Head to head: Peugeot 208 GTi Edition Definitive and VW Polo GTI
Big performance in a small package. The hot hatch recipe can be traced back to the earliest performance cars, when folks were trying to figure out just how much engine they could put into a relatively small car.
Peugeot and Volkswagen are responsible for some of the best, and both can lay claim to creating the modern hot hatch, either with the Peugeot 205 GTi, or Volkswagen’s original Golf GTI.
You could argue that this pair, the Polo and 208, offer a more faithful evolution of those models than the larger Golf and 308. Crossing paths briefly, the current-generation 208 at the end of its life lines up against the box-fresh sixth-generation Polo in GTI form.
How do they compare on price?
Volkswagen’s contender arrives for $30,990 plus on-road costs. Standard kit includes 17-inch wheels, tartan trim, multi-mode sports suspension, a reversing camera and 8-inch infotainment screen.
Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo engine with 147kW and 320Nm outputs, the Polo is only available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission driving the front wheels through an open differential.
Optional extras include metallic paint ($500), along with a $1400 driver assistance pack with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and self-parking systems, a $1900 sound and vision package with a digital dash, sat nav and Beats stereo, and a $3900 luxury pack with velour trim, heated seats, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and more. Our reef blue test example featured all of the above, bringing it to $38,690 plus on-road costs, or around $42,000 on the road.
The Peugeot 208 GTi Édition Définitive represents a final flourish for the French brand’s baby performance car. Significantly cheaper than a fully-loaded Polo at $33,990 drive-away, the Pug builds on the standard 208 GTi with minor engine tweaks, a sports exhaust, Brembo brakes, reworked suspension, a Torsen limited-slip differential and aesthetic tweaks inside and out including white paint with black exterior elements such as 18-inch wheels. Autonomous emergency braking also features among changes which add $4000 to the cost of a regular 208 GTi. The standard car donates its 7-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone air-con and quirky i-cockpit layout to the cause.