‘Lively’ that’s the one word summary I gave to people when they asked me last week what the new Peugeot 208 was like. Of course it’s much more, but from the moment I sat into the car at Peugeot’s Irish headquarters in Bluebell it just felt so responsive.

My test car came in a beautiful shade of Vertigo Blue, which naturally attracted many favourable comments. I reminded the admirers that I was driving the current European Car of the Year, which Peugeot were awarded back in March when life was fairly normal.

Here in Ireland we are all good Europeans, but separated from mainland Europe by a few million Brexiteers. And to add to the European angle the young lady who handed me the keys of the 208 in Bluebell last week was Peugeot Marketing Manager Jana Solovjova, who is from Estonia.

Jana told me that this is Peugeot’s first car that will have the same spec in petrol, diesel and electric. Last week it was petrol, but I will have the electric version in a few weeks.

Externally that Vertigo Blue looked great. The new 208 is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, but only in millimetres. In the new version the exterior design embodies the DNA of the brand with 3-claw LED front headlights.

The classy design is replicated inside the car where Peugeot are very proud of their i-Cockpit with its heads-up display and touchscreen. The front is dominated by a neat sporty-looking steering wheel. I can confirm that the Apple Car-Play worked very well.

At launch Colin Sheridan, Sales and Marketing Director of the Gowan Group said: “With a very strong 2-series heritage and existing customer base already in Ireland, I have no doubt we will attract many conquest sales.”

The suggestion of conquest sales is interesting because in Ireland I think families were often loyal to the same brand, when purchasing a new car, especially in rural Ireland where there may be just one dealer. But times have changed and now garages all over the country act for a few different car brands.

In the back seat there is plenty of room for two adults, three at a squeeze. The boot is a decent size and there is a plastic cover which is very useful if you are throwing in wet shoes or clothes to the boot.

My review of a Peugeot car a few years back elicited a Letter to the Editor after I compared a spare wheel to items we Irish love such as Guinness, Club Orange, Tayto crisps, rashers, black pudding and brown bread. Peugeot know that we Irish always appreciate a full-size spare wheel and yes the 208 continues that proud tradition.

Prices start at €17,995 for the basic Active Petrol version. Diesels start at €19,250, while the electric starts at €26,809.

My test car was the automatic 1.2-litre Allure petrol with 100 brake horse power and it will cost you €23,150. Road tax is €180. Then there is the top of the range GT Line which are very sporty.

So if you don’t already drive a Peugeot and want to be a good European I suggest you should have a test drive in the 208. I think you will be pleasantly surprised; it’s a supermini, but big on style and performance.