Peugeot’s quest to recapture the 205’s magic by replacing its uninspiring and bulky 207 with the more stylish, substantially lighter and eco-friendly 208 has been endorsed by an overall top-eight sales chart position, plus a strong fleet mix of nearly 50%.

Countering the trend of not-so-mini superminis, the 208 range, from which we selected a key business model, is on average 115kg lighter than its predecessors and smaller with the inside-out trick of greater interior space.

Our 208 embodied the twin virtues of a smaller physical footprint on the road and a nominally reduced carbon footprint on the planet, with more miles per gallon and fewer CO2 emissions.

When the pristine (optional £495 metallic) Cadbury-wrapper purple-blue, five-door example arrived six months and 4200 miles ago, it came with a sense of anticipation and the high-spec Allure trim.

This included 16-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, daytime running lights, slightly too narrow sports seats and height-adjustable driver and passenger seats, plus automatic lights, wipers and an auto dimming central mirror. All for a competitive £15,990 P11D tag.

A further £1725 in options covered the full-length glass roof, rear parking sensors, folding mirrors, electric rear windows and a £400 satnav and infotainment system [1], which, as reported later, combined malfunction with multi-function.

Our 208’s green tax-related business case was driven by a lightweight 1.6-litre e-HDi 92hp diesel engine [2] linked to a sometimes over-sensitive stop/start system and five well-chosen gear ratios. Allied to the weight loss regime, this resulted in a 98g/km CO2 rating and an official combined consumption of 74.3mpg.

A variety of drivers averaged 20mpg adrift of this nominal figure. That contrasts sharply to my previous long-termer, a 2.2-litre 150hp Honda Civic, at 58mpg, managing a gap of 9mpg between theory and practice.

Well packaged, smartly finished and nimble to drive in town and country, the 208 fell down in terms of niggling faults, both mechanical and electronic. Before 1000 miles passed it was recalled to tighten a bolt in the air-conditioning compressor assembly.

The infotainment centre required replacing by Oxford’s efficient Bristol Street Motors. Bogus screen messages insisted satnav satellites had gone AWOL and the radio, not offering DAB reception, randomly switched itself on.

Administering grease to the front suspension struts silenced irritating creaking and squeaking [3]. Latterly, our car redeemed itself with a final 60mpg flourish. Hopefully, some of the above faults for what was an early production model will be ironed out and won’t affect the likeable 208’s chances against the sector’s dominant Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.