs are quite high for this job, so you want to check the following to make sure the clutch is in good condition:
Clutch Engagement – The first step is to make sure the engagement is good. To do this put the Peugeot 208 GTi you are inspecting into gear on a level surface and let the clutch out slowly. It should engage around 7 to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches) from the floor. Engagement that is early or too late indicates a problem.
Clutch Slippage – The best way to test for this problem is to shift into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going. You should notice that the engine bogs down a bit (don’t do this on a regular basis). The next thing to do is to accelerate. If you notice that the tachometer goes up out of relation to the speedometer and/or you notice jerkiness it suggests that the clutch is slipping.
Clutch Drag – Get the Peugeot 208 GTi on a flat surface and press the clutch pedal to the floor (do this while you are stationary). Rev the car hard (once it is warm) and see If it moves. If the car does move, the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.
Clutch Shudder – This is usually noticeable when you accelerate from a stop. A small amount is perfectly normal, but an excessive amount is a sign that the release bearings need to be lubricated.
Strange Clutch Sounds
Some owners have reported strange grinding and clicking sounds when the clutch is in use. There doesn’t seem to be any impact on correct clutch operation, but it is something to be aware of. Some claim that the clicking sound is something to do with the cruise control (normal), but the master cylinder is a known culprit as well.
Suspension & Steering
By far the most common issue here is a knocking noise coming from the front suspension. This is a well known problem on 208 GTis, with a number of owners even requiring new suspension/top mounts within a year of buying the car. This noise can often be confused with worn drop links. Apart from that, check for the following issues that indicate suspension and/or steering problems:
- Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
- Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration and rear end wobble over bumps
- Tipping during cornering
- High speed instability or floaty/nervous feeling through the steering wheel
- Delayed or longer stopping distances
- Uneven tyre wear
- Excessive bounce after hitting a bump or when pushing down on the suspension (suspension should only rebound once when pushed down otherwise it may indicate that the shocks are worn)
- Sagging or uneven suspension
- Knocking, clunking or creaking sounds during a test drive – as mentioned above this is usually the shocks, top mounts and or drop links
- Rattles – drive over some bumps – there should be no noise from the suspension components (however, you may hear some rattles from something in the cabin).
- Clicking sounds (especially at full lock)
Make sure you visually inspect as many of the suspension and steering components as possible. Use a torch/flashlight and a mirror to get a good view of hard to see areas. If the components are different or much newer on one side than the other it could indicate that the vehicle has been in an accident.
Check the Wheel Alignment
Remember to check the wheel alignment on any first gen Peugeot 208 GTi you go to look at. Find a nice flat and straight section of road and see if the car pulls to the right or left. Poor wheel alignment can lead to problems such as excessive and/or uneven tyre wear, leading to more frequent tyre changes. Additionally, it can even make a 208 GTi’s driving experience less safe and enjoyable.
If the wheel alignment is really bad it is a sign of an owner who probably doesn’t care much for their first gen Peugeot 208 GTi as they probably should have got it sorted before putting the car on the market.
Most of the time a simple realignment is all that is needed, however, in some cases bad wheel alignment can be a sign of serious suspension/steering issues or even accident damage.
Check the wheels closely for any damage as a problem here could be quite expensive depending on the severity. If there is lots of curb damage it indicates that the 208 GTi has been owned by somebody a bit careless. A small amount of curb damage is expected on any car that is used regularly, but if the GTi has minimal mileage and has been garaged its entire life we wouldn’t expect to find any issues.
Make sure you also check for any dents, cracking or buckling on the wheels as these sorts of problems often require a new wheel. Lacquer peel is another thing to watch out for as well as this is quite a common issue on the standard 208 GTi alloys.
Aftermarket wheels aren’t a problem as long as they fit right and aren’t too big. However, be aware that bigger rims can impact ride quality and be more susceptible to damage. If the 208 GTi does have aftermarket wheels, check with the owner to see if they still have the originals as they will only add value to the car (if not try to use that to get a discount).
Good tyres can be expensive, so check for the following issues:
- Amount of tread – If there is minimal tread left try to get a discount as you will need to get the tyres replaced in the near future.
- Uneven wear – Wear should be even between the right and left tyres on the Peugeot 208 GTi. Additionally, make sure wear is even across the tyre itself.
- Brand – They should be from a good or well-reviewed brand – if they are from a poorly reviewed brand it suggests that the owner has cheaped out on maintenance.
