Peugeot becomes the latest automaker to put the spotlights on a cabin without a hint of car around it, something we've seen from both Volvo and Audi in recent months. Its next-generation i-Cockpit debuts not behind the glass of a radical concept car, like the Fractal, but standing on its own, a sculpture of near-future interior design. The new interior builds upon the design and technologies of the original i-Cockpit, previewing the future behind the wheel of Peugeot's production vehicles.
Peugeot might give it a fancy name, with a registered trademark and everything, but what we're talking about is really a driver-centric cabin with some of the latest digital technology – in other words, what virtually every automaker is doing to one extent or another. Introduced to market in 2012, and included on the current 208, 308 and 2008, the i-Cockpit features a smaller steering wheel for quick, precise response, a "head-up" instrument panel to keep the driver's eyes focused on the road ahead, and a touchscreen with interior controls.
Peugeot sticks to evolutionary updates with its new i-Cockpit, so there's nothing wild like the tactile bass seating shown on the Fractal concept. That's not to say that it hasn't done some impressive updating, as the new i-Cockpit is definitely a sleeker, more futuristic design, but it's essentially redoubled its original efforts of creating a smaller steering wheel, enhanced, intuitively positioned instrument panel and touchscreen controls.
The steering wheel gets even slimmer, clearing up more of the driver's field of vision and legroom. The "head-up" instrument cluster has dropped the analogue gauges and gone full-blown digital with a customizable 12.3-in high-resolution display. The new 8-in touchscreen has jumped up to a more prominent position atop the dashboard where it offers improved responsiveness. The new cockpit supports 3D navigation, voice command, MirrorLink, Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The new i-Cockpit looks considerably cleaner thanks to its hovering equipment and block-like dashboard and center console. A divider next to the new ergonomic shifter gives the interior a touch of driver bias, cutting the passenger off from the main controls. Though there are no exotic materials like basalt and black ebony wood, the layout is clearly inspired by the interiors of the Fractal, QUARTZ and EXALT.
Chrome toggle switches, body-hugging seats and gray fabric complement the new technologies. While the seating won't bump with the bass, the new i-Cockpit maintains a focus on the full "sensory experience," combining multipoint massage seats, selectable "chromatic experience" lighting, music and acoustic tuning and a fragrance diffuser.
All in all, it's an inviting interior that we wouldn't mind stepping inside and taking the (small) wheel of.
Peugeot will introduce the new i-Cockpit to its lineup in the future, and the new 3008 due to be introduced this year is expected to be the first to feature it. You can take a tour in the video below and in the photo gallery, where we've included a few shots of the current i-Cockpit for comparison.