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Group Test - Hyundai i20 vs Peugeot 208 vs Dacia Sandero

By Phil Gardner | March 24, 2016


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We’ve pitted three small hatches against one another, all from the same segment but different in many ways...

Group Test - Hyundai i20 vs Peugeot 208 vs Dacia Sandero
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The Hyundai i20 Up, Peugeot 208 and Dacia Sandero are all good small car options occupying the segment between a large family hatch and a small city-car. 

The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest option of the lot, by a long way however does come with a lot less than the higher priced Peugeot 208. Dacia pride themselves on offering reliable cars at budget-friendly prices.

All of these models are of front-wheel drive set-up. The basic level Hyundai i20 is powered by a 75bhp 1.2-litre petrol unit, which comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. This model emits 112 g/CO2, with a combined mpg of 58.9.

The basic level 208 comes with a choice of 1.0-litre PureTech 68bhp petrol unit, which returns 65.7mpg, with a five-speed manual gearbox and a 1.6-litre BlueHDi 75bhp, mated to a five-speed manual and returning 64.2mpg, while emitting 102 g/CO2. 

The basic Dacia Sandero gets a 1.2-litre 16v 73bhp petrol unit mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and emitting 130 g/CO2. The basic Sandero returns 48.7mpg on the combined cycle.

The Peugeot is certainly the most friendly to your wallet throughout ownership, with only £20 Road Tax and an exceptional rate of fuel consumption.

Size wise, they’re all pretty similar, with the i20 coming in at 4035mm in length with a width of 1734, the Peugeot 208 comes in slightly shorter than the Hyundai, measuring 3973mm and 1739 wide, while the Dacia Sandero measures 4058mm long and 1733mm wide. They’re all fairly easy to drive and park.

Again entry level, the Hyundai i20 S trim comes with remote central locking, electric front windows, USB and aux connections, door mirrors with integrated indicators that are body coloured, adjustable head restraints, and a 60/40 split folding rear seat as standard. 

The Peugeot 208 starting trim is 'Access' and comes with a huge list of standard features, including colour coded door mirrors and door handles, rear lamps featuring LEDs, remote controlled central locking, cruise control with speed limiter, electric front windows including 'one touch’, electric front driver's window, manual air conditioning with refrigerated glove box and electric and heated door mirrors In-car entertainment.

Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.5mm auxiliary port, USB input, tyre pressure sensors are also included. A black horizon cloth trim is the only interior fabric option. 

The entry level Dacia Sandero comes sat on 15-inch Gobi steel wheels. The model also comes with daytime running lights, emergency brake assist, black element cloth upholstery, 60/40 split folding rear seat functionality, tinted windows with the rear getting heated technology, rear wash wiper and black door mirrors.

So unsurprisingly, the Dacia is the least well-equipped from the base model, but that’s reflected in the starting price. The 208 is on the flip-side of this comes brilliantly spec’d from the ground up and it is aesthetic tweaks, like the LEDs, which help the car look much better.

The i20 is therefore a good compromise, if you want a good bit of connectivity to play your music then you’ll be happy with the entry level i20, but those who want to scoot around in style with a high-spec looking  car (without paying for a load of options) will prefer the 208.

The Hyundai i20 is available from £9,995. The Peugeot 208 is at the higher end of the scale, between the three, with a starting price of £11,845.00, while the cheaper option of the bunch is the Dacia Sandero, which is available from £5,995.

In terms of pricing, the entry level i20 is almost twice the price of the entry level Sandero, which may disspel those who choose to buy their cars outright, but the difference in PCP deals and leasing are marginal. 

For example, personal lease deals on the 208 start from £167 per month, whereas the Sandero deals are all North of £120 per month, and when you take into account the level of kit, we’ll let you decide which is most worthwhile throughout ownership.

So, which is best?

They’re all really good, put simply. So it depends on what you want to achieve…

Budget Motoring - The Sandero wins here, particularly if you’re buying your car outright. If you’re just looking for something to get you from A to B and you’re not so fussed about the creature comforts, this is the clear winner.

Reliability - The Hyundai is certainly the star of the show here for a number of reasons. Firstly the mechanics and electronics inside the i20 have proven to be extremely durable and long-lasting. Complimenting this is the 5 year warranty that come with all Hyundais. You probably won’t need it but it is good to know you’ve got it there and it shows how much faith the company have in their products. This warranty also offers the peace of mind to the consumer.

Comfort - The 208 wins here thanks to all the accessories they load into every car that leaves the factory. Every 208 has LED rear lamps, cruise control, heated mirrors, bluetooth, aux and USB. A lot of manufacturers have been guilty of charging excessive amounts for these features as optional extras but Peugeot have got you covered from the off.

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