The all-black cabin is cloaked in a rich mix of materials, touches of brushed chrome and plenty of hi-tech equipment. The upmarket textiles cover the door-card inserts, headliner, windscreen pillars and dashboard inlay. There are also powered and heated wing mirrors, and a panoramic roof.
Size-wise, the five-door hatchback (no three-door versions are available) measures 4.05 m long, 1.74 m wide and 1.43 m high. The headroom in the back is somewhat limited due to the sloping roofline. Further back, the boot space provides a capacity of 311 litres with the 60/40 rear seats in the upright position; 1,106 litres when folded flat.
The 208 is equipped with the carmaker’s infamous i-Cockpit layout that comprises four elements: a small steering wheel, head-up display (HUD), high centre console and touchscreen. And it all makes perfect sense, providing an insulated, cocooned feel to the cockpit. More specifically, the HUD information is projected in hologram form close to the driver’s eye-line, promoting quicker reaction times.
The small-diameter steering wheel has been redesigned with two flats to make it easier to grip and provide the driver with improved visibility and legroom. While you can easily see the instrument cluster over the steering wheel – rather than peering through it – it does necessitate a little seat adjustment. It also requires less steering effort when parking and manoeuvring around corners in town.
The reconfigurable 12.3-inch instrument cluster – positioned directly in the driver’s line of sight and above the sports steering wheel – offers five different display modes, controlled from a button on the steering wheel. The read-outs are clear and crisp.
Positioned on the raised centre console is a ten-inch tablet-style touchscreen that is equipped with capacitive technology and angled toward the driver. The touchscreen displays the usual vehicle information – such as trip data and fuel economy – and images from the rearview parking camera.
Beneath the touchscreen is a row of six chrome-plated toggle piano keys to control the radio, HVAC (subsequently using cabin temperature sliders on the touchscreen), sat-nav, vehicle parameters and phone and mobile applications.
On the connectivity front, all versions offer phone mirroring, smartphone recharging pad and 3D navigation.
Voice control is operated via a button on the steering wheel. Voice commands are rather limited but seemed to work well, all things considered. There is no shortage of USB sockets to power up mobile devices (two in the front and two in the back) plus a 12v power socket in the front.
The 208 is available in five trim levels: Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium trim levels. Our canary yellow GT version has eight-colour ambient lighting inside, heated front seats and full LED headlights with Smartbeam Assist. The seating design featured a tri-material Capy leather effect and Isabella cloth seat trim with lime green double stitch detail.
Advanced driver assistance systems
The 208 comes equipped with a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies as standard, including stop and go function, active lane departure warning; driver attention warning; automatic adaptive headlamp main-beam; speed limit sign recognition and recommendation; adaptive cruise control with stop function (automatic gearboxes) and active blind-spot monitoring.
Peugeot states that the 208 and larger 2008 SUV have an average of 31% and 30%, respectively, recycled and natural materials, which amounts to approximately 40 parts. These include the use of natural hemp fibres for dashboard reinforcements and recycled polypropylene on the spoilers (under the floor, under the tank, airbag and front/rear fenders) and in the front/rear bumpers. Both models also incorporate the use of recycled polyamide in the wheel covers and the intake manifold, as well as in the fan-motor assembly.
On the road
On balance, the eye-catching cabin looks fantastic and comes with a generous list of standard equipment, clever safety technology and an intuitive infotainment system. The second screen with a cool 3D effect and slick animations helps this model stand out in a busy marketplace. Rival models include the Renault Clio (probably the closest), Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo.