2019 Peugeot 208 revealed: price, specs and release date
All-new Peugeot 208 gets styling inspired by the 508 executive saloon, plus cutting-edge safety tech and an electric variant with a 211-mile range...
On sale Summer Price from £16,000 (est)
The transformation of the electric car from niche to mainstream choice will take another significant step with the launch of the new Peugeot 208, because the latest version of this popular Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo rival will be the first car in its class to be offered in petrol, diesel and electric forms.
The latter variant, which is badged e-208, features a 134bhp motor and a 50kWh battery good for a range of 211 miles between charges on the new, more realistic WLTP test cycle. That compares favourably with its closest competitor, the Renault Zoe, which manages 188 miles.
A full charge of the e-208 using a domestic socket takes more than 20 hours, but this drops to eight hours if you use a dedicated wall box charger, and the batteries can be returned to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes via a 100kW rapid charger of the sort found at motorway service stations.
In an effort to encourage people to switch to an e-208, Peugeot will offer buyers a pass allowing them to access a petrol or diesel model for the occasional long journey, plus a smartphone app that can give them advice on how to optimise their driving and the car's range.
In addition to its 'e' badging, the electric 208 can be identified by its chequered, body-coloured front grille and bespoke wheel designs. Peugeot decided against making it look dramatically different to conventionally powered 208s, though, because it thinks electric models and plug-in hybrids will soon become a natural part of every car’s line-up.
Those other 208 variants include three petrols with power outputs ranging from 74bhp to 128bhp, while a 99bhp diesel completes the list of engines available at launch. The two less powerful petrols and the diesel all come with manual gearboxes, whereas the 128bhp petrol gets an eight-speed automatic as standard.
Peugeot is still to announce any MPG or CO2 figures, but the 208 is said to be 30kg lighter than its predecessor, like for like, plus it has improved aerodynamics and reduced rolling resistance, all of which should boost efficiency.
Safety is likely to be another strength, because the 208 is offered with a wide range of driver aids that are designed to help prevent accidents, including lane-keeping assistance, blindspot monitoring and an automatic emergency braking system that can detect cyclists and pedestrians at speeds of up to 85mph, day and night.
Like most of the latest small hatchbacks, the 208 is available only as a five-door. However, it's unusually classy, because its interior borrows heavily from bigger, pricier Peugeot models, such as the 3008 SUV and 508 executive car; we expect all versions to get a padded dashboard, customisable digital instruments and a central touchscreen with handy piano key-style shortcut buttons.
One new feature being introduced with the 208 is a three-dimensional look to the instruments, created by projecting the most important info onto a reflective screen in front of the main readout. The resulting effect is visually appealing, although Peugeot insists it’s primarily there for clarity rather than its extra wow factor.
In the UK, four trims will be offered: Active, Allure, GT Line and, unique to the e-208, GT. While most spec details haven’t been confirmed yet, we do know that GT-Line and GT cars will feature black wheel-arch extensions due to the need to cover left and right wheels set 12mm farther apart. On petrol and diesel models this wider stance is purely to make them look more muscular, whereas the e-208 needs it to squeeze in its batteries.
The 208 will go on sale this summer, with prices starting at around £16,000 for the 74bhp petrol model. But before signing on the dotted line, potential buyers might want to wait a few months to see how the new Vauxhall Corsa compares, because this will be very closely related to the 208 under the skin.
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Cars the new Peugeot 208 has to beat
If you're in the market for a small car, the good news is you're already spoilt for choice, but this can also make it hard to know where to start. So, here we count down the current top 10 – and reveal the models that are best avoided.
10. Mini 3dr
Although the Mini 3dr doesn’t have the practicality of its slightly larger 5dr sibling, it's still worth considering if you like your small cars to have a premium feel but don’t regularly carry more than one passenger. The Cooper version is particularly good, thanks to its lively yet efficient 1.5-litre petrol engine.
Our pick: Cooper
9. Honda Jazz
The Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It delivers class-leading space and practicality, and it might even outlast you with its outstanding reliability. Only an unsettled ride counts against it.
Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE
8. Mini 5dr
With more rear leg room and a bigger boot than the Mini 3dr, as well as its two extra doors, this is a stylish, classy and reasonably practical small car that is definitely worthy of a place on your shortlist.
Our pick: Cooper