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New Peugeot 208 - putting on the style for summer launch By Brian Foley

Irish sales of the all new Peugeot 208 start on June 30th. The 3 and 5-door hatchbacks are a real style statement, modern and youthful in compact size models that will undoubtedly have widespread appeal., The 208 is the latest in a long line of successful Peugeot superminis, from the iconic 205, 206 and the European best-selling 207. With the 208, Peugeot aim to reclaim leadership of the competitive small car in Europe next year which is quite an ambitious target in lieu of the fierce competition in this sector of the market.

The 208 features the latest Peugeot distinctive style from the larger Peugeot 508 and facelift 308. Sporting a floating grille, newly sculptured lights and boomerang rear lamps, the 208 certainly stands out in the crowd.

Smaller on the outside than the 207 (7cm shorter and 1cm lower), 208 offers more room inside for rear passengers (+5cm at the knees) and a more generous boot (+15dm3 in volume). It weighs on average 110kg less than 207, leading to lower CO2 emissions and lower fuel consumption.

The interior has a new style elevated instrument panel positioned directly in front of the driver which gives information at a glance whilst a small steering wheel adds to the driving enjoyment.

Available in both 3-door and 5-door hatchback and with a choice of three trims, Access, Active and Allure, all 208 models will come equipped with ESP and six airbags. 80% of sales are expected to be Active level two models.

The 208 engine range for Ireland will include a 1.0 litre 68bhp petrol model (99g/CO2), a 1.2 litre 82bhp petrol model (104g/CO2), a 1.4 litre 68bhp HDi diesel model (98g/CO2) and a 1.4 litre 68bhp eHDi diesel model (87g/CO2) with Stop Start technology. 65% of sales are expected to be petrol models. Achieving average CO2 emissions of 34g/km lower than the 207, the 208 will take the lead in its segment for lowest CO2 emissions.

Peugeot has entered a new era in terms of eco-design with the 208 as 25% of the materials used to construct the new car are sourced from recycled materials. A world first, the 208's rear bumper and its fan assembly is made using recycled materials, permitting a saving in manufacturing of 1600 tonnes of fuel a year.

Des Cannon, Peugeot Sales and Marketing Director said, "The 208 was unveiled as a World Premier at the Geneva Motor Show in March and has since drawn much interest from eagerly awaiting customers. We aim to register 300 units from July to December of this year and have a target of 1200 units in 2013, the first full year of sales. Peugeot's new 208 will indeed boost our market share to over 4% next year."

Prices and standard specification will be announced closer to the launch.

Driving on a mixture of motorway and mountain roads in Portugal proved most enjoyable, the handling, roadholding and braking inspired great driving confidence in a recent test run. Just as impressive is the interior space and comfort. The 1.4 litre diesel scores on fuel economy, but the new 3-cylinder 1.0 litre petrol could well be the most popular choice as it has lots of get up and go plus excellent economy for everyday motoring.

Nice one, Mns. Peugeot!