Down the years there have been many generational vehicles – vehicles which have transcended accepted norms, perceived class parameters and their producers’ expectations – by turning into a part of our each day panorama.
Such icons – the Mini (the unique one), the Golf (all of them) and, say, the Mannequin T Ford – introduced motoring to tens of millions of individuals no matter their social standing and every, in their very own particular person method, revolutionised the way in which we customers thought of vehicles and the way we use them.
Positive you possibly can throw in all kinds of unique stuff into this combine – the Ferrari 250 GTO, the Jaguar E-Sort, the Bugatti Veyron, the Porsche 911 and even the rather more humble Mazda MX-5 – but it surely was the likes of the Mannequin T, the Mini and the Golf that revolutionised motoring for the lots. And, credit score to Volkswagen, they’d two of them because the Beetle was the precursor of the Golf and it wasn’t precisely shoddy on the recognition entrance.
Now I’m not saying this week’s tester, the implausible new Peugeot 208, goes to comply with any of the above into the pantheon of the greats, however of its time – which is correct now – the 208 is a beacon of sunshine in an automotive world which is entranced extra by shade and shadow than it’s of creativity, contemporary pondering and innovation.
An modern gem within the period of the photocopy
We dwell within the period of the photocopy; our vehicles as of late are designed by default to be the very best replica of different folks’s good concepts, with a bit of little bit of stylistic trickery thrown in to make the facsimile appear totally different. Duplication and deception are the order of the day.
In a mass-market world – or it least it was till just a few weeks in the past once we have been consumed by a virus that may have many, many large implications for our lives going ahead – it may be subsequent to not possible to inform one product from one other.
How many people can readily establish a model of tv just by an unbranded one; or a washer; or, unhappy to say, a automotive. I’m certain there are TV and washer columnists on the market who may readily establish a Sweet from a Hotpoint or a Panasonic from a Samsung and good for them.
Numerous non-motoring fanatics couldn’t inform a Hyundai from a Ford (and never simply because the South Korean model is especially good at borrowing styling cues from nearly everybody else within the enterprise), in order that’s my job.
However I’ve to say that in these copy-cat days it might probably usually be exhausting for non-experts to distinguish one from one other.
Duplication has turn into an accepted norm – and never simply within the motor trade. Originality is the exhausting half. The identical applies to songwriting, a truth I used to be reappraised of within the wake of the unhappy demise on account of Covid-19 final week of Adam Schlesinger, the inventive powerhouse behind The Fountains of Wayne and so many different musical ventures.
Schlesinger maintained that his writing was honed by sticking to the imperatives of the craft.
So too with making vehicles – and the Peugeot 208 is a really pertinent living proof. The supermini section, wherein this can be a dazzling new addition – has been with us since Jehovah was a lad and just about each variation of the style has been tried, mulched round, biffed about and innovated upon.
If you see a brand new one you’re hardly ever greatly surprised. Invariably you possibly can throw epithets such ‘gosh, that’s good,’ or ‘my, my look what they did to the entrance of that one,’ however invariably the sameness of the product is its excellent advantage. Not right here.
Positive the Peugeot follows the principles – largely.
The overall dimensions are in line with conference; engine sizes and outputs are fairly regular; trip and dealing with parameters are inside accepted decrees. However when the brand new 208 hooves into view for the very first time, there’s a particular sense of one thing new and, effectively, totally different.
In fact the supermini class is stuffed full of fine stuff proper now what such the perennial class leaders just like the Fiesta and Polo, in addition to upstarts just like the SEAT Ibiza and common midfielders such because the Yaris, Micra, i20, Rio, Mazda2 and the brand new Opel Corsa (which is said to the 208).
And then you definitely’ve received one thing just like the Renault Clio, a latest recipient of a uncommon five-star ranking right here at Examiner Motoring, which for the primary time in yonks truly lived as much as Renault’s claims about it.
Though very related in look to the earlier Clio, the brand new one stands out as a result of it has been invested with a driving dynamism hardly ever seen outdoors of the Fiesta or Polo. It’s additionally bursting with tech.
Historically, the 208 (beforehand the 205, 206, 207 and many others.) has been a stable midfielder.
Not anymore. Buoyed by the successes of such because the 3008, the 5008 and the 508, Peugeot is on a roll and the assured look, gorgeous strains, tech overload and basic ‘voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir’ vibe of the 208 illustrate this clearly.
If the outside appears to be like are sizzling, then the inside is mind-boggling; certain there are smoke and mirrors occurring, however from the concave swathe of fake carbon fibre which characterises the dashboard, to the 3D instrumentation, the ‘piano key’ switchgear and the by now eponymous i-cockpit, this automotive stretches effectively past what is required in a supermini – not to mention anticipated.
Modern, flash and really user-friendly, the 208 raises the bar like few others within the class have managed in eons. The 3D structure is neat, participating and informative. Positive it’s a little compromised by the tiny steering wheel, which must be lowered to its lowest setting simply to see all of the 3D trickery, however it’s nonetheless contemporary and simple to adapt to.
Efficiency too is spectacular. The ability plant is a 1.2 litre three-pot petrol engine with 100 bhp (there are literally three variants of this – one much less highly effective, one moreso) and a six-speed ‘field.
High pace is 190 kph and the 0-100 kph sprint is completed in 9.9 seconds. It’ll return 5.three l/100 km (52.eight mpg) and emits 126 g/km for an annual tax invoice of €180.
On the highway it’s a sprightly performer and whereas the trip is a bit of non-gallic in that it’s on the stiffer finish of the size than you may think for a French automotive, the dealing with is definitely redolent of the unique 205 in that it’s sure-footed and sure always and spirited while you ask it to be.
Positive you possibly can decide holes in sure components of the automotive’s character – restricted rear legroom and a tad plasticky beneath the eye-line – however has a lot going for it within the appears to be like, sophistication and engineering departments, it is without doubt one of the greatest vehicles Peugeot has made on this class in years.
I’d not fairly go so far as to say this is without doubt one of the ‘generational’ vehicles talked about on the outset, however in supermini phrases it is vitally near being revolutionary and extra thrilling to drive and dwell with than most. That being so, it joins the five-star brigade.
The Value: From €18,300 – €23,595 in GT-Line trim as examined.
The Engine: Wonderful three-pot petrol.
The Specification: Fairly sizzling.
The Total Verdict: A game-changer for Peugeot.
Star Ranking: *****