The Peugeot 208 is a French hatchback steeped in history, but it's about to make history again with a new electric variant at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
Peugeot on Monday unveiled its new 208 hatchback before its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. Now available in both traditional and electric forms, the 208 gains more versatility alongside a fresh new look that has us hoping for the 208 as part of Peugeot's plans to reenter the US market. No word on that for the time being, but in the interim, let's see what makes this little guy so intriguing.
The exterior bears a passing similarity to the hatch-on-stilts Audi Q2. The hatchback has a nice curve to it, while a distinct lack of sharp, straight creases adds to the hatch's cute factor. Up front, there's a modestly sized (for 2019) grille, hanging out between large headlights with a long running light that practically scrapes the ground at its bottom terminus. The shapely silhouette doesn't appear to mess up rearward visibility all that much, which is nice.
Inside, Peugeot makes use of interesting layering on the dashboard, with the gauge cluster and infotainment screens mounted nice and high. There's a sort of white-space gap between that and the lower dashboard, which has centrally mounted switchgear, two USB ports and a load of storage space. The shifter packs a wild design that looks like an accessory for a game of Duck Hunt. It's on the modest side, but it still looks futuristic.
The Peugeot e-208 packs an entirely electric powertrain. Its 50-kWh battery is integrated into the floorpan, which maintains cargo space and provides for a sportier center of gravity. The electric motor isn't the most powerful at about 134 horsepower, but that thrift allows for a decent driving range of 211 miles (by Euro-spec WLTP standards). It'll take more than 20 hours to charge the e-208 using a conventional wall outlet, but a dedicated home charger drops that time to about 8 hours. The cabin can be preconditioned using Peugeot's smartphone app, which also handles remote charging duties.
The standard Peugeot 208 has four engines on offer. There are three 1.2-liter inline-3 gas engines available, and one 1.5-liter inline-4 diesel. Transmissions vary depending on the engine, but both manual (five-speed or six-speed) and automatics (eight-speed) are available. It can be loaded with just about every safety system under the sun, including adaptive cruise control, active park assist, autobrake, lane-keep assist and traffic sign recognition. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available through the car's touchscreen, available in both 7-inch and 10-inch variants.
The new Peugeot 208 goes on sale in Europe in late summer. However, eager buyers can shell out for a reservation as early as the end of March. Pricing will likely be announced closer to its on-sale date.