Peugeot has resisted the urge to tamper much with the appearance of the 208 GTi’s cabin for the 30th. To all intents and purposes, this is a 208 GTi as we currently know it. Which is to say decent enough, despite the showboating shiny plastic and mildly perplexing nature of the layout.
Characterised by the high-mounted touchscreen and now infamous floating dials, the layout is a familiar theme of the French manufacturer’s interior design language, although that has hardly altered the slightly discombobulated feel of sitting behind the wheel for the first time.
Much has been written on the subject of the dashboard, which we won’t repeat here, but suffice it to say that short drivers who prefer to sit low will probably not be able to see the 208’s redline – and in a hot hatch, that seems like a shame. We’re not huge fans of the downsized steering wheel blocking the view, either, and the manual gearbox could do with its unnecessarily long throw being an inch or two shorter.
Getting comfortable isn’t a problem, thanks to the new, figure-hugging Peugeot Sport-branded seats, although the squidginess of the bolsters means they’re hardly vice-like in the support department.
The 30th gets a bit more lacquered black trim, Alcantara, leather, red piping and some very scarlet floor mats – plus a numbered plaque – to mark it out as special, but it’s unlikely that Peugeot’s customers will feel inclined to pay the model’s premium on account of the spec.
That said, there’s enough standard kit thrown in, including a DAB tuner, dual-zone air-con and sat-nav, to make it a convincing enough range-topper – especially given that the satellite navigation system was previously only standard on the GTi Prestige trim level.
Everything functions well enough, even if the map display does resemble a line drawing from an early 1990s flight simulator. The niggles lie deeper and most notably in a general lack of intuitiveness. There is rather too much screen stabbing to be done at a plethora of buttons and boxes — a criticism easily levelled at half a dozen such systems, but not any less bothersome for that fact.
The lack of any real sense of fluid usability is a shame, because it means that the lofty positioning of the screen never seems like much of a virtue. It just feels like you’re continually having to lift your hand up very high to access the feature you want, rather than keeping your eye on the road.