document : Heading the efficiency charge

Heading the efficiency charge
information supplied by: Peugeot South Africa 20 May 2013

Heading the efficiency charge
Peugeot South Africa’s new vehicle sales in 2013 continue to sparkle – and the demand for the latest-generation 208 subcompact hatchback is one of the key factors.
One of  the first  new-generation B-segment hatchbacks to reach SA, the 208 – on offer in 1.2 and 1.6-litre variants – has rapidly established a reputation for frugal running costs, strong dynamic traits and tactile quality
Its ongoing and increasing success coincides with growing demand for more compact, more economical cars still providing high levels of sophistication and a satisfying array of standard features. That trend has been a core contributor to the 208’s local and global market acceptance.
Peugeot has always been a strong player in the B-segment, and comparing an older-generation subcompact hatch such as the 206 to the current 208 provides some compelling insights as far as the development of compact car technology and sophistication are concerned.
The 206 made its SA debut in 2000 at a time when Peugeot’s presence locally was still under the stewardship of retail group McCarthy Motors. Engine options included both eight-valve and 16-valve versions of a 1,4-litre petrol engine, as well as a 1,6-litre unit.
The base-model eight-valve engine was credited with 55 kW of maximum power at 5 500 r/min, linked to a 111 Nm torque peak at 2 800 r/min. Combined with front-wheel drive and a five-speed gearbox, the 206 1.4 managed a 13.2 sec time for the 0-100 km/h sprint, and a 173 km/h top speed – admirable figures at the time.
Even back then, fuel consumption was an important statistic, with the 206 1.4 8V achieving a combined-cycle figure of 6.1 litres/100 km – an impressive statistic at the time. CO2 emissions ratings were not considered a factor way back then, though!
Two generations later, the entry-level 208 is powered by a smaller but highly advanced and efficient 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine. Featuring variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder, the high-tech unit achieves a maximum power output of 60 kW at 5 750 r/min, together with a torque peak of 118 Nm at 2 750 r/min.
With its aluminium alloy cylinder block and cylinder head – the latter featuring an integrated exhaust manifold – the new engine is 21 kg lighter than four-cylinder engine with comparable outputs.
Notably in the current context, the new engine is significantly more fuel efficient, with a combined-cycle consumption figure of just 4,5 litres/100 km, dropping to as low as 3,9 litres/100 km during open-road cruising.
Compared to the larger-engined 206, the 208 1.2 VTi is also dynamically superior. It achieves a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 12,2 sec, while top speed is 175 km/h.
Comparing the 206 model’s 1,6-itre engine to the 208’s new-generation powerplant shows similar efficiency and performance games. Back then, the 206’s 1 587 cc unit was credited with 80 kW and 147 Nm. The current 208’s 1 598 cc four-cylinder achieves power and torque outputs of 88 kW and 160 Nm.
Vitally, the 206 power plant had a rated combined-cycle consumption figure of 6,4 litres/100 km, compared to the significantly more frugal 5,8 litres/100 km of the latest 208 1,6-litre engine. The CO2 emissions rating is an equally impressive 134 g/km. And in performance terms, the 0-100 km/h acceleration time has been trimmed from the 206’s 10,6 sec to 9,9 sec for the 208.
The comparison is a compelling illustration of just how much progress has been achieved in the subcompact hatchback context. But the improvements stretch beyond the use of high-tech engines.
The 208’s focus on efficiency extends to the use of lightweight, high-tech materials in body and suspension construction, optimising airflow to achieve improved aerodynamics and enhancing standard active and passive safety features well beyond the levels set by the 206 at the time.
The ever-increasing expectations of a progressively sophisticated and demanding customer base has also seen a substantial upgrade in standard equipment, features and materials. The 208 1.2 Active, for instance, offers features such as a touch-screen display, Bluetooth streaming and telephony, USB connectivity, remote central locking, and multimedia capabilities that were unheard of in this segment only a few years ago.
For all its technology and sophistication, the new Peugeot 208 still has to live up to the expectations of customers as far as value for money is concerned. While full maintenance plans were considered the preserve of premium-segment models, Peugeot SA has been one of the pioneers in bringing the peace of mind and value benefits of included full maintenance to the subcompact segment.
The Peugeot Premium Plan is a five-year full maintenance offering on all new Peugeot models, including the 208, that not only underscores the brand’s commitment to SA owners of its products, but also offers buyers additional value and ownership peace of mind.
A revamped dealer network has played a further, important role in the substantial improvement of customer satisfaction levels, while also attracting new local investment, with the opening of new dealerships in Nelspruit and Cape Town.
“The latest 208 range, including our highly efficient 1.2 VTi models, is not only proof of the constant evolution of technology to the benefit of the customer, but also epitomises the current state of the art in the ultra-competitive B-segment,” says Francis Harnie, managing director of Peugeot South Africa.
“The improved efficiencies, lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions achieved by the 208 not only reduce running costs significantly, but also benefit the environment, which is an increasingly important factor among eco-responsible car buyers.
That we are also able to extend the advantages of our five-year, full-maintenance Premium plan to include our 208 subcompact range ensures a particularly compelling buying proposition,” Harnie concluded.
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