Time to (reluctantly) put my sensible hat on. The last couple of months’ updates have focused strongly on what the Peugeot is like to drive, but this month we’re investigating the more mundane, but arguably more important, topic of interior accommodation.
After all, unless you happen to moonlight as a Hollywood stunt double, all of your time travelling by car is going to be spent inside it. And the vast majority of that will take place in traffic jams, driving to the shops, picking the kids/partner up – y’know, boring everyday life stuff.
How does Pug stand up? Good. And bad. Let me explain. In general the Peugeot 208 GTi interior is a nice place to be. Premium touches like the way the plastic blends from black to red, the leather padding on the dash and the contrasting red stitching give it some flair and lift it above the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI. There’s definitely evidence of its cheap-car origins – the dashtop and top of the doors are made from hard, scratchy plastic – but Peugeot’s made an effort with the stuff you interact with everyday.
The big touchscreen is welcome, though not particularly intuitive – things like switching to Bluetooth audio tend to happen by happy accident. Or maybe I just need to read the manual.
Possibly the most controversial aspect of the 208 GTi, though, is its driving position. The seat is quite high and to properly see the dials you need to have the wheel almost in your lap – it’s all very French. I can see why Peugeot did it. In its base form, Peugeot’s 208 is primarily a city car and the raised perch aids vision when dealing with traffic.
Trouble is, in a performance context you want to be as low as possible in the car, and it’s this lack of connection, rather than the unusual driving position itself, that for me is the bigger problem.
Pug goes home soon, which means in our installment it’s time to say goodbye.
For some unknown reason, the 208 allows you to adjust the cabin temperature in half-degree increments until 24°C, above which it only permits whole-degree increments.
High driving position forces the wheel into your lap in order to clearly see the gauges. It’s not as bad as some make it out to be – you get used to it – but it feels slightly odd in a car with such sporty aspirations.
Pedal layout is a bit all over the shop, though in practice it isn’t as bad as it looks thanks to a fairly soft brake pedal. They are incredibly slippery with wet soles, though.
An alloy gearknob probably sounded like a great idea in a marketing meeting, but should it be a particularly cold or hot day it renders changing gear impossible without hand protection.
Click here to read our full review on the Peugeot 208 range
This article was originally published in MOTOR January 2015.