After the success of the 206 and 207, Ed Stephens discovers Peugeot isn't resting on its laurels.
Sometimes when you are a car manufacturer you can fall victim to your own success.
The mass appeal of Peugeot’s trendy 206 and follow up 207 models meant the French car company had two very hard acts to follow when it came to creating its latest supermini.
But in the last few years Peugeot has created some stunning designs, so if ever there was a time to bite the bullet and launch the latest 2 series it was now.
And so the 208 was born, and looks set to continue the success of the lineage.
The new car is a very different animal to the 207 yet retains a striking similarity, so shouldn’t deter existing 207 owners from making the change.
But where the 207 was more svelte, the newcomer is more muscular and that evolvement brings with it the benefit of creating more interior space and a car which is far easier to live with.
In fact on the inside the 208 feels a much bigger car all round, and from the driver’s seat doesn’t feel like a supermini at all.
The stylish leather steering wheel is significantly smaller, which not only feels sharper to use but helps make the cabin feel more spacious and gives it a more sporting appearance.
The smaller wheel also makes it easier to see the high mounted, crystal clear instrument dials without really having to take your eyes off the road. And the on-board computer allows you to set it for a digital speedometer readout to make things even easier.
My three-door test car in Allure spec had a stylish, business-like interior with leather trim seats which were not only comfortable on long journeys but had plenty of good side support to appeal to more sporting drivers.
One of the main features on the dashboard is a centrally mounted seven inch hi tech colour touch screen which allows you to use all the functions of the radio not to mention Bluetooth and playing of music files via a USB connection.
And this same screen houses the satellite navigation system which is available as an optional extra, at the realistic price of £400.
It will also allow 208 buyers to be able to take advantage of 10 special apps, ranging from Yellow Pages to the Michelin Guide and an up-to-date weather forecast feature.
Externally the three-door has a lot of kerb appeal with its deep sculptured hollowed-out-look doors, deeply tinted rear side windows and a striking chrome strip - matching the chrome exterior mirrors - which runs underneath the entire length of the side windows.
On the road my 1.6-litre, 92 bhp diesel engine was sharp and punchy, even with four people on board.
The manual gearbox is a five-speed rather than the now more common six speed but was nevertheless one of the smoothest to use I have come across.
This HDi model is fitted with a stop/start system to help with economy, and while I couldn’t get close to the claimed 74.3 miles per gallon average I did achieve what I thought was a very creditable 64mpg in “real-life” driving situations.
The low CO2 emissions on this car also means you don’t have to pay any road tax.
The new 208 has to compete in a tough sector of the car market, but is well up to the job and is a worthy successor to the 207 and a credit to Peugeot designers and engineers.
Peugeot 208 3dr Allure
Mechanical: 1560cc, 4 cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 5spd manual gearbox.
Max speed: 115 mph
0-62mph: 12.2 secs
Combined mpg: 74.3
Insurance group: 17E
CO2 emissions: 98 g/km
Warranty: Three years/unlimited mileage