CAPE TOWN - Peugeot reckons its has a winner on its hands with the new 208 super mini though replacing the rather successful 207 was never going to be easy – its the automaker’s best-selling model to date.Designer Pierre Autier and his team has given the 207 an assured new look, which I reckon is rather attractive – by once again setting itself apart in design from perceived competitors. Peugeot love to do things differently…The all-new 208 consists of three models - Access, Active and Allure - with a choice of 1.2 or 1.6 engine. There's no diesel or GTi version for now thoug the latter could be a game-changer in the hot hatch market when does arrive in the second half of 2013.RESTYLED, REBORNThe new model is smaller than the old. I can never understand why car companies go the route of making a replacement model that’s longer, wider and taller than before. Gladly this isn’t the case with Peugeot’s new range, which is also 175kg lighter and now weighs less than 1000kg. Lighter is always going to be better. Better economy, better handling, better for the planet.Despite the smaller dimensions, the wheelbase is identical to that of that of the 207. By adopting more compact front seat backs and optimising the overall configuration and design of the cabin, significantly more space is now available for the 208’s rear occupants. Factor in 50mm of additional knee room, compared to the 207, which was already among the best in class. The boot has been expanded by 15 litres to 311 litres below the rear shelf, 1152 litres with the rear seats folded.CHARISMATIC FACETo look at the sleek design of this trend-setting new compact hatchback offers benefits commensurate, in terms of aerodynamic performance, with the drag coefficient dropping to 0.29, depending on model. That slippery shape allows the 208 to cut through the air more efficiently, to the obvious benefit of efficiency.The front shows the new design language of the brand with a charismatic face.The entry-level 208 1.2 VTi Access has aircon, alarm/immobiliser system, central locking, power front windows and an audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. On the safety front there’s reassuring dual front airbags.The odd-shaped steering wheel deserves mention. It seems rather small and, when the steering is adjusted for height, I found it rather close to my knees. Maybe it was designed that way in the name of sportiness? Go figure...NEW ENGINEThe all-new engine, a three-cylinder 1199cc unit, has a maximum power output of 60kW at 5750rpm and 118Nm from 750rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. I’m pleased to report this unit runs very well – at sea level, anyway.Roadholding is simply among the best. Peugeot has a knack of setting up its cars to provide optimum comfort and agility. There were some bad potholes along the route, perhaps more than usual.. perhaps a Peugeot show-off ploy? Fuel consumption is rated 4.5 litres/100km or as little as 3.9 litres/100km on the Euro open-road cycle, ensuring a generous driving range from the 50-litre tank in all conditions. The CO2 emissions rating of 104g/km testifies to the environmentally friendly credentials of the engine – and ensures that the triple-cylinder 208 won’t attract heavy CO2 tax penalties.ALLURE FLAGSHIPMoving up to the mid-range model, the 208 1.2 VTi Active has four air bags, 15"alloy rims, a touch-screen multimedia system, power windows all round, power external mirrors, front fog lights and cruise control with a speed limiter. The flagship 208 1.6 VTi Allure gains the upmarket edge with six air bags, 16" alloys, auto headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dual-zone aircon, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, chillable glove box and tinted glassUnder the bonnet is a four-cylinder 1.6 four-cylinder that has proved its spirited character in several Peugeot models and continues to offer a great balance between performance and efficiency.Developing 88kW at 6000rpm and torque peak of 160Nm at 425 rpm, this engine turns a five-speed manual gearbox Fuel consumption is rated at 5.8 litres/100 km in the combined cycle or 4.5/100km on the open road. The associated CO2 figure is rated at 134 g/km.As with its smaller-engined sibling, a low kerb mass of 1090 kg ensures solid overall performance, despite further lavish creature comforts and luxury equipment. The 0-100km/h sprint takes 9.9sec and top speed is 190km/h.PRICES208 1.2 VTi Access - R154 900208 1.2 VTi Active - R169 900208 1.6 VTi Allure - R189 900A five-year or 60 000km Premium Plan and a three-year or 100 000km warranty are inlcuded.