The ambitious overhaul of a marque
It’s smaller and lighter than its predecessor but the new Peugeot 208 is big news nonetheless, writes Dave Moore
While Peugeot was able to gently morph the progress from the late 90s 206 design through the 207 that’s carried the B-segment baton for the brand for the past few years, the new 208 model marks more of a change.
The new model will have three and five-door body styles, though in New Zealand it’s expected that only the higher-performance cars will use the former format.
Known as the A9 Project internally by Peugeot, the 208 is said by its makers to represent the most ambitious specification overhaul ever undertaken by the marque. ‘‘A true generation leap,’’ said Peugeot.
The new hatch will reach French showrooms in the second quarter of next year, with New Zealand taking the car in the second half of the year. Its first motorshow reveal will be at the Geneva Salon in March, when a full line-up of engines and specification choices will go on show.
The 208 engine line-up averages CO2 outputs of 34g/km per car less than the 207’s and the use of the e-hdi micro-hybrid system on nearly all versions conspires with the car’s weight savings and aerodynamic improvements – it now has a drag coefficient of 0.29 – to create some impressive economy figures.
The new car will be the first model from the PSA group (Peugeot/citroen) to be designed from the outset to use the companies’ new family of modular three-cylinder engines. Two petrol triples will be on offer with capacities of 1.0 and 1.2-litres with variable valve timing (VTI) and a CO2 emissions footprint as low as 99g/km and capable of delivering a fuel economy rating of 4.3L/100 km.
The 208 will also offer a range of HDI diesel models, which will use a new generation Stop and Start System, with the best version offering an 87g/km CO2 rating and fuel economy of 3.4L/100km while none of the diesels on offer makes more than 99g/km CO2.
Shorter overall by 70mm than the 207 and lower by 10mm, the range, which starts from 975kg, is on average 110kg lighter than the 207, with the biggest model-formodel saving being 173kg, which is the equivalent of two good-sized adult passengers.
Despite the smaller size overall, the 208 offers 50mm more rear knee-room and 15 litres of extra load space.
Peugeot has a few quirky ways of describing the 208’s new styling signature, which is meant to start a new trend for the whole marque. There’s a floating grille, light signature, boomerang rear lamps – each detail, said Peugeot, all structured by a spine the impression of which is visible along the roofline.
Inside, the 208’s instruments and controls have been completely re-thought compared with the 206 and 207 models. They are positioned around a small steering wheel, combined with an elevated instrument panel giving quick, ata-glance information and featuring a large touch screen.
Despite its lighter weight and smaller size, the 208 is designed from the outset to score 5-stars in Euro NCAP and every model will feature a suite of electronic driving aids including an electronic stability programme. Quite which models and specifications will be included in the New Zealand line-up is not yet known but we’ll let you know as pricing and other information comes through.
PEUGEOT 208: Most New Zealand models will be the five-door design (left), with three-door models restricted to higherperformance versions.