Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Most impressive supermini interior on sale
  • Eye-catching tech available from Allure trim
  • 3D i-Cockpit screen is cool but largely cosmetic

The Peugeot 208’s interior is one of the best-looking ones in the sector – featuring loads of tech that is available across a broad spread of trims and neatly integrated as to not stick out like a novelty sore thumb. It’s also neatly laid out and comes with some considered design decisions, such as tucking the smartphone charging pad away behind a door, away from the driver’s eyes.

Everything is centred around Peugeot’s i-Cockpit interior design – featuring a small wheel with plenty of reach and rake adjustment, raised dials and the orientation of all the controls towards the driver.

This was a divisive design when it was first revealed, with some of the Parkers team unable to get in a comfortable position, and others loving the overall effect. The French manufacturer says there are now six million customers enjoying its unique cabin layout, so it must be doing something right.

In the 208 you get a 7.0-inch touchscreen with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus there’s a 10.0-inch version with connected sat-nav as an option. The e-208 gets this as standard. Either way the screen is capacitive like a phone, making it feel very responsive indeed.

Physical buttons to navigate to things like the map or climate control are lined up horizontally in a piano-like format, which is a great effect, with extra touch sensitive buttons for other functions. The latter can get quite wet with condensation from the air conditioning if you run it cold enough, and are quite easy to tap by mistake, however.

Clever i-Cockpit display is eye-catching

You get the 3D i-Cockpit dial screen, which is standard on all but the base level Active trim. This layers up data with critical info like a digital speedometer, tachometer (rev counter) strip and the speed limit projected on a foreground screen, and secondary stuff set further back. It looks super cool.

The colourful display is inviting to look at, but we thought its benefits were mainly cosmetic. The 3D effect is also much stronger when viewed from the passenger seat than the driver, annoyingly.

You can tailor this display however you want it, with an analogue-style pair of dials or a navigation mode that displays directional instructions between a set of rollers for the speedo and rev-counter.

The quality of fit and materials used feels on par with a car of this size – there are a few rough looking panel gaps and cheaper plastics lower down, but all 208s get a padded dashboard and carbon fibre-effect material across the dash and doors. Overall the effect is very good indeed.

Storage includes an underarm box between the front seats, a tray in front of the gear lever, and a lidded box above it, which springs open with a slight prod. All models from Allure up feature a wireless charging pad in here, which is big enough to house a large phone.

Cars with the automatic gearbox feature a smart-looking shifter trimmed with leather, chrome and piano black plastic, which is very stylish indeed. Unfortunately the column-mounted shifters are small and hard to grab when driving quickly, and have a jagged edge running down their length.

Active-trim cars lose the electronic parking brake control and as such also feature a different transmission tunnel with handbrake and two cup holders. It’s not as nice to look at and the plastic feels scratchier. Weirdly though the five-speed ‘box you get as standard has a comfier gearknob, which doesn’t move around as much as the beef burger shaped-item perched atop the six-speed manual.

Comfort

  • Differing ride qualities depending on trim
  • Allure is good, GT Line is quite firm
  • Quiet engines and comfy seats

Ride comfort in the Peugeot 208 is somewhat of a mixed bag. Happily, UK cars get a set-up that works well on our rutted tarmac, but you should still spec your car carefully to maximise comfort.

Cars equipped with the standard chassis feel comfier than the GT Line model with its bigger wheels and sportier set up though. The 75hp Active version rode quite nicely indeed, while the diesel Allure was equally soft but felt less composed on winding roads and broken surfaces, possibly due to its heavier engine.

Top spec cars felt quite nice at speed and over smaller tarmac defects, but quickly became a bit lumpy over bigger bumps. Elsewhere though the 208 is quite refined, with quiet engines putting out little noise while there's a huge amount of seat adjustment in the front.