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Peugeot 208: second-gen hits South Africa riding international acclaim

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With a new platform, bold new looks, and a tightened model line-up, the second iteration of the Peugeot 208 comes out swinging for the likes of the Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20 and Ford Fiesta. Will its early success in Europe rub off on the South African market?

Second generation makes the 208 sounds like a relative newbie, but that’s because of the Peugeot naming convention. The 208’s forebears include the 205, 206 and 207, a hatchback line-up that’s been around for 35 years.

Looks are subjective, but the 208 commands attention

There’s no slight evolution in styling here, because the 208’s lines and details are altogether sharper – losing the roundedness of its predecessor. The first detail that jumps out at you are the vertical daytime running lights that curve inward  from just underneath the new  two-tone black and chrome headlamps. The grille is also a wider one-piece design.

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The 208’s profile will be distinguished by 15-,16- or 17-inch alloys depending on which model the customer will choose, though the range-topping GT model also gets gloss-black exterior mirror covers and gloss-black wheel arch outlines.  At the rear, there’s a black band that joins the LED tail lights. The lights feature what Peugeot calls a lion-claw motif, though it smacks of Ford Mustang to regular Joe Soap.

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Only 1.2-litre motors in the 208

There’s only one engine size across the Peugeot 208 model line-up and that’s the company’s PureTech 1.2 three-cylinder motor, though there’s a normally aspirated unit and turbocharged example available.

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The entry-level Active is fitted with the 1.2 in normally aspirated guise – it makes 55 kW and you’ll have to stir a five-speed manual gearbox. The Allure trim also has a manual gearbox, but in six-speed guise and this time the motor has a turbo to bump the power up to 74 kW.

The engine is further boosted to 96 kW in the Allure Automatic, which uses a six-speed slushbox. The powertrain is shared by the range-topping GT model.

Unique cabin style and up-to-date tech

Peugeot’s i-Cockpit, now in its third generation, isn’t as futuristic as it sounds but it does offer a unique driving position for motorists. Firstly, a tiny steering wheel is something that’s become a brand identity and the 208’s is particularly compact. Then there’s also a 3D-effect heads-up display panel and a touch-screen infotainment system that varies in size from 7- to 10-inches. This unit uses screen mirroring to display your mobile’s layout through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

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The 208’s driver assistance package is comprehensive for the segment, featuring aids like road sign recognition, lane keep assist, driver attention alert with audible and visual notices, auto-on headlamps, hill-start assist and what Peugeot calls Visio Park. This system uses a 180° camera in the tailgate and parking sensors to provide the driver with a top-down view for easy parking.

Prices

  • Peugeot 208 Active – R289 900
  • Peugeot 208 Allure MT – R349 900
  • Peugeot 208 Allure AT – R379 900
  • Peugeot 208 GT – R424 900
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The tiny steering wheel has become a Peugeot hallmark. Image: Caricos

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