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Peugeot 208 launched - Lighter and therefore better

By Rigval on 08 Nov 2011

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Finally, Peugeot has come to their senses! This is basically the conclusion I came up with after viewing the specifications of the new Peugeot 208 supermini launched over in Europe. After years of building porky, overweight superminis and hatchbacks Peugeot has finally realized that they need to revisit their roots (namely the Peugeot 205GTI) and come up with a lighter car.

The pinnacle in all these fat Peugeot hatchbacks to me was, is, the current Peugeot 308. It was never like a Pug from days gone by. It was flabby, handled terribly and rode badly too. Unlike a Pug from the 1980s and 1990s.

Anyway, Peugeot has claimed that the new 208 is its “most ambitious specification overhaul”. The car is lighter by over 100kg overall. In fact in the base 208 it is 975kg or 173kg lighter than its predecessor, the Peugeot 207. It still has the same 2540mm wheelbase, meaning legroom should not suffer but it is 70mm shorter overall (yet the engineers still found an extra 15liters in bootspace - amazing). The packaging is different as the roofline is also slightly lower at 1492mm. Engine sizes have also tumbled though, as the launch models get a 1.0liter and 1.2liter Vti units instead of a 1.4 and 1.6 unit. This is the benefit of having a lighter car – smaller, more economical units that give up to 65mpg and below 100g/km of CO2 emissions.

This certainly proves that Peugeot's engineers must have been so utterly lazy and just built the 207 without any thought of making it light and nimble like the already classic Peugeot 205. This is Peugeot going back to their roots. Now, with some effort they've created a properly light supermini again instead of just playing up the styling and design cues but fat like a duck meant for foie gras. It's now on a low fat diet. It still looks good though. It is still adventurously styled but with a slightly different styling philosophy in that there is less frontal overhangs and a less pointy nose. In fact, it looks more Citroen DS3-like.

Recent Peugeot efforts like the 308, 407 Evante (station wagon), 207 sedan (which is actually a 206 with a boot – meant for the growing Chinese market and third world countries) and 3008 have disappointed me as they either drove badly due to the weight (308, 407 wagon) or looked downright hippo-like (the 3008) or just utterly, utterly ugly (the 207 sedan). This is one Peugeot that I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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