Peugeot's 208 city hatch has been widely refreshed in its second generation form.
Peugeot recently stated that with this second generation form of the 208, it wanted to create 'the sexiest small hatch in the purest way'. They're not wrong and certainly no effort's been spared here either with the small hatch having a completely new platform, a fresh/modern looking design and a redesigned interior. All of these efforts have been implemented in the hope of targeting a younger audience. There's also an all-electric version too!
What exactly should a supermini be in order to gain this nickname? Affordable? Economical? Practical? All of these are notably important when choosing your next vehicle of course, but if you're a manufacturer and that's all you create to sell within this broad market segment, then you need to be prepared to sell it extremely cheap. Even in this category you see consumers expecting more in terms of style, innovation and technology in order to keep up with recent trends and stay competitive. In fact, customers expect something more like this, Peugeot's MK2 version of the 208. This, the latest in Peugeot's long history of 'two zero' cars could hardly be more important for the brand. It switches the company's supermini car on to a properly modern and new chassis, the 'CMP' platform for B and C segment cars that's also shared with the DS 3 Crossback and the new Vauxhall Corsa. Crucially, this can support both traditional fuel engines and all-electric powertrains - and does in this case. As a result, Peugeot reckons it has an answer in this car no matter what the target customer is looking for with something to apply to everyone.
On the new Peugeot 208, there are three petrol options along with a single diesel to choose from. If you are familiar with the Peugeot brand, you might not be surprised to hear that the available petrol units are all 1.2-litre three cylinder PureTech engines, in this case developing either 75, 100 or 130hp depending on which one you opt for. The 100hp unit is also optionally available with an 8-speed EAT8 automatic gearbox. The 130hp engine gets the automatic gearbox included as standard. We've not previously seen an automatic with 8-speeds in the supermini sector but this could be a way forward for the brand and others to follow. The diesel powerplant is the company's usual 1.5-litre BlueHDi engine with 100hp. As for the all-electric e-208 version of the new hatch, there is just one variant of this model which will be available featuring a 50kWh battery mated to a 100kW electric motor. This confection helps to develop a healthy 134hp. Of course, as you'd expect in a modern supermini of this era, you can get all the usual driver assistance features with lane keep assist to stop you from drifting out of your lane, with subtle steering intervention to ease you back to where you are meant to be. Along with an autonomous parking system which is capable of automatically controlling acceleration, braking and steering when entering or leaving a parking space. There's also a traffic sign recognition system that can work with the integrated speed limiter and make sure that you never exceed the stated limit of the road you're on. All very clever and un-heard of in a vehicle of this size and sector.
The second generation 208 is larger, lower and wider than its predecessor in version 1 and borrows inspiration for its silhouette from the brand's old 205 supermini hatch of the Nineties. At the front, there's a large, intricately detailed grille with triple white LED headlights and some eye-catching LED daytime running light 'fangs or claws' which really do help to add to this vehicle's presence and make it stand out from the crowd. At the rear, the lines are more curved and defined than with the previous model, the rear screen is more angled and there's a glassy black centre section housing triple red LED lights on each side which again helps to let people know exactly what you're driving! Moving onto the interior, this 208 gains Peugeot's 'i-Cockpit' design philosophy in its latest form. There's also a modern 3D drivers display and a central TFT infotainment screen available in 5-inch, 7-inch or 10-inch sizes, depending on which specification level you opt for. A really nice cabin detail is the fold-down flap under the 'piano key'-style buttons that decorate the centre console, concealing an area which can house your smartphone in several different ways while it charges - either inductively or via two charging points. And the area has an angled lip so that you can view your 'phone's screen while it's charging - a nice touch. At the back of this re-designed 208, you'll find decent rear passenger space for a car of this size. And Peugeot's keen to point out that the e-208 all-electric version has the same amount of rear seat legroom and boot space as the fossil-fuelled derivatives do.
Pricing on this new version of the 208 starts from just over £16,000 on the base specification and can run up to around £23,500 for the conventionally-engined & higher specified models. Buyers choose from base trim, then 'Active', 'Allure', 'GT Line' and 'GT' specifications. The full-electric 'e208' is offered in all but base trim, at prices starting from around £25,000 (following subtraction of the £3,500 government Plug-in car Grant). With the e-208, access to charging points via the PSA Group's 'Free2Move' service is included. As you'd expect, a wide range of driver assistance and safety technologies are available this time round. Go for the automatic gearbox (or an e-208 model) and the adaptive cruise control system you can have has the ability to make the car automatically stop and go in heavy traffic with little to no driver input. You can have this system with a manual gearbox too, where it operates down to 18mph where you'll then have to manually take over due to not being able to switch gears for you. Lane departure warning, auto parking and blind spot monitoring systems are all available as part of the extensive spec list too. Go for a variant with the largest 10-inch centre dash infotainment display and you'll get built-in navigation, plus 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring.
We expect that the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol variants of the engine will be the most popular option with customers to be very acceptably clean and frugal when operating. With the 100hp manual model of the 208, you can expect to manage up to 53.0mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and return an NEDC-rated CO2 reading of up to 96g/km, which is pretty good going for a car in this segment and size. The 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel version of course does much better with up to 71.4mpg on the combined cycle and is theoretically possible, along with up to 84g/km of NEDC-rated CO2. But of course if you're really interested in ecological efficiency, there'll be just one variant of this car that'll interest you, the all-electric e-208. For this derivative of the 208, Peugeot claims a WLTP-rated driving range between charges of 211 miles - more than enough for what most people will be using this car for. And fast charging at the rate of 100kW is available via a CCS socket hidden behind the fuel cap, with an 0-80% charge achievable in around only 30 minutes. If you install a wallbox at home, you can recharge the battery from empty in around five hours if you have an 11kW electricity supply - or in around eight hours with a 7.4kW supply. Bear in mind that the e-208 is around 350kgs heavier than the ordinary version due to the extra weigh of batteries and electric motors.
So the 208 has ultimately evolved overall - but not beyond recognition. Upon improving it, Peugeot has certainly tried to cover all the bases while still keeping to a certain budget & target audience. 'It's OK to have 20% of people not liking this car', the company's director used to say, 'as long as the other 80% love it'. This time round, we reckon his brand doesn't have too much to worry about. There may be a few supermini buyers who don't like the cabin layout, want something better suited to cornering on its door handles or who might prefer the value proposition of a budget brand - but I'm guessing they'll be in the minority! Most consumers & potential buyers of this model will recognise that in this refreshed version of the 208, Peugeot has perfected for the supermini segment it was always capable of. A smart small car choice - in more ways than one which is very appealing.
24th February 2021
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