Peugeot 208

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Shortly after Ford released the second (and last version) of the Ford Orion I found myself sat in front of one perusing its design. Never before had I found it so easy to rip a design apart. There were just so many bits that didn’t sit right in my eyes and looking back at one now they all come flooding back: The cavernous, ill-defined wheel arches; The way the front & rear quarter light plastics don’t fit the window spaces properly; The inexplicably unrelated crease aft of the rear doors that was presumably supposed to make the extended boot look integrated; The ill-thought out area beneath the door mirror where it’s all kinks and lines to try and make it work. You can’t see it properly in the photo here fortunately, but it’s a feature of the Peugeot 208 too so it doesn’t matter too much here.

Whilst on break duty a couple of weeks ago I found myself stood in front of a new Peugeot 208. And so I perused, and found a spiritual successor to the Mk. 2 Ford Orion. First off I must say that I quite like the back end, but unfortunately that made the front/side seem even worse. There are just so many bits to dislike I’ve had to label a photo. Like so:

peugeot208_1 And here’s why I think it’s awful, even by Peugeot standards:

A – The side crease at the bottom of the doors isn’t in itself a problem. I love flame surfacing as a rule, but just as the attractive rear reflects badly on the front, so this crisp line looks out of place on an otherwise bulbous design. Where does it go to at the front? Where does it take the eye? Nowhere. It’s just a tight anomaly in rounded-land.

B – The whole scuttle area is a mess. I presume that the wing bulge which goes from the back edge of the headlight to the door mirror is supposed to hark back to the 206, but it looked awful on that car too. Again it doesn’t seem to go anywhere – it’s just there like a growth – and although it is mirrored to some extent by the bulge through the rear door handles it’s not as well defined and comes and goes with the light. It’s almost as if they couldn’t quite work out what to do there with the surface so they threw the heritage card at it.

C- I don’t have a problem with non-aligned shut & styling lines. I like the back end of the original Ford Focus. But here the kink of the door, parallel shutline/quarterlight lines and totally unrelated A-pillar shutline all placed on top of that wing bulge looks a mess.

D – Where’s that bonnet line going? At a totally different angle to everything else that’s where. I did think that maybe it was put there to create a dog-leg with the shutline labelled F but the headlamp shape scuppers that. Why not bring it along the lines of the car and then up the A-pillar?

E – The headlamp shape. Front corner meets grille, seemingly for the first time and not even as passing acquaintances. Top edge pops up to allow for the DRLs just enough to be noticeable, but not enough to look like they meant it. Back edge is wide enough to have (another) unrelated angle on it. Bottom edge at the shutline is better but, again, obvious enough to show without being a strong feature. I’m not averse to the odd-shaped headlight, but it seem here that Peugeot were looking for ways to avoid the 207-look just for the sake of it.

F – Another odd angle! The headlight kink comes straight down but the shutline goes to the wheel arch at another angle entirely. One or the other surely?

G – That ‘mouth’. They’ve somehow managed to make it look sunken and prominent at the same time, like some bottom-feeding fish. The grille seems to bear little relation, in 3D, to the shape of the hole and even straight-on it looks not quite right – the first time I saw one coming towards me I honestly thought it had been in an accident. And Peugeot…why the badge and the name? The latter just looks superfluous and necessitates a wider gap under the bonnet.

A worthy successor to the Ford Orion then, although I believe the 208 is a better drive. After the lovely Pininfarina-styled 205, 306 & 405 Peugeot went increasingly bulbous with a wide-mouth-frog look dominating. They took that as far as they could and a change of direction is fine, but the 208 above, the drooping and disjointed tail of the 508 saloon and the dreadful detailing at the rear of the 5008 are examples of a look created by a mishmash of the previous organic look and a desire to be more Germanic. Next up it’s the new 308, and whilst it’s not awful like the 208 it is somewhat bland – it could be anything. Peugeot design isn’t anywhere at the moment, and it used to be distinct and attractive.


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