The new Peugeot 208 has arrived to take on the Ford Fiesta with a new platform, engines and tech, plus an all-electric option
This is the all-new, second-generation Peugeot 208, and this humble supermini is arguably the most important new model in Peugeot’s 123-year history in the auto industry.
Small cars have always held huge presence within Peugeot’s line-up but the new 208 arrives with more weight on its shoulders than most. That’s because when the new model goes on sale this summer it’ll be the first ever car wearing the Peugeot lion to be offered with a fully-electric powertrain.
• New electric Peugeot e-208 revealed with 211-mile range
The Mk2 208 moves on the PSA Group’s new CMP platform for B and C-segment cars, shared with the DS 3 Crossback and due to feature on a glut of new models across the PSA empire – the next Vauxhall Corsa and Citroen C4 to name a couple. The platform itself sheds 30kg over the underpinnings of the previous generation model, but more importantly it supports a battery electric powertrain, which can be integrated on the same production line as the petrol and diesel variants of the 208 with little disruption.
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Design wise, the new 208 is well distanced from its predecessor and adopts the same design language as used on the new 508. The front is defined by the pair of large LED fangs hanging off the new headlights, and overall the new model receives a much sportier looking bodykit than before. GT Line cars as pictured get flared black wheel arches – a visual nod to the 205 GTI – plus a large black spoiler on the hatch-lid. Every car boasts the new, distinctive rear end though, making use of a gloss black insert spanning the width of the tailgate.
It’s a similar story in the cabin, as the 208 features a completely overhauled interior which is a far more digitalised environment than before. Some more recent Peugeot interior design elements, such as the liberal use of piano black plastics and the ‘piano key’ style switchgear, are prominent on the centre console.
The brand’s i-Cockpit dashboard layout is still used, with a fully digital instrument panel available on high-end versions of the new 208. However, the digital dashboard is a brand new development as yet unseen on any other Peugeot. The brand calls it 3D i-Cockpit, and it uses clever reflection to create the impression of three-dimensional graphics. Sitting on top of the dashboard is a floating touchscreen display. On standard 208s, it’ll measure up seven-inches in size, with a ten-inch display featuring Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and built-in navigation on higher-spec cars.
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Under the bonnet, Peugeot has confirmed five powertrain choices from launch. The base petrol offering, which we likely won’t receive in the UK, is the PureTech 75. It’s a three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine developing 74bhp, and sending drive to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
Instead, Peugeot’s UK offering is much more likely to kick off with the turbocharged PureTech 100, which takes power up to 99bhp and adds an extra ratio to the transmission with a six-speed manual as standard. Peugeot’s EAT eight-speed automatic is optional here, with paddle shifters mounted on the back of the steering wheel. Step up another level, and the 128bhp PureTech 130 features the eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Diesel is a dying choice in superminis, but the new 208 launches with a solitary BlueHDi option. The 99bhp, 1.5-litre four-cylinder motor is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox only. No performance, fuel economy or CO2 figures have been issued, but the new car will be homologated under WLTP rules.
The big news under the metal of the new 208 is the battery electric drivetrain in the e-208, which will be available from launch. The fully-electric variant of the supermini uses the e-CMP variant of the new CMP platform and is capable of 211 miles on a single charge, with the front axle powered by a 134bhp electric motor.
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Unsurprisingly, the new 208 packs all of the latest driver assistance and safety features Peugeot has to offer. Eight-speed automatic versions can be equipped with adaptive cruise control with a complete stop-and-go function, while lane keep assist appears on the 208 too. Autonomous park assist makes its debut on the supermini, the system able to automatically control acceleration, braking and steering when entering or leaving a parking space. Blind spot assist, and updated speed limit and traffic sign recognition system and a driver monitoring system also appear on the new model.
Peugeot says that orders for the new 208 will open after the car has made its full debut at the Geneva Motor Show, with first deliveries taking place this summer. We might have to wait a little longer in the UK though, and with the new platform, engines and tech, the starting price looks likely to advance on the £14,900 asking price of the current car.
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