Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • The 2008’s best feature
  • New version of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit
  • Large screens and 3D dials impress

Peugeot's interiors have improved hugely with the most recent models, and the 2008 is set to continue this trend. Quality is lifted thanks to more use of soft-feel plastics, while the trim materials include (depending on the model) suede-like Alcantara or Nappa leather, and 508-like carbonfibre-style trim elsewhere. Very modern. Very Peugeot.

The good news is even the less-plush trims still come with some interesting fabrics that remain comfortable, so you shouldn’t feel too short-changed lower down the line-up.

Inside the dashboard is adorned with high-quality carbon-effect concave trim, and Peugeot’s i-Cockpit cabin philosophy is evolved. The 2008 actually features the first all-digital i-Cockpit - an upgrade to the 3D spec unit in the 208. This system replaces traditional dials with a laptop-style TFT screen, giving the driver a choice of displays. It's a system that's already proved popular in larger Peugeots, and its arrival in the 2008 will bring this technology to more drivers. The main instruments are in a cluster above the small steering wheel, and work in tandem with the large (up-to 10-inch) central touchscreen.

It's a development over the existing i-Cockpit, which introduces more animation, and displays information more prominently depending on its importance. Peugeot says that this system improves driver reaction times by up to half a second.

There are six different displays, cycling through point-of-view navigation to digital dials to driver aids, for example. The key USP is to bring crucial info into the binnacle’s foreground and relegate lesser details to the back. For example, speed information looks closer to the driver, while sat-nav directions and remaining fuel levels are situated a little further back.

It also means a dinky steering wheel you have to drop into your lap so as not to obscure the digital 3D instrument binnacle (from the Allure trim level up). Thankfully you can adjust the driver’s seat through a pronounced arc and move the wheel in-and-out, to get a decent position.

While some drivers will find no problem, others may find it fiddly and not quite as natural as more traditional interiors. In fact, the steering wheel gives a slight feeling of being in the way of the bottom of the instrument cluster, when in fact it isn’t blocking anything at all.

It gets all the other tech expected from buyers. So it's fully Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. You get four USB sockets to keep passengers happy, and an integrated sat-nav system that's connected and gives real-time traffic updates. The high-quality Focal audio system also has 10 speakers and up to 515 Watts of power.

How comfortable is the 2008?

  • Comfort depends on i-Cockpit setup
  • Few complaints about the seats
  • Ride is okay, but spec-sensitive

Interior comfort is impressive. If the i-Cockpit setup works for you, then there’s plenty of adjustment. The seats on most models are comfortable and supportive without feeling like you’re being squeezed in too much, although those on GT Line cars feature an annoying leather panel down the middle that you can feel a lot of the time.

Thankfully, the seat base is deep to support your legs, making longer journeys more comfortable. The raised centre console also means the gearlever falls nicely to hand, and the armrest feels naturally positioned so you don’t have to lean too much.

The ride feels taut, with bodyroll kept in check during cornering and a chassis that hugs the road. Body control is good, recovering its composure rapidly after a sharp deflection – it’s certainly more controlled than the similar DS 3 Crossback.

We tried cars with both 17- and 18-inch wheels, and there’s a noticeable difference in ride quality. The bigger diameter rims amplify every crest and dip in the road, and bumpy sections can be quite jarring as your hips shake and head tosses. Accelerating over sharp ridges can cause the front wheels to skip rather than remaining glued into the surface as well, lending a more fidgety feel.

This is also true of the 17-inch wheels, but less often. The ride remains tight but that underlying jagged edge melts away, leaving a setup that keen drivers will appreciate. 

It's generally very civilised in terms of interior noise. The Michelin Primacy 4s, a bespoke blend for this Peugeot designed to suppress rolling resistance but prioritise wet braking, generate little road noise.

Expansion joint thumps sound so muted they appear to be coming from other cars, and the three-cylinder petrol engine’s charismatic fluttering is equally down in the mix. Only some wind whistle around the chunky side mirrors penetrates the 2008’s air of mature sophistication.