Peugeot have decided that it’s time to pension off their 207. With strong competition from the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo the popular French supermini is staring to look a bit long in the tooth, but worry not – the new Peugeot 208 appears to be a far superior proposition.
For a start the 208 has been on a crash diet and lost on average 110kg, with the best saving in the range being 173kg. That’s a the equivalent of a large quantity of pies and will doubtless have a big impact on performance, economy and handling.
The time spent at Weight Watchers has not only dropped some flab, it’s also led to a reduction in size as the 208 loses 7cm in length and sits 1cm lower than the 207. Despite the smaller exterior dimensions the Peugeot 208 actually promises more space on the inside, including more legroom and boot space, so it will be even more practical than before.
The styling has been noticeably improved, with the swept back headlights and enormous gaping grille of the old car dropped in favour of smaller but more distinctive lights and a much smarter front. The body options are the same as before, both 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks.
As with all new cars there is lots of talk of saving polar bears and banishing global debt by reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel economy. Four out of five models get a Stop & Start system, helping the most economical diesel engine to achieve 83mpg. There are also two new 3-cylinder petrol engines, both promising improved economy, but for keen drivers the question will be what goes under the hood of the GTI.
Yes, there will almost certainly be a 208 GTI at some point after the new car launches. The best guess would on a 1.6-litre petrol engine with between 180 and 200bhp, but Peugeot are giving nothing away at the moment.
Prices and specifications of the Peugeot 208 are expected nearer to the 208’s UK launch in the summer of 2012.