- Same tyre – In terms of tyre make, type and tread pattern on each axle (preferably on all four wheels) – mismatched tyres can lead to poor handling performance, increased wear and may even be dangerous.
- Pressure – It can be a good idea to check tyre pressures when conducting an inspection. If the tyre pressures are wrong it can cause the car to pull to the left or right during acceleration. Incorrect tyre pressures can also lead to increased wear and fuel consumption as well.
The factory brake discs are known to be quite weak and prone to wearing prematurely, especially if they are used on track days. Apart from that there really aren’t too many problems to report with the 208 GTi’s brakes apart from the usual things to watch out for.
You should find that the standard brakes are more than adequate for regular road driving. If the brakes feel weak or spongy it is a sign of an issue, which could be anything from a bad bleed, pad problems and more.
A shuddering or shaking through the Peugeot 208 GTi’s steering wheel when the brakes are applied is probably a sign that one or more of the discs are warped. This usually becomes first apparent under high-speed braking and is more likely to occur if the GTi has been regularly tracked/driven hard (keep this in mind when looking at modified cars).
Make sure the handbrake works as intended and see how it performs on a steep incline (if you can find one).
Seized calipers are a possibility, so watch out for the following on the 208 GTi you are looking at:
- Car pulls to one side (may even happen when the brakes are not in use)
- Car feels low on power as if the parking/handbrake is on (could also be a sign of diff issues)
- Brakes get extremely hot and produce a distinctive acrid smell and in some cases smoke
- You find that the Peugeot doesn’t want to move at all
- Loud thud-like noise when pulling away for the first time
Remember to do a general visually inspection of the brakes, looking out for disc damage, pad life, corrosion, modifications, etc. A small amount of surface corrosion on the discs is perfectly normal and should go away with a bit of use. If the pads and/or discs need to be replaced make sure you get a discount (especially if the discs need replacing).
Don’t forget to check the brake fluid. If it is dark it is a sign that it hasn’t been replaced in a long time. The brake fluid reservoir is located at the back right of the engine bay when looking from the front.
Bodywork & Exterior
As always it is important to inspect the bodywork and exterior of any used car closely for the following issues.
Crash damage is always a serious issue, and it tends to be more of a problem on cars that promote enthusiastic driving. Keep an eye out for the following things that may indicate that the 208 GTi has been in a bender:
- Misaligned panels or large panel gaps – Inspect around the bonnet/hood and make sure everything lines up correctly. Check the door, bumper and boot/trunk panel gaps. If the panel gaps on one side look quite different to the other side, it could be a sign that the 208 GTi has been in an accident.
- Doors that drop or don’t close properly – If the doors drop or don’t open/close properly the Peugeot 208 GTi you are looking at may have been in an accident or there may be some other sort of other issue with the door hinges.
- Inconsistencies such as waving, rippling or different coloured panels – Indicates a respray which may have been conducted as a result of accident damage or rust.
- If the bonnet/hood looks like it is popped when it is not – This may indicate that the 208 GTi you are inspecting at has been crashed into something (even a light knock can cause this problem).
- Damage to the mounting supports for the headlights or surrounds of the taillights – This can be very difficult to fix on any car and is a good place to check for any accident damage.
- Bent or broken parts underneath the car – While inspecting the underside, check to make sure everything is straight. Look at the suspension and steering components as well. If the parts are different on one side compared to the other or much newer, it may be a sign that the Peugeot 208 GTi has been in an accident.
- Rust in strange locations – Can be a sign of accident damage.
- Paint runs or overspray – Could be a factory issue but is far more likely to be caused by a respray job. Check the seller’s shoes as well as we went to look at a used car once and the terrible respray job matched the specks of paint on the owner’s boots (more of a joke, but once you’ve seen it once you can’t help yourself during future inspections).
- Missing badges or trim – Could be due to repair work (body shop couldn’t find replacements) or a number of other things (stolen, etc.).
Be cautious of sellers who try to cover up accident damage. While most people will try to downplay an incident and the resultant repairs, some may even claim their first generation Peugeot 208 GTi hasn’t been in a crash when it clearly has.
If there has been some accident damage and/or repairs, try to get an idea of the severity of the incident. Light to moderate damage that has been repaired by a skilled body shop/panel beater is normally fine. However, if the 208 GTi has been in a serious incident and received major damage it is probably best to walk away.
