Wow. There’s some stuff we need to talk about here, because the cabin i-cockpit of the 2017 Peugeot 308 Active is polarising.
Straight off the bat, you’ll either love the Peugeot‘s pint-sized steering wheel or you’ll loathe it. You’ll either be happy to sit that teensy-weensy wheel a bit lower in your lap than you usually would in a ‘normal’ car, or you’ll gripe and moan that you can’t see the speedo because you’ve got it positioned higher than it’s intended to be.
If you fall into the latter category, you’re doing it wrong. That’s Peugeot’s argument, anyway. They say they’ve made this cockpit with ergonomics in mind, and that it is possible for any driver to find a spot where they can sit comfortably, steer with confidence and see the speedo without issue. That’s the whole reason the digital speed readout is on top of the dashboard.
I’m going to put this out there, straight off the bat: I love the layout of the Peugeot i-cockpit. I love the Playstation-sized steering wheel, the extensive manual adjustment of the seat, the crisp digital speedo display. I even like the fact the tachometer needle spins the wrong way (or, more correctly, the opposite way to what we’re used to!).
But, by the same token, I can see why it would annoy you if you’re set in your ways.
Anyway, the cabin is a bit dour in its presentation: the plastics up high on the dash and front door tops are of a high standard (soft-touch), but the lower plastics are hard and a bit cheaper to the touch, lacking the premium-ness that perhaps the brand is aspiring towards.
As we mentioned in update two, the media system is the main focal point of the cabin, and as a result it feels a bit bare-bones down below. And why there isn’t more storage below that screen, we’ll never know – but the 308 could certainly do with some improvements to its loose item stowage, with the small caddy that sits in front of the shifter offering inadequate space for a modern-day, supersized smartphone.
There’s a small covered centre bin between the seats that can fit a pair of sunnies or a wallet and smartphone, but it’s not that deep. And the fact there’s just one cup-holder in the entire cabin is ridiculous: a trip to your local ultra affordable car parts store could be on the cards for some of those silly vent-mounted cup-holders.
The door pockets don’t have moulded bottle-holders as many of the 308’s rivals do, and while the pockets themselves are quite large, your bottle of fizzy will soon be sliding back and forth in the bends. It’s the same situation for the back doors, too, but there are dual map pockets that you could slot a bottle into instead.
The rear seat space lacks air vents, and as we’ve found during our summer stint with the Pug, that can be a bit annoying if you’re a passenger back there. Little ones might not like the lack of vents, either, though there are dual ISOFIX child-seat points and three top-tether jobs, too.
The rear seat comfort is fine, and space is adequate for a six-footer – with the driver’s chair in my driving position, I can fit in behind the front seat with enough head, leg and toe-room to be comfortable for a couple of hours. That’s only if there are two occupants in the back, though: three could be too much of a squeeze.
One of the Peugeot 308’s strongest points is its boot space, which is huge at 425 litres – that makes it 117L larger than a Mazda 3 hatch, and 45L bigger than a Volkswagen Golf. It has a deep floor and a good-sized aperture, too. There are flip-down seats (60:40) that increase the space to 1274L when they’re dropped, but the load area isn’t flat – there’s a lip of about five centimetres that you’ll need to negotiate if you’re loading long items in.
The Peugeot 308 Active may not possess the best cabin in the small car class, but you can’t argue that it is distinctive, and it’s also pretty practical considering this is, dimensionally, one of the smallest hatchbacks in the class.