Motoring Writer IAN LAMMING is stuck with the latest Peugeot 208 – but he’s not complaining…

I’M chipper and cheerful to the point of annoyance. Ask me how I am and I’m always smashing and lovely. And if people probe, it’s because I live in and enjoy the moment as you can never be sure what’s coming next.

Who would have thought three months ago, when I booked the brand new 208 with Peugeot, that we would be incarcerated in a socially isolating lockdown? Crazy, but that’s life and what has chosen to come around the corner.

Fortunately, because I seek the positive, I’m stuck with the current test car for the duration while all future bookings are off. I’m also blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world which is currently devoid of visitors.

So ask me how I am? I know I shouldn’t be in the current climate, but I’m smashing and lovely of course and so is the test car. If you have to be socially isolated with a car then the 208 is no hardship at all, in fact it’s a pleasure.

That’s because it’s an absolute cracker. Granted, I can only drive it to the shops at the moment, park it 6ft from the nearest and sanitise once I get home.

But before that, and while school was still open, we all enjoyed the lengthy commute, which wasn’t too dissimilar to the experience of the car we had the week before – the new 2008.

There’s a corporate feel to the most recent crop of Peugeots and I like it. New 208 is just as eye-catching from every angle, particularly the front and rear. It looks sporty, aggressive, mean and enigmatic. It’s cool, definitely cool.

It’s slim at the top, wide and weighty down below; nose down, bum up, it looks to be in flight even when it’s at rest, bit like the legendary 205 GTI – the perfect rollerskate.

Neither is 208 all-show and no-go, it is every bit the dynamic vehicle it looks. Forget the paper figures which are an exercise in modesty – 1.2 litres and only three cylinders.

But add direct injection and bolt on a turbo and life looks a little more spirited, particularly when you channel the power through an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Teeny tiny flattened sports steering wheel, super-sharp dynamics, superb suspension and brakes and the flex-free nature of a rigid bodyshell make 208 as good on the road as any of its competitors and better than most.

Shrink the iCockpit from other parts of the range and transfer the brilliant 3D graphics and 208 becomes a stunning little car.

No wonder I’m chipper and cheerful to the point of annoyance, not to mention smashing and lovely.

Fact file
208 GT Line 1.2L PureTech
Engine: 1.2 turbo
Power: 101hp
0-62mph 10.8 secs
Top speed: 117mph
Combined MPG: 50.3
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 99
Price: £22,100.00