Despite a fresh face, name and engine line-up, the 208 is not quite as new as Peugeot would have us believe. Beneath the styling garnish resides the same PF1 platform that underpinned the 207 – hence the shared 2538mm wheelbase and the familiar MacPherson strut front and rear torsion beam suspension layout.

Nevertheless, Peugeot insists that much time and effort has been spent on improving ‘architectural performance’ and its stated goal of producing a car smaller on the outside yet larger on the inside than its predecessor should be the aim of every supermini maker.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Leaner materials make the 208 considerably lighter than the 207

The most significant benefactor of the development process is the 208’s kerb weight, which, with the same, now discontinued, 1.4 HDi engine as the 207, is now said to weigh 110kg less.

Peugeot claims the entry-level model, with the three-cylinder petrol engine, clocks in at just 975kg. Our scales recorded a more substantial 1080kg, but if you consider that the 1.4 Sport we tested in 2006 was just shy of 1150kg, it’s clear that some progress has been made.

Much of it can be attributed to the use of leaner materials, including high-strength steel panels and aluminium components, but the all-new three-pot engine alone is 21kg lighter than the four-cylinder unit it replaces.

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The 67bhp and 81bhp versions form the bedrock on which the rest of the carried-over range sits. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, it provides the 208 with a sub-100g/km starting point.

The car around it has shrunk (marginally) into its rehashed silhouette. The Peugeot 207’s bloated front overhang has been reduced by 60mm and the rear tucks in by another 10mm.

In spite of the reduction in length, Peugeot says it has freed up an extra 50mm of legroom for rear passengers by optimising the design and installing slimmer seat backs. 

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