France, it turns out, has more to offer the world than just being the butt of jokes about surrendering and socialism. They've also done hot hatches as well as anyone else. Sadly, we Americans seldom get them, but I'd love to start with the new Peugeot 208 GTI hatchback.
Our pals at XCAR took a spin in the latest 'Pug hot hatch, the latest successor to the legendary 205 GTI — a hatch so amazing Alex Goy refers to it as "Jesus on wheels." Sadly, its descendants never quite lived up to that legend.
But Alex says the 208 GTI does its own thing, mainly because it has to. The days of the ultralight hot hatch are gone, thanks to safety regulations that have embiggened everything. What you do get here is a comfortable, well-equipped hatch with a 200 horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor and plenty of scoot. It's not as hardcore as some hot hatches, but it does pretty well on its own.
Seems like a fun car. I wish we could get it.