Peugeot 208 unveiled

* All-new 207 replacement * Distinct styling for 3dr and 5dr * On sale summer 2012...

Peugeot 208 unveiled

This is the new Peugeot 208. Its the replacement for the 207 and goes on sale in summer 2012.

Unlike so many new models, the 208 is smaller and significantly lighter than its predecessor.

Whats new?The 208s styling represents a clean break, with a look that owes more to Peugeots futuristic recent concept cars.

At the front, theres a floating grille that shows the influence of the SR1 concept car. Its flanked by unusually shaped headlights, while the bonnets leading edge curves into the front grille.

The bonnets scalloped centre section emphasises a spine that runs from front to rear its also highlighted by a dip in the top of the windscreen and a channel that runs along the roof.

At the rear, theres a distinctive rounded tailgate and boomerang rear lights that flow into a crease stretching along the side of the car.

Three- and five-door models look largely similar in profile, but on three-door models theres a crease in the doors that curves down towards the front. Five-door versions have a sculpted blade similar to the one on the Vauxhall Insignia curving up from the lower part of the door.

In a nod to the design of the old 205 hatch from the 1980s, the three-door model has a more sloping side window profile, with chrome trim that extends into the rear panel.

Whats it like inside? The interior has a similarly clean-sheet approach to the exterior. Theres a smaller-than-usual steering wheel, which Peugeot claims improves ergonomics by providing more space for the instruments and controls.

The centre of the dash is dominated by a large touch-screen, which will be fitted as standard to most models, but not all. The head-up display already seen on the 3008, 508 and 5008 will not be available.

Despite the 208 being 7cm shorter and 1cm lower than the 207, improved packaging makes it more practical, reckons Peugeot.

The 207 isnt as roomy as most rivals, with limited rear legroom, but the 208 has 5cm more than its predecessor, as well as an extra 15 litres of boot space.

Technical details Thanks to its compact dimensions and more advanced construction, the 208 is also substantially lighter than the 207. The average weight reduction across the range is 110kg, but in some models the loss is as much as 173kg. At 975kg, the lightest 208 is 66kg lighter than even the skinniest Ford Fiesta.

The reduced weight should make the 208 more fun to drive. It certainly contributes towards a dramatic drop in CO2 emissions, with an average range reduction
of 34g/km. The cleanest diesel now emits just 87g/km.

Peugeot hasnt confirmed whether all of the five available diesel engines will be brought to the UK, but both 1.4 and 1.6-litre versions are expected.

Most will have a stop-start system as standard and all will emit less than 99g/km. Fuel figures havent been confirmed, but wed expect the most efficient version to top 80mpg.

The biggest drop in CO2 emissions comes courtesy of
a new range of petrol engines. The big news is the introduction of new 1.0 and 1.2-litre three-cylinder units, which will offer CO2 figures as low as 99g/km and average fuel economy of up to 54.7mpg. Upgraded, more efficient versions of the current 1.4 and 1.6-litre four-cylinder units are also likely to bolster the range.

The 208s environmental impact is further reduced by extensive use of green materials, with 25% of the car
including the entire rear bumper built from materials that are either recycled or of natural origin.

Levels of trim and standard equipment are still unconfirmed, but wed expect an entry-level version with limited standard equipment, plus a choice of trims geared towards either sportiness or luxury kit above that.

Both three- and five-door 208s are due to go on sale in summer 2012. Peugeot is likely to launch SW estate and CC convertible versions during 2013.