There is plentiful room in the Peugeot 208 for four adults. Indeed, it is comfortably commodious by class standards. Even putting three people in the back works, as long as they’re not too large and demanding.
The front seat is widely adjustable. The boot is fine by class standards, too, and the rear seats split and fold adequately. It is even a relatively interestingly designed cabin. At a cursory glance, all is okay.
The problem is that there are about a dozen superminis whose interiors are ‘okay’. There is nothing inherently wrong with that of a Seat Ibiza or a Fiat Punto, but you wouldn’t find us recommending them on the strength of them (or much else, in their case). And so it goes here.
The 208’s cabin is fine, but if you look deeper you’ll find that it has notable failings, too. The glovebox is pitiful, and if you want to use a cupholder you’ll effectively have to reach behind you.
Other features fall into the ‘good idea, but…’ category. The diddy steering wheel beneath the dials is a novel idea, but set it up for smaller drivers or those who like a low-slung driving position and you’ll remember why every other major manufacturer suggests reading dials through the wheel.
And although the new, ‘floating’ communications, audio and navigation screen on the centre console looks slick, try browsing through radio stations while you’re moving at moderate speed or on a bumpy road and you’ll crave six little preset buttons on the dashboard.
With a little finessing here and there, it all could have been so much better, living up to the promise that its design suggests it will have.
As it is, a Volkswagen Polo’s cabin feels of higher perceived quality. A Honda Jazz’s is considerably more versatile. A Ford Fiesta’s matches it for design and, mostly, material quality, while being easier to work. The 208 is left, in this company, being moderately acceptable.
Choosing a 208 of choice is a tricky affair, as there are four core trims to choose from plus three GTi versions and a further three special edition models. The entry-level Access trim equips the 208 with heated door mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth and remote central locking as standard, while upgrading to Active adds 15in alloy wheels, LED day-running-lights and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and smartphone integration included.
The mid-range Allure models get a bit more chrome, 16in alloys, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers thrown in, while the range-topping GT Line gains 17in alloys, dual-zone climate control, folding door mirrors and red stitching inside.
Want a bit more power from your 208, then Peugeot has three variants of the GTi, all using the same 205bhp, turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine. The standard 208 GTi is adorned with 17in alloys, a rear spoiler, chrome twin exhaust system and leather clad sports seats, while opting for the GTi Prestige adds sat nav, heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof. The final variant sees the Peugeot Sport division tweaking the 208, with it rolling on 18s, with a wider front track, lower suspension, a Torsen differential, specific springs, dampers and wheel alignment set-up compared to the standard GTi, while inside there are Alcantara covered sports seats.
However, if you are pining for something a little bit more exclusive, Peugeot has three limited edition trims to choose from. The Active Design model is based on the standard Active-trimmed 208 and adds front foglights, 16in alloy wheels and numerous exterior detail tweaks, while the Allure Premium is only available on five door models and adds sat nav, a reversing camera and a panoramic sunroof to the package.
The most exclusive model, is one that has a long-standing association with Peugeot - Roland Garros. This trim is only available on five door models and comes with 16in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, rear parking sensors, all round electric windows, cruise control and numerous orange details on the outside. Inside the orange theme continues but is joined by a panoramic sunroof and Peugeot's fully-loaded 7.0in touchscreen infotainment set-up.