This is the new-generation Peugeot 208, which lands in the UK in January 2020 offering an appealing recipe of progressive technology, cushy comfort and high style both inside and out.
First impressions are that the new car offers something sufficiently distinctive to make buyers question the kneejerk Ford Fiesta, and sufficiently samey to pose a dilemma for Vauxhall Corsa loyalists. The choice for supermini buyers is fresher than it’s been in years.
Peugeot says its target car is Volkswagen’s perennial Polo, which it most closely competes with in terms of price and equipment. But below that, the Ford Fiesta, Renault’s all-new Clio and SEAT ibiza, are all going to be on the same shopping lists. They're all tough nuts to crack – will the new 208 be good enough?
It certainly has a very important USP – the new 208 has another string to its bow: an all-electric e-208 that will be in showrooms shortly after the petrol and diesel versions. Peugeot says that it will treat all three fuelling options equally, although the e-208 will cost more and from launch, will account for about 10% of sales.
The design mirrors that of the latest 508 at the front, with fang-like daytime-running lights at the front on top-spec models. A black band at the rear houses the triple-lens brake lights and, again, more expensive versions have extra details such as black edging to the wheelarches.
Separating the e-208 aside from its more conventionally propelled siblings, it has its own set of styling differences, including blue metallic hints in the badges and grille, unique alloy wheels and, of course, no exhaust pipe.
New 2019 Peugeot 208 engines, transmissions
Four conventionally-powered 208s are available from launch; three petrols and one diesel:
• 1.2 PureTech 75 petrol, five-speed manual
• 1.2 PureTech 100 petrol, six-speed manual and eight-speed auto
• 1.2 PureTech 130 petrol, eight-speed auto
• 1.5 BlueHDi 100 diesel, six-speed manual
Performance specifications and fuel economy ratings aren’t known yet, but all of the engines have been approved under Euro6d-Temp emissions regulations. And although there's no word on when the GTi model will be announced, you should expect it in 2020 – let's hope it lives up to the legendary 205 GTI.
As for the e-208, there’s a 50kWh battery pack mated to a 136hp electric motor. According to WLTP tests, the electric version is capable of up to 211 miles of range and can be charged from flat to 80% in just half-an-hour using a 100kW fast charger.
Peugeot 208 1.2 PureTech 100 petrol driven
With a lightweight clutch and free-revving engine thrumming away the 208 gets off the line eagerly, although it runs out of steam as the revs increase. The benchmark sprint from 0-62mph takes 9.9secs.
Gearbox choices are an eight-speed automatic, or a six-speed manual. The latter's throw isn’t too long but can be a little vague (you might mistake third for first), and features an unwieldy gearknob that doesn't help matters.
Peugeot says the new 208 is roughly 30kg lighter than the last car: this model is 1,090kg, the equivalent Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost is 1,144kg. It promises 53mpg and emits 96-102g/km depending on wheel size and spec.
There’s also a 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel, which has a much more positive 88.2mpg claim and 85g/km of CO2; it musters 100hp and is coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox only.
Peugeot e-208: close in style to the petrol and diesel
Whereas Renault has the petrol and diesel Clio as well as the all-electric Zoe, Peugeot (and its parent company PSA) has developed a new platform that can house both combustion engines and an electric propulsion system in the same architecture.
It’s called CMP (Common Modular Platform) for the petrol and diesel cars, and e-CMP for the electric models. All of the cars are built on the same production line and the electric model has no detriment to rear space or boot volume. It is, however, around 300kg heavier than those with a conventional engine.
How does it drive?
Bear in mind the car we drove was a prototype but we found the steering light and the car easy to manoeuvre, although it weights up at motorway speeds for added stability. At times the computer-controlled assistance can feel a bit inconsistent and loose.
There's plenty of body roll too – thanks to a softly sprung set up. It feels more pronounced from the passenger seat and a nose-dive can be easily provoked by braking.
That should mean the ride quality is unusually plush on the UK’s broken roads - we will have to wait and see.
New 2019 Peugeot 208: interior and equipment
Peugeot's tiny steering wheel has plenty of rake-and-reach adjustment, meaning good vision of the novel 3D dials on mid-spec Allure trim and above.
This layers up data with critical info like a digital speedometer, tachometer strip and the speed limit projected on a foreground screen, and secondary stuff set further back.
The colourful display is inviting to look at, but we thought its benefits were mainly cosmetic. More time is needed with it.
Quality feels high standard, and it’s not too cramped thanks to more overall length and a 311-litre boot – that’s more than the Fiesta but less than the Clio.
Safety kit includes a driver attention warning, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, cruise control and active safety braking which works in the dark.
One high-end feature is Peugeot’s adaptive cruise control with stop and go function and lane positioning assist, which endows the 208 with level two autonomy that enables it to brake and accelerate responding to the car in front and stay in lane. Expect this to be an option. Automated park assist (linked to the automatic ‘box) and active blindspot monitoring are also available.
New 2019 Peugeot 208: pricing and release date
No pricing information has been confirmed yet, but the 208 will be orderable from late summer. The company says that it will be priced to compete with the Volkswagen Polo, which would suggest a starting price of around £14,000. First deliveries of the electric e-208 are expected to be two months after the first petrol and diesel 208s arrive in showrooms.
Parkers will be among the first to drive the all-new Peugeot 208 and e-208 in the UK, so add this page to your favourites for all the latest news