The new Peugeots 208 is expected to spawn both a hot hatchback and a more luxuriously trimmed, customisable model that will be a direct rival for Citroens DS3. Peugeot showed the 208 GTi and 208 XY concept cars at the recent Geneva motor show, prompting speculation that they could arrive later this year.
However, Peugeot sources say that the car will be turned into a rival for the Nissan Juke first. Likely to be called 2008, this vehicle has also been previewed as a concept car, called HR1, which was shown at Paris in 2010.
One insider told What Car? that the car is now at an advanced stage to the point where a public debut at this autumns Paris motor show appears likely. Sales would then start in early 2013.
The 2008 is likely to get the same engine line-up and radical cabin treatment as the 208, but it wont back up its mini-SUV looks with four-wheel drive. Thats not something we have in mind today, a 208 project engineer stated.
Peugeot is keen to get the 2008 on sale because it has noticed a shift in the demands of small-car customers. Theyre now more interested in alternatives to the regular hatchback, saloon and estate models. As a result of this trend, Peugeot has no plans to build an estate (SW) version of the 208.
The GTi, meanwhile, is on track to go on sale in summer 2013; possibly after a public debut at the 2013 Geneva motor show.
Peugeot is also working on even more efficient versions of the regular 208 range; the 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine will get a stop-start system from 2013, cutting its CO2 emissions from 104g/km to 95g/km.