If the owner can’t tell you much about the accident/damage it may have happened when a previous person owned the vehicle. Lastly, don’t rely on the seller to tell you the car has been in an accident. You are going to have to use your inspection skills and knowledge to work out for yourself.
Rust doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem on 208 GTis as of yet, but there has been a bit of trouble on the tailgate around the area of the Peugeot badge/recess. Peugeot has replaced the badge on a number of cars that have suffered rust here with a smaller badge that fixes the issue. Some owners have also reported rust issues on the roof, just above the windscreen. However, this doesn’t seem to be a widespread issue.
Apart from those two places do a general check for rust all around the car as you never know where it will pop up. Rust problems are often more serious than they first appear on the surface, so don’t buy the car if you notice any unless you can get a quote on what it will be to repair the rust.
Factors That Can Make Rust More Likely on a First Gen 208 GTi
- The 208 GTi has spent time in countries or areas with salted roads (UK for example)
- The vehicle has spent time in countries or areas with very harsh winters (often linked with the above)
- Vehicle is often parked/stored by the sea for significant periods of time
- Always kept outside (never garaged)
- The 208 GTi is regularly driven in winter (garaging the car and not driving it in the winter will reduce the likelihood of rust issues)
- Accident damage (stone chips or more significant damage)
- Rubbing body parts
- Old or no underseal
It is a good idea to check with the owner to see if rust protection has been applied at fairly regular intervals, especially if the Peugeot is located in a country with salted roads.
We also recommend that you ask the seller/owner if regular washes of the underbody have been carried out during winter if you live in a country with salted roads. This can go a long way to prevent rust formation and if they have done it, it shows that they probably care quite a bit about preventative maintenance
Looking for Rust Repairs
It is not only important to look for present rust, but you should also keep an eye out for signs of past rust repair (mismatched paint, paint overspray etc.). Watch out for any areas that may have been resprayed or cut out and replaced. You should also check the service history and with the owner (however, don’t trust what the owner says completely as they may be trying to hide something from you).
Use a magnet on steel sections of the car (cover it with a cloth so you don’t damage the paintwork) or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have been repaired.
Peeling bodywork lacquer is becoming a more common issue on 208 GTis, especially around the bonnet/hood.
There isn’t too much to worry about here apart from the usual interior related things. Check for any damage, wear, stains or modifications. Pay particular attention to the seat bolsters for wear and make sure the seats have not collapsed. If the seats move during acceleration or braking it is incredibly dangerous and will be an MOT/WOF failure.
Make sure you check the carpets and rest of the cabin for any dampness or signs of a leak. Water can play havoc with the electronics if it gets in the wrong place and can lead to a nasty smell as well. Feel around the carpets and turn over the floor mats. If you see water residue on the bottom of the floor mats, it could be a sign of a past of present leak. While it is pretty unlikely, a leak from a strange place could also indicate accident damage.
Make sure you have a look at the headlining above the driver’s seat. If it is a slightly different colour it may be a sign that the Peugeot 208 GTi you are inspecting has been owned by a smoker. A smell test will also help you determine whether or not this is the case as well. While you are looking at the headlining, check to see it is firmly attached and hasn’t started to droop.
Have a look at the speaker grills and bottom of the door cards for damage due to people climbing in and out. See if the complete toolkit with jack and spare tyre parts are present as you want to make sure they have not gone missing.
Electronics, Locks and Other Things
As we mentioned at the start of this section, a good number of owners have reported electrical problems with their 208s. These electrical problems can vary from starting issues, random warnings, and more much. Check to make sure everything works as intended and play around with all the switches, dials and knobs.
If the windows rise or lower particularly slowly it is probably down to a failing motor. Make sure the headlights work as intended and check the rear lights as well. Check the alarm system as well as this can be a big problem if it goes wrong (some owners have reported issues).
If no warning lights appear during start-up it may be a sign of an issue or that they have been disconnected. Alternatively, if they stay on you need to investigate the issue further and possibly take the car to a Peugeot specialist to find out what is causing the warning light before purchase. You can also use an OBD2 scanner to read the codes as well if you have one on hand.
Don’t forget to check that the air conditioning works as intended and that plenty of cold air comes out of the system. If it doesn’t, don’t let the seller convince you it just needs a re-gas as it may be something like the compressor (expensive fix).
