If you’re familiar with the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1, you’ll know about the Peugeot 108, too. All three of these cars have been developed as part of a partnership between PSA and Toyota so they all share the same platform and most powertrains.
Sharing parts in this way has allowed the firms to make the cars particularly cheap, so even spending about £11,000 on a car will get you things like air-con, keyless go, a reversing camera, a seven-inch touchscreen and a leather steering wheel.
Is it the best city car we can think of? Not quite. We still rate the Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10 for their superior refinement and general grown-up feeling but the 108 is certainly a great contender. As for the Toyota-Citroen-Peugeot choice, there’s really not much in it. Go for whichever one you like the look of most.
Our choice: 108 PureTech 1.2 VTi Allure
As with the 107 it replaces, the 108 is built alongside the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1. They all share the same platform, powertrains and underpinnings, although Peugeot has managed to give its version a unique style. Designed to look more upmarket, its ‘floating’ chrome grille and narrow headlights replicate the look of the newest products in Peugeot’s line-up, while the external boot hinges of the 107 are now hidden by a spoiler.
There’s even a set of claw print lights at the back as well, and if you want to add a bit of individuality and character to the looks, Peugeot is offering two-tone paint schemes and a host of funky sticker packs.
The cabin is smarter than the 107’s as well. The build quality and design aren’t up there with the Skoda Citigo’s, but there’s been a definite improvement. Some models have porcelain coloured dash inserts, and while there are a few hard plastics, fit and finish is better than in another rival, the MG3. The switchgear feels robust and the dash is easy to get on with.
The architecture underneath is carried over from the outgoing 107, but the 108’s cabin is centred around a seven-inch colour touchscreen, which provides a youthful, hi-tech feel. With USB, aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity for audio and phone, it’s a well sorted interface, and you also get a DAB radio and a multifunction leather wheel. It also has a Mirror Link function for use with Android smartphones. As with the exterior, you can personalise the cabin, too, with dash decals.
If you’re going to be doing mainly town driving then we’d say the 1.0-litre engine is probably all you’ll ever need. If, however, you plan on doing a lot of driving at higher speeds and on motorways, you’ll want the 1.2. Here’s a quick explanation of why: the small unit takes 29.8 seconds to get from 50-70mph in top gear, while the larger engine takes 15.9 seconds.
Both engines sound pretty much the same and both are roughly as fuel efficient as each other so it really is down to what kind of power you need. It’s worth remembering, though, that the engine you get is dependent on trim level. Higher specs get the big engine and lower specs get the smaller one.
The old 107 was a rugged, easy-to-drive city car, but refinement and fun left a lot to be desired. Since the 108 shares the same basic chassis as its predecessor, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just got a pretty new body.However, refinement at speed has been improved, with road and wind noise better isolated than before, although you’ll still notice a distinct hum and some resonance from the engine.
Around town the 108’s tight turning circle, compact dimensions and light controls make driving a breeze, but venture on to more challenging roads and you’ll start to notice the Peugeot’s limitations. In fairness, there’s more than enough grip, and the handling is composed enough to be reassuring.
It’s just that the 108 lacks the sparkle to make it fun. Push on and you’ll notice that the body leans more than its rivals, while the steering is numb and lacking in feedback.
Certain models feature a height-adjustable driver’s seat, but the driving position isn’t as comfortable as the VW up!’s. It feels cramped and confined, while the gearshift is notchy.
Peugeot is marketing this car as new, but many of its components are carried over from the 107. As before, the Peugeot is built at PSA/Toyota’s efficient plant in the Czech Republic. While it’s built to a price, most of the parts are robust, reliable and well proven.
The 1.0-litre engine, in particular, has been used in Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota city cars for years, and we’ve heard of very few problems from owners of the old model. It was ranked above 80 per cent in our Driver Power 2014 satisfaction survey.
One area customers will be looking for an improvement in is the Euro NCAP crash test rating. The 107 scored three stars and the 108 hasn’t been tested yet. We’ll have to wait to see what the result is, but it does come with six airbags, stability control and LED running lights.
The 108 will carry four adults at a pinch, but it could do with more rear legroom. Do without the optional spare wheel and you get a 196-litre boot (this drops to 180 litres with the space saver) – either way, it's nowhere near the best in class.
The 108 has a fabric luggage cover that stays with the tailgate when it’s open, while 50:50 split folding is standard on all but the entry-level Access version. Plus, Peugeot has managed to lower the lip by 20mm compared with the old car so it’s a bit easier to load and unload heavy items.
Inside, the Peugeot now has a glovebox with a lid, but it, and the door pockets, are smaller than those in the Skoda. The front seats have a handy memory function that ensures they return to the same position after being tilted forward for people to get into the back.
The Peugeot 108 is available with two basic engines: a 1.0-litre and a 1.2-litre. The smaller unit is also available in a more fuel-efficient version badged e-VTi rather than just VTi. This particular engine is the cleanest in the range, boasting CO2 emissions of 88g/km and fuel economy of 74.3mpg.
The standard 1.0-litre isn’t that far behind, emitting 95g/km with the five-speed manual and 99g/km with the automatic gearbox. If you want the more powerful 1.2-litre unit – which has 82bhp to the 1.0-litre’s 68bhp – then you’ll get 99g/km and 65.7mpg. Still not bad, by any means.
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