Some may not know it, but we wouldn't have hatchbacks if it weren't for the French. After all, they started the whole thing in the late 1930's, and further popularized it in the 1960's. So it's no surprise then that the French automakers just keep churning them out. In fact, Peugeot has rolled out an all-new hatch.
Peugeot has just pulled the covers off (metaphorically speaking) the second-generation 208, one of the most important cars they make today. The all-new Peugeot 208 is also a significant car from the brand now as it is one of the first all-new platforms to come out of the recent Peugeot-Opel merger, meaning the 208 will also form the basis of Opel's small hatch, the Corsa. Like before, the 208 competes against the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo in Europe, and the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris elsewhere.
For its second iteration, the 208 blends past and present styling cues. Readers of a certain age will point out the 208 badge on top of the grill, an homage to Peugeot's first hatchback, the 104. Meanwhile, the rear door shape and the C-pillar are reminiscent of the Peugeot 205, a car credited for the company's turnaround in the 1980's. As for most of the car, it's pure modern Peugeot.
The redesigned Peugeot 208 takes styling cues from its much bigger sibling, the 508. It has upswept headlights and an LED strip that 'slashes' though the corners of the bumper. A big, bold grill takes center stage and the recessed Peugeot lion is yet another ode to the past. Its side profile on the other hand is more rakish than before. The small, high-mounted tail lights remind us of the 206, although modernized for this day and age with a black trim piece like the 3008 and 508.
Inside, it's an evolution of Peugeot's i-Cockpit design with its high-set instrument cluster and low steering wheel placement. The trendy 'floating' infotainment screen also makes an appearance here as well. The dash itself is of interest, with the top half being flat and the rest of it having a 'waterfall' design. It now gets an electronic parking brake, as well as an electro-mechanical automatic gear selector.
As for engines, the 208 has turbocharged gas, turbodiesel, and all-electric options. The boosted 1.2-liter, three cylinder mill has three states of tune, starting with 75 PS, followed by a 100 PS version, and topped out by a 130 PS model. The lone turbo-diesel option meanwhile has 100 PS.
As for the electric-powered version, that's called the e-208. It makes 100 kilowatts (or 136 PS) and 260 Nm of torque. In real-world testing, a single charge can bring you up to 340 kilometers, and even up to 450 kilometers should conditions be permitting. A full charge takes a little over five hours on a standard although a fast charger can bring it up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.