The Peugeot 208, which is set to be launched next year, will represent a “break from the past” for the brand, Jean-Pierre Ploue, who is the director of design at Peugeot parent PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, told Automotive News Europe in an interview. He added that the 208, and the models after that, "must be homogenous.”
This means that each model must “feed the brand” and be a part of the family. The company is following an ideal that is already used by Opel/Vauxhall and the Volkswagen brand.
The French vehicle manufacturer upholds that by having a more consistent image, Peugeot can enhance its brand to a wider audience, Ploue disclosed. He further stated that the 208 must reach worldwide and must be easily recognized as being distinctly Peugeot everywhere.
Expected to be displayed at the March 2012 Geneva motor show, the 208 is the first Peugeot production model to debut since Ploue was named head of design in 2009.
Prior to this, Ploue was head of design at Citroen since 2000. Peugeot has not yet disclosed the final appearance of the 208, but Ploue mentioned that the SR1 concept that Peugeot unveiled at the 2010 Geneva show reveals the design philosophy that the 208 and other Peugeot models will be based on.
By being fitted with new controls and instruments, the Peugeot 208 is able to have a renewed driving pleasure. For instance, it put the instrument panel in a higher position considering that the steering wheel is rather small. With the addition of the large touch screen in color, it delivers a whole new driving experience. The application of ergonomics ensures that the perception of agility and maneuverability is evident even at low speeds.
These sensations are made possible with electric power steering. The steering system itself can be described as a brushless type and was created taking into account the combination of the weight and balance. Similar to the Peugeot 207, the steering needed to be in line with the brand’s expertise which is being informative and precise while allowing for maneuverability when running at lower speeds.
The Peugeot 208 will also be fitted with the static directional lighting. When running at low speeds of around 25 mph (40 km/h), visibility is important and this lighting optimizes the lateral visibility especially in an urban setting. It is also helpful when driving on winding roads, undergoing parking maneuvers, and at intersections, to name a few. What happens is that one of the two foglamps has its beam lighting the inside of its corresponding turn based on how the direction indicator is pressed and the angle of its steering wheel.
The company revealed that the Peugeot 208 will be fitted with new equipment towards the later part of 2012. Specifically this is the Park Assist function which not makes the daily drive easier but is rare for this B-segment. What the system does is once it identifies a parallel parking space, it then automatically steers the car to this space without any support from the driver. In fact, all the driver needs to do is control the brake pedals and the accelerator.
As a consequence of its design and road-holding, the Peugeot 208 is able to get the highest level of primary safety. Examples include, among others, the standard ESP, speed limiter or cruise control, and the head-up instrument panel. Safety-wise, the Peugeot 208 was designed in such a way that the secondary safety is not only better compared to the Peugeot 207, but it’s actually the best in its class.
It has what is known as a deformable structure with the front part having an aluminum beam-absorber. This also made it possible to lower the overhang’s weight. Since the vehicle’s overall weight was limited, the Peugeot 208 once again gets full advantage of all the safety benefits. For restraining devices, the ones in the Peugeot 208 include two airbags on the front, two side air bags on the front, two curtain air bags, two Isofix locations, and three anchorage points at the back.
Should an impact occur, there are different devices that mitigate the possible consequences like the retention pin which ensures that the center pillar and the door remain connected. There is also the collapsible steering column and active footrest. Tertiary safety is also available for the Peugeot 208, considering that the brand is known for such. Like vehicles in the same class, this system has the Peugeot Connect Assistance and the Peugeot Connect SOS available with no charge and no time limit.
At present, Peugeot Connect SOS is fitted in at least 600,000 Peugeot units across 10 countries in Europe. What this does is to allow the current location of the vehicle to be determined and then send the needed emergency services if an accident occurs. It was launched in 2003 and since that time, it has enabled fast intervention by many emergency services in almost 4,800 emergency situations.