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In-depth reviews

Peugeot 208 review - Interior, design and technology

The smart cabin in the 208 has a pleasant feel, and equipment is generous

The Peugeot 208 manages to stand out from the supermini crowd thanks to its daring styling, featuring crisp lines and neat detailing. The 2015 facelift added LED tail-lights, while up front a revised grille with a squarer, more jutting opening was added, plus there were new alloy wheel designs across the range.

The Peugeot 208 Active gets extra visual appeal courtesy of its bright LED daytime running lights and 15-inch alloy wheels. Inside it gets a touchscreen infotainment system and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

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The three-door Black Edition injects extra style into the 208 with its gloss black exterior highlights and standard 16-inch alloy wheels, but it can only be had in two colours - black or white. 

Peugeot offers a variety of personalisation options on the 208. One highlight is the matt paint option. The textured finish isn’t a wrap; it’s applied on the 208 production line in Poissy, France, just like Peugeot’s standard colours. What’s more, it comes in light or dark grey and costs the same as pearlescent white.

The finish is rough to the touch, especially on the inside of the car, but it’s resilient and should be easier to maintain than a standard gloss paint. However, the colour looks out of place when paired with chrome window trim and door handles – a black finish for these might be more appealing.

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The exterior of the 208 can be upgraded with £150 Lime Yellow or Menthol White personalisation packs, which add a gloss black grille with accents and Peugeot lettering in yellow or white respectively. A similar kit is offered for the cabin for £350 and is slightly more effective. This adds subtle stitching on the seats and wheel, although the stripes on the door grab handles look a bit tacky.

Interior quality is good, but still trails the class-leading VW Polo due to some scratchy plastics lower down the dash. Unfortunately, the 208's cabin layout has not been updated since its 2012 launch, and takes some getting used to. It’s the small steering wheel and high-set dials that are most awkward. The wheel needs to sit very low down for you to see the dials, yet the seat doesn’t adjust far enough to compensate.

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As a result you end up with the wheel in your lap, while the top of the rim can obscure the instrument display. Whether you can live with this compromise on a daily basis is a personal decision. Add in the fiddly touchscreen control system, and the 208’s cabin is trickier to get along with than those of its rivals.

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All 208s come with manual air conditioning as standard. If you can afford it, we’d go for a higher-spec version, which will come with bigger wheels, tinted rear windows and chrome details – as well as a load of extra kit. Park Assist and a reversing camera are available as a combined option at the top of the range. 

The Peugeot 208 GT Line and full-fat GTi models look bold, and come fitted with sporty details such as 17-inch alloy wheels and beefier bumpers. The GTi is the only one that matches that sporty look with racy performance, though.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The entry-level Access model has a decent level of kit as standard, but lacks the mid-range touchscreen infotainment system (which includes USB connectivity, a DAB digital radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity).

The system is clear but the scrolling sub-menus take some getting used to. The animation certainly takes its time, so navigating through the screens isn’t as slick as it is in many rivals.

It's a seven-inch unit perched on the dashboard, and while it's a welcome addition in a small car like this, the screen resolution is low. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard does mean it's a functional thing though. 

The touchscreen can be combined with the optional Peugeot Connect Apps USB key that connects via 3G, allowing you to access apps such as live traffic, parking and POI information. Sat nav is not available at all on Access models, is optional on some models and standard at the top of the range.

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