General Car Buying Advice for a Peugeot 208 GTi
How to Get the Best Deal on a 208 GTi 2012 to 2019
This information applies to both dealers and private sealers. Knowledge is power and it can save you a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle.
1. Research heavily – Prior to starting your search for a Peugeot 208 GTi, figure out what specs and condition you are happy with. Do you want a low mileage, last year 208 GTi or do you not mind an older one that has travelled a bit further.
2. Shop around – It is always best to shop around a bit before you make a purchase. Peugeot sold a fair few of these cars, so there are plenty out there in different levels of condition and mileage, so don’t limit yourself to one seller, dealer, area or auction platform.
3. Go look at and test drive multiple MINIs if possible – While good Peugeot 208 GTi A9s will get more difficult to find as time goes on, It is a good idea to test drive as many cars as possible This will help you determine what makes a good and what makes a bad first gen Peugeot 208 GTi.
4. Adjust your attitude – Never rush into a purchase. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time when looking for a 2012 to 2019 Peugeot 208 GTi for sale and only go for promising looking cars (unless you are looking for a project vehicle).
5. Use any issues with the car to your advantage – Take a mental note of any issues you find with the vehicle. When it comes to discussing the price, use these problems to try and drive down the price. For example, if the car needs new tyres or brake pads make a point of it and try to get the seller to reduce the price.
6. Don’t trust the owner completely – While some owners/sellers are honest about their cars, many will lie to get a quick sale. Take in what the owner has to say but back it up with a thorough inspection.
7. Go between sellers/dealers – If you are looking at multiple Peugeot 208 GTis, let the owner/seller know. This way they will know that you have other options and they may try to undercut the price.
8. Be prepared to walk away – If you are not happy with the deal, simply walk away. You may miss out on the car or the seller may get back to you with a better offer.
Mileage vs Condition
Mileage vs condition is always a hot topic for debate, but we feel that it is always better to buy on condition and then on mileage. Lots of owners make the mistake of believing that they are preserving their car by not driving it. In reality, this is completely false and not driving a vehicle can actually do more damage than good.
Short distance trips do not allow the engine to warm up properly, which can lead to increased component wear and reduced engine life.
Rubber seals and plastic parts will fail regardless of mileage and can even deteriorate quicker on cars that don’t get used often. Letting a car sit will not prevent rust or stop the electronics from failing.
Service History and Other Documentation
It is incredibly important to check any vehicle’s service history and any additional paperwork that goes along with it. While the servicing doesn’t need to be done at a dealer, it should be carried out by a competent Peugeot specialist or mechanic (especially for major repair work). Home mechanic work is okay, but it is much harder to gauge the competence of a home mechanic than checking reviews for established businesses.
The service history will give you a good idea of how the Peugeot 208 GTi you are inspecting has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications (if the car has any) can help you determine whether they have been done by an experienced tuner or a bad one.
If the owner can’t or won’t let you see the service history, you should probably pass on the vehicle. A complete service history will only add value to any vehicle your purchase and will make it easier to sell the car in the future.
Additionally, you can check websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ) for more information about the car you are thinking of purchasing. These sort of websites can be incredibly useful, but there is usually a cost associated with them.
Questions That You Should Ask the Seller/Owner
- How often do you drive the car?
- When was the last service and who was it serviced by?
- How much oil does it use?
- What oil do you use in the car?
- What parts have been replaced?
- When were the coils, spark plugs, leads changed?
- What’s the compression like?
- What modifications have been made to the vehicle?
- Has the vehicle overheated at any point or has the head gasket failed?
- Has the car been in any major or minor accidents? Is so, what repairs were made?
- Is there any money owing on the car?
- Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the vehicle?
- How are the speakers
- Is there any rust?
- Has rust been removed at any point?
- When were the brake pads replaced and have the calipers seized at any point in time?
- Where do you store/park the car usually?
There are loads more questions you can ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important.
Things That Would Make Us Walk Away from a Peugeot 208 GTi
Here are some things that would make as walk away from one of these cars. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.
- Overheating problems or blown head gasket
- Significant Crash Damage or poorly repaired roof
- Money owing on the car
- Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner
- Excessive amounts of power
- Bad compression
- Bad resprays
- Significant rust problems
- Engine swaps with non-standard engines
- Significant track use
- Major engine or transmission issues
- Owner who is not forthcoming with information (could be trying to hide something)
Notes on the Owner
The owner is one of the most important things to think about when viewing any vehicle. You need to ask them plenty of questions when inspecting their Peugeot 208 GTi (however, don’t trust their answers completely). Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying an absolute lemon. Here are some things to watch out for.
