Sexy little number
The Peugeot 207 arrived as a replacement for the 206 in 2007 and boasted large dimensions that closely matched the 307.
The replacement for the 207, the new Peugeot 208, is here and it’s a sexy small hatchback that appeals to the young-at-heart generation of buyers. There are two body styles available; a sporty three door and a practical five door hatchback.
The 208 looks funky with its fresh European design and Peugeot’s new family look floating grille. The exterior dimensions are smaller than the 207, despite sharing the same wheelbase, and the fitment of narrow backrests for the front row seats as well as clever interior arrangement has optimised cabin space.
Binning the old kit
A large seven-inch touch screen display sits prominently on the dashboard and the regular look steering wheel was binned in favour of a funky, slightly oval shaped, steering wheel. A fair amount of glossy black inserts and quality trim offer a premium feel and there is no CD player in sight, so old school buyers be warned. But the multimedia system has radio, Bluetooth and USB audio streaming, although disappointingly, satellite navigation is currently not available on New Zealand models.
The front seats offer good lateral support and comfort, although the suspension is on the firm side. The location of the instrument panel makes it necessary for the driver to peer over the steering wheel to view the instruments, and for many drivers an uncomfortable steering wheel adjustment is necessary to prevent the wheel from obscuring the speedometer.
Reducing the cylinder count
Peugeot has introduced a three-pot 1.2L petrol engine to the 208 that sounds like any odd-number piston engine does. While it’s not the quickest off the mark, the lightweight hatch is zippy and nimble enough for city driving, with the ability to squeeze into tight parking spaces.
The 1.2L produces 60kW/118Nm and is claimed to achieve a frugal fuel consumption figure of 4.5L/100km while the 1.6L has a useful 88kW/160Nm at a claimed 6.7L/100km with the preferred juice being the premium 95 octane fuel.
A five-speed manual ‘box drives the front wheels and the clutch operation takes a bit of getting used to, so if you’re not careful, it’s an easy car to stall. A spirited alternative is the 1.6L four-cylinder engine coupled to a conventional four-speed automatic transmission. While four speed autos seem a little out of date compared with other brands’ modern six-speed autos, CVTs and dual-clutch transmissions, the 208’s four ratios will be perfectly adequate for most buyers, although Peugeot New Zealand executives tell us that if a six-speed option was available they would’ve run with it.
The 208 is available in three model configurations; the Active, Allure five door and the Allure three door. All models receive daytime running lights and the steering wheel has audio controls. The Allure five door adds 16-inch alloys, front fog lamps, auto activating headlights and wipers, chrome window trim and climate control airconditioning. The Allure three door gains 17-inch alloys and chrome door mirrors.
Boot space is 311 litres with the rear seats in the upright position or can be stretched to 1152 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Passive safety features are in the form of frontal and side airbags for front seats and two curtain airbags. The 208 has been awarded a five star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Active safety features include Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control.
The 1.2L Active five door is priced at $23,990 up to $25,990 for the 1.6L. The 1.6L Allure five door is stickered at $28,990 and the three door version has a $1,000 premium, priced at $29,990.
But it’s the GTi model that we are looking forward to driving as past models like the iconic 205 GTi were never short of fun factor. The 208 GTi is expected to arrive later this month with a 1.6L turbocharged engine producing a gutsy 147kW/275Nm mated to a six-speed stick shifter and claimed to be capable of completing a 0 – 100km/h sprint time in under seven seconds.