It’s yet another milestone for Peugeot with the launch of their all new 208, a descendant of the legendary 205. As many will have owned or aspired to own the GTI version will know, it is one of the all time greats.
Now we have the latest in the line- the high tech 208 and it may surprise you to know that some 22 million in the 2 series have been sold.
Peugeot, with their new offering, will give a choice of power units, petrol, diesel and EV with the latter set to account for fifty percent of sales by 2020.
It will be interesting to see how the EV sells throughout Ireland, as early indications for the UK market see a giant swing to EV with diesel sales as low as five percent. Both in Northern Ireland and the Republic I still see buyers wanting the diesel, however we are in an ever changing market and the new 208 will be well up to the challenge.
Returning to the GTi, alas the French carmaker has no plans to introduce such with the new 208; this may come as a disappointment to some. One of the most appealing aspects of the newcomer is that it is a car for all ages and as more and more down size it will surely fit the bill.
At the international press launch, one Peugeot person described the new 208 as a tonic for those who desire to stay young, I am all for that! Yes, the moment I took the wheel of the 208 I got that feel good factor, a car which I immediately adapted to; in every sense it is very much a driver’s car and after all, is that not one of the joys of motoring?
With the choice of three petrol power outputs, one diesel and the EV; customer choice is good and as a good case for the latter, charging on a fast charge can see 80 percent battery power in just 30 minutes and a range of 340km.
With the EV, there is no compromise in handling or interior and boot space as the batteries are placed low under the floor, also providing a low centre of gravity.
A focal point with the new 208 is the latest version of the I- Cockpit 3D, those who may have driven for example the new 508 will have witnessed the benefits and to have the like in a small car is pleasing indeed.
I must applaud Peugeot for not falling into the trap of producing an EV version which in terms of styling is radical. Far too many small EVs are totally lacking in the design department and I can only describe them as being ugly with zero street cred.
The overall styling of the 208 is chunky with a string on road presence and a good palette of exterior colours adds to the overall package.
Returning to the power aspects of the newcomer, as regards the petrol versions, 75, 100 and 130bhp while the 1.5 litre diesel delivers 100bhp. For example the 130bhp unit can take you from rest to 100kph (62mph) in 8.7 seconds, while the diesel takes 11.4 seconds. The electric version tops them all, though, taking just 8.1 seconds!
Transmissions, 6 speed manual or an eight speed automatic which is rare in this class. I had the opportunity to try the 100 and 130bhp petrol engines and the diesel. Sampling both transmissions, I found the manual gear change vague. To be fair though, it could have just the two particular cars that I tried.
Trim levels follow the usual pattern from Peugeot, so once again reasonably good customer choice.
With a focus on the EV version, I had a lengthy discussion with a Peugeot spokesperson who pointed out that taking everything into account, the comparison on overall costs with the petrol versions and the diesel could be marginal.
I certainly look forward to driving right hand drive versions over familiar roads in that way I can provide a more comprehensive appraisal in terms of road holding etc.