- How long have they owned the vehicle? If it is less than 6 months it tends to suggest that the car needs major work done to it that they can’t afford. It also could be a sign that they deal cars as well.
- Do they thrash the car when it is cold or continually launch the vehicle? If so, you are better to walk away.
- Why are they selling the vehicle? Could be a genuine reason or they may be trying to offload their problem onto an unsuspecting buyer.
- What sort of area do they live in? Is it a good area or a complete dump?
- How do they respond when you ask them simple questions?
- Do they know anything about the Peugeot 208 GTi and the model they are selling (30th Anniversary vs Standard, etc.)?
- What can they tell you about previous owners?
- Do they have lots of cars on their drive? If they do it may mean they are a dealer.
- What is their reaction when you ask them about money owing on the car? Tell them you are going to do a check and see how they respond.
- What is their reaction to you asking for details for HPi check?
- How do they react if you ask to do a compression test on the vehicle?
- How do they respond when you ask them to show you the service history and paperwork for the car?
If you get a bad feeling about the owner, you are better off moving onto another Peugeot 208 GTi.
2012 to 2019 Peugeot 208 GTi Buyer’s Guide Conclusion
The 208 GTi is a fantastic car if you are looking at a competitively priced hot hatch from the 2010s. While it doesn’t quite live up to the hype of the 205 GTi from the eighties, it delivers and exceptional driving experience while being relatively good as an everyday runabout.
As the 208 GTi is still relatively new, we would expect more problems to pop up with these cars over the years. We will continue to update this article to make it the best Peugeot 208 GTi A9 buyer’s guide possible. If you have any additional information you feel should be included, let us know in the comments below.
Nic Cackett (28/06/2013) – Peugeot 208 GTi 2012-2014 review – Peugeot 208 GTi 2012-2014 Review (2022) | Autocar
Ollie Kew (03/09/2012) – Peugeot 208 GTI (2012) first official pictures – Peugeot 208 GTI (2012) first official pictures | CAR Magazine
Alina Moore (17/02/2012) – 2012 Peugeot 208 GTi Concept – 2012 Peugeot 208 GTi Concept | Top Speed
Motor1 (02/11/2011) – All New Peugeot 208 revealed – All New Peugeot 208 revealed (motor1.com)
Peugeot (18/02/2013) – 208 XY, 208 GTi: Distinctive and complementary 208 XY, 208 GTi: Distinctive and complementary | Peugeot | Stellantis
Drive Team (03/08/2018) – Peugeot 208 GTi limited edition revealed – Peugeot Reveals 208 GTi Limited Edition | Prices, Specifications And Details (drive.com.au)
Karla Pincott (14/02/2013) – Peugeot 208 R hotter hatch on the plan – Peugeot 208 R hotter hatch on the plan – Car News | CarsGuide
Peugeot (26/06/2014) – 208 GTi 30th anniversary special edition: the most radical GTi from PEUGEOT Sport – 208 GTi 30th anniversary special edition: the most radical GTi from PEUGEOT Sport | Peugeot | Stellantis
208 GTi (25/04/2017) – 208 GTI Exhaust – 208 GTI Exhaust | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)
Ross13 (03/03/2019) – 208 GTi problems? – 208 GTi problems? | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)
Andyd123 (09/02/2021) – Peugeot 208 GTI – A good reliable car? – Peugeot 208 GTI – A good reliable car? | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)
Psycro (26/06/2018) – 208 GTi oil leak – 208 GTi oil leak | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)
Dfehones (22/06/2014) – Seeking advice from GTi owners. – Seeking advice from GTi owners. | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)
Rs6_jv (06/11/2020) – My horrible 208 Gti experience (Fuel leaks, Ecu, Pumps, Alarm) – My horrible 208 Gti experience (Fuel leaks, Ecu, Pumps, Alarm) | Peugeot Forums
James – (16/06/2017) – Living with a GTI? Please could you answer some ? – Living with a GTI? Please could you answer some ? | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)
SamC (11/03/2019) – New GTI Owner – New GTI Owner | Peugeot 208 Forums (208ownersclub.co.uk)