Peugeot interiors: tiny steering wheels for all

Published: 23 June 2015

All Peugeots to get ‘i-Cockpit’ design
Small steering wheel and raised instruments
Layout first seen on 208, will continue to evolve

Peugeot’s unusual combination of an ultra-small steering wheel and raised instrument cluster, first introduced on the 208 supermini in 2012, took a little getting used to for some drivers. But get used to it they shall, because all upcoming Peugeot models are set to feature the layout from now on.

The titchy wheel/high instruments combo, which Peugeot calls ‘i-Cockpit’, is currently a fixture in the 208, its compact crossover 2008 spin-off and the mid-sized 308 family hatch.

‘We are just at the beginning,’ Peugeot project design director Pierre-Paul Mattei told CAR. ‘We are going to go i-Cockpit on all models.’

i-Cockpit: a recap

Based around three components – the petite wheel, raised dials and touchscreen in the centre of the dash, Mattei refers to the i-Cockpit setup as a ‘magic triptych.’ ‘We can manage this triptych in different ways, depending on if it’s a sports car, a sedan, a hatchback and so on. From 208 to 308, for example, the feeling is very different.’

Mattei confirmed that the i-Cockpit design will be adopted by larger Peugeot models. The Quartz SUV concept car displayed at the 2014 Paris motor show carries the most recent evolution of the ‘high cockpit’, with a wider, more rectangular steering wheel and a new, layered polycarbonate design for the instrument cluster for added depth. Think of the colour screen behind the current Audi TT’s wheel in appearance, but with the added impact of 3D.

The design director says Peugeot will continue its current button deletion strategy, grouping controls on the dashboard’s touchscreen and reducing the physical switchgear count to create clean, minimal interior surfaces.

Peugeot i-Cockpit: a tiny steering wheel and raised instruments

‘For both exterior and interior designs, we aim to have more purity. 308 is a really good example – so pure, so modern. This is the way things are heading. Can you imagine your smartphone with buttons now?’

Why is Peugeot pursuing the i-Cockpit concept?

A key part of the philosophy behind the i-Cockpit setup is that the raised instrument cluster places information more directly in the driver’s line of sight, making for reduced refocusing time between the road and the dials.

A smaller steering wheel can help the car feel sportier, especially when combined with a quick rack, and frees up space around it for a larger touchscreen display, or to make the most of the dashboard’s styling. And, of course, it’s a talking point.

Are you a fan of Peugeot’s ‘magic triptych’ dash layout? Let us know in the comments below.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer