Cleverly packaged small cars have long been the forte of the French motor industry and the newly launched Peugeot 208 picks the baton up with aplomb.
It was way back at the 1929 Paris Motor Show that Robert Peugeot introduced the ground-breaking 201, which was the brilliant expression of his stated ambition to produce a car that would be: ”The most economical car in the world yet be capable of carrying four adults in comfort.”
Close on 143,000 examples of that pioneering vehicle were sold between 1929 and 1937. Ever since, Peugeot’s 2-Series’ products have been front-runners in terms of both design and sales.
The current iteration is the brand new 208 model. Smaller on the outside, bigger o/n the inside than the 207 that preceded it, the new car has been crafted with agility and efficiency as its priorities.
Shortened front and rear overhangs have made it nippier, more manoeuvrable. Serious weight-saving measures have helped make it more efficient, with the use of lightweight materials like aluminium.
The new cars tip the scales at an average 114kg compared to 207 models.
Competing in the ‘ B”, or supermini class, the 208 provides Peugeot with a strong challenger to the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, VW Polo, Mini and other contenders.
It’s a market split 62 per cent to 38 per cent between private and fleet users.
Following current styling trends, the 208 has sculpted lines, with creases in all the right places. There’s a choice between three and five-door models.
Inside, ergonomics have received a lo/t of attention. The steering wheel is smaller, the instrumenr panel clearer and elevated so the driver can keep eyes on the road longer,
A seven-inch touch screen gives added convenience to a range of functions while the innovative Peugeot Connect SOS put assistance a finger’s touch away.
Five specification levels are available. My £15,045 208 Allure five-door test car was very comprehensively equipped. It came with a punchy little 1598cc petrol engine that can reach 62 mph in 10.9 sec and has a 118 mph top speed.
It’s a nice little car to drive, with a good balance between road holding and comfort.