This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Peugeot 208 Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Touchscreen is good idea, but execution isn’t great
  • Unusual driving position could be deal-breaker
  • Some of the GTi’s cabin mods are over-the-top

What a refreshingly simple-looking the Peugeot 208 has. The minimalist approach is dominated by a central touchscreen, standard on all 208s from 2015, from where the driver controls the multimedia package, sat-nav and a variety of other controls.

It should be a paragon of simplicity and logic but unfortunately the execution wasn’t as successful, especially in earlier models. It’s not uncommon to be required to prod the screen’s virtual buttons repeatedly in order for it to perform the desired functions.

Elsewhere, the majority of surfaces feel of good quality, with harder plastics tending to make an appearance in places where your fingers are likely to come into contact with them less frequently.

Much of the physical switchgear works well, with the dual-zone climate controls looking especially classy for the supermini sector.

The biggest change of approach is the smaller-than-normal steering wheel, which is set lower-down than usual, with the instrument binnacle set near the base of the windscreen. To see the dials you have to look over the wheel, not through it.

Interior changes for the 208 GTi

You sit 10mm lower in the GTi versus a regular Peugeot 208 amplifying the wheel-to-instrument ratio. Even more so here, some may find the bottom of the instruments obscured by the top of the wheel if they can’t get on with the tweaked driving positon.

That aside, it’s easy to get comfortable in the 208 GTi, the seats offering all of the adjustment and support you would expect. But despite the refreshingly simple and intuitively controlled touchscreen infotainment system the GTi’s cabin is a busy place to be, and the extra flashes of chrome and metal-look plastic are unnecessary.

While the leather-faced dashboard is a more welcome addition, it’s a shame the accountants won the battle on the decision to leave the door tops in plain plastic, which feels considerably lower rent.

  • Suppleness to the 208’s ride quality
  • But damping set-up can make it bouncy
  • GTi versions have a fine compromise

On less-than-smooth motorways and poorly-surfaced roads the Peugeot 208 feels unsettled and the ride can get rather bouncy, to the detriment of comfort.

There remains a degree of pliancy, and there’s little sharpness felt by passengers, but the damping seems to take a while to restore the 208’s equilibrium.

Given this, it’s pleasing that the seats themselves are comfortable, with plenty of lateral to support to hem you in when cornering briskly.

The driving position feels a little lofty and pedals are offset to the right, which might take a bit of getting used to, let alone having the wheel set lower than you might in almost every other supermini.

Wind, road and engine noise has been well silenced but the lower-powered petrols and the diesels do get a little vocal, particularly when you are pulling away or on start-up.

Comfort isn’t sacrified on 208 GTi

Hot hatches aren’t always known for their ride quality and long-legged ability, many being set up to excite and engage on track rather than rutted real-world roads, but the Peugeot 208 GTi is different. During the product briefng the firm’s engineers were keen to stress it is optimised for the road, not the circuit, and despite the stiffer suspension, Peugeot 208 GTi comfort levels are exemplary compared with its peers.

Across broken surfaces the 208 GTi soaks up the imperfections without fuss, the fluid and measured responses of its dampers making for a particularly comfortable ride. Even harsh ridges fail to send anything more than a murmur into a cabin that remains remarkably free of the expected bangs and crashes for a car of this type.