The new Peugeot 108 looks classier than the previous 107, it’s fun to drive, economical, relatively affordable, and in ‘TOP!’ form it even offers open air motoring.
When the previous Peugeot 107 appeared, it was an all-new city car, and its audience was predominantly drivers who were both young and female. It has sold well, but it’s been around for nine years, so an update was due to keep up with rivals.
Like the previous Peugeot 107, this car is a joint venture with Citroen and Toyota. But unlike the previous model, this time the three manufacturers have gone for very different exterior styling approaches. The Peugeot has a front end that conforms with the company’s latest design style. Citroen has opted for the approach of large front headlights with the C1, and Toyota has designed the front of the Aygo around a large ‘X’. The Peugeot looks the most classy of the three, even if in comparison it may be seen as somewhat unadventurous for a car that typically appeals to a younger market.
The Peugeot 108’s interior is all-new, and perhaps predictably the main feature is a 7-inch central touchscreen (on all but the entry-level model). This screen doesn’t have as many features as you find in larger cars, but it’s all about connectivity with smart phones (and features a reversing camera on higher spec models). The rest of the interior is fairly simple, but it looks modern. It has four seats, with space in the rear being as compact as you would expect in a car of this size, and the boot, although generous by class standards, is more suitable for a few bags of shopping than holiday suitcases.
One area that hasn’t changed is the car’s platform – it’s still essentially the same as the last model, except for some stiffening and tweaks to the suspension settings. This is due to the profit margins in city cars being so low that there was no financial case for developing an all-new platform. However the changes do result in improvements to the 108; it feels more grown up and refined.
The Peugeot 108 is small and light (weighing from just 840kg), so as you would expect, it offers a reasonably fun driving experience. It’s designed to be a city car, and it’s certainly easier to pilot through urban areas than the average-sized vehicle. However we also tested it on country roads, where threading it through a series of corners proved to be enjoyable. And yes, it can also manage motorways.
The three-cylinder hum of the previous 107 remains, which, despite more soundproofing in the 108, is usually quite audible (the PR departments of manufacturers offering 3-cylinder cars typically refer to this sound as ‘characterful’).
The five-speed manual gearbox isn’t the slickest shifting of units, but it does seem slightly improved over the ‘box in the previous model, which felt decidedly notchy.
One area for improvement relates to the complete lack of any reach adjustment on the steering wheel. The new car has moved on from the last model in a number of areas, but these areas have obviously been prioritised over the ability for a range of drivers to achieve a comfortable driving position.
There are two three-cylinder petrol engine options. There’s a 1-litre 68bhp engine, with three economy/CO2 figures: 74.3mpg and 88g/km with stop/start; 68.9mpg/95g/km without stop/start; and 67.3mpg and 98g/km with the 5-speed ‘2-Tronic’ gearbox. There’s also an 82bhp 1.2-litre engine which returns 65.7mpg and emits 99g/km.
We weren’t able to test the real-life economy of the Peugeot 108 on the launch event. However it’s a light car, which counts in its favour in the area of real-life mpg, and it has a small engine, which will be economical if driven carefully, but this economy is likely to suffer if trying to keep up with other urban traffic (ie. when driven out of its NEDC comfort zone).
The Peugeot 108 comes as a hatchback, with three or five doors. It also comes as the 108 ‘TOP!’, with a retractable electric fabric roof, as tested, carrying a reasonable £850 premium. There are two three-cylinder petrol engine options; a 1-litre 68bhp engine, with or without stop/start, and also with the option of a 5-speed ‘2-Tronic’ gearbox. There’s also an 82bhp 1.2-litre engine.
Prices start at £8,245 for the entry-level 1.0-litre Access model with three doors. Active spec is £1,250 extra, and you need to go for this spec to get the touchscreen. To get the 15-inch alloy wheels you need to go for the Allure spec, which is a further £1,500. The top of the range Feline gets you leather for an additional £850.
As we’ve now come to expect in this segment, there’s a large range of personalisation options.
The Peugeot 108 is one of only a handful of new cars that are relatively affordable for younger drivers or other car buyers on a budget. Therefore it automatically gets a thumbs up for offering a product in this segment. It also promises to be economical, and to have cheap running costs. And it’s as fun to drive as a small, light car should be.
On the downside, the platform has had no significant improvements – which could have led to even greater refinement – and it’s also disappointing that other areas have been prioritised over reach adjustment for the steering wheel – meaning that many people won’t be able to get a comfortable driving position.