Peugeot 208

Four Generations of French Sensation

Its majesty the French Lion is back again with the new 208! We all know that Peugeot has sold more than 15 million of its 2-series cars since the launch of the 205 in 1983. And followed by the 206 then the 207 to "re-generate" them to finally create: the Peugeot 208.

Driving Impressions
Here I am in Portugal to lay my hands on that new 208 from the French automaker. I was located more specifically in the famous touristic region of Cascais. I personally test drove both petrol and diesel engines. Unfortunately the diesel won't make it to our region but always worth the try. The diesel engine felt so quick and energetic.

Once I jumped into the car I noticed that the car has absolutely changed compared at least to its older generation, the 207. Although the car is smaller from the outside you feel it is quite spacious from the inside. What I felt was kind of weird is the steering wheel position. Why is that? The odometer and dashboard are higher than the steering wheel. In other words, normally you check the odometer in the hole of the upper steering wheel. The steering wheel itself is smaller and much sportier, which I also appreciated and it gave me a good feel and the urge to speed!

All the vehicles were equipped with a manual transmission gearbox (for the time being as the automatic will follow in later stage). The diesel comes with 6 speeds and the petrol comes with 5 speeds.

The driving experience? I personally have quite enough experience with Peugeot and their 2-series as I own an automatic 207 back in Beirut. The quick comparison is no comparison!! It feels like the two cars are completely different in terms of exterior, interior and driving impersonation. The 208 is super agile with precise handling. The PlayStation era of the old generations has at last gone. You are now driving a car which gives you accuracy and sharpness on turns, corners and even on mountainous roads. Its weight has been balanced very well. The response of the gears is good and soft.

I still remember when I test drove the 508 the year before; its interior was superb. Peugeot has extracted the 508 interior to implement it into the 208's interior, quite a leap in overall design and finishes… The dash featured stitched leather and lots of chrome. Just like the 508, you can detect the premium sense to most of the cabin and I mainly like the fact that the door handles don't feel cheap anymore.

The reduced front overhang, 6 cm less compared with the 207, and the shorter rear overhang, 1 cm less, along with the reduced weight of the vehicle, directly benefit improved proportions, agility and everyday practicality such as parking and maneuvers.

To obtain a maximum reduction in the weight of the vehicle, a true "hunt to eliminate excess weight" took place at the same time to create, overall, a "virtuous spiral", favoring fuel consumption, passive safety and the dynamic performance of the vehicle. Each component designed, each technique used, each part of the vehicle, etc., has been considered: aluminum front beam-absorber, size of the front sub frame, laser welding of the roof, extensive use of VHSS and UHSS (Very High Strength Steel and Ultra High Strength Steel) panels, soundproofing of the engine. The 208 weighs 173 kg less than the 207 with a feat which allows the 208 to start from a weight of 975 kg.

From a compact silhouette, reduced overhangs, fluid links between bonnet and windscreen pillar, the aesthetic codes of the 208 have been re-invented, both in their main characteristics and in every detail.

The front face, a true genetic signature, unveils a new, particularly charismatic face of the Lion. Its feline expression is more modern, rich and refined, with, in particular, LEDs and a light guide emphasizing the expression of the headlamp unit, both day and night. The same care is given to each part, such as the treatment given to the fog lamp surrounds.

As for the grille, this is modeled as a true floating sculpture. In fact, it appears to detach itself from the bodywork and float in the air, with its chrome surround of precisely formed sections. Inside it, a full and technological mesh, or chrome bars, reinforce the modernity and richness of the line. With this original design, it successfully expresses the idea of environmental efficiency; the optimized size of the air intake in fact suggests optimization of its fuel consumption. The front shows itself to be strong and alive, soft and thoroughbred, technological and cheerful, natural and sophisticated.

The instruments and controls, which have been re-thought structurally, have provided a previously unheard of field of expression for the stylists. The design of the dashboard blends style lines which are both floating and graphic. Concern for perceived quality can be seen everywhere, the obsessive attention to detail, like the vents at the end of the dashboard in the shape of a cat's eye, the numerous "faceted" components echoing certain sections of the exterior style (grille, roof, cut-out of the boot) everything has been thought about and re-thought, from the shape of the door trim pads to the gear lever.

The grouping of all the audio controls on the touch screen also permits simplification of the "man-machine" interface with a significant reduction in the number of buttons and controls, favoring a pure and modern design. The interior of the instrument panel has been given a very technological treatment, with analogue dials as a reference to precision mechanics, a digital screen on which the speed is always clearly visible and back-lighting effects giving the whole purity and elegance.

This interior offers no less day-to-day practicality as a result, with numerous well thought out storage compartments, such as the deep compartment situated in front of the gear lever which can be used for cans or as an area for a smartphone, or the generous door pockets.

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