Its been a busy 2 years for Peugeot, they have overhauled and updated their model range and the 108 completes the corporate desire to move upmarket.
The 108 replaces the 107, its designed in France and made in the Czech Republic and shares its platform with the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo in that all three use the same chassis, engines, transmissions and electrical components.
Buyers of the 108 are expected to be female aged between 25 and 35 year old, Peugeot expects 108 retail sales to hit 76 percent with 24 percent made up of fleet buyers. The 108 is priced from around £8k for the entry level Active 3-door but this trim level is pretty much devoid of basic creature comforts and a £1,250 boost in spend will add a host of standard features such as manual air/con, DAB Radio, Bluetooth, height adjustable seats and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Indeed the 108 has a huge range of trim levels seven in total, for both 5-door and 3-door versions and includes the Top! which is a semi-convertible variant that features a fabric roll-back roof if you ever need the sun to scorch you cranium.
The 108 is a small car in every sense of the word, visually it looks small but it is actually 40mm longer than the 107 it replaces yet the cabin space remains identical. The exterior is trendy looking, like a die hard Napoli FC supporter. Its also a compact looking thug with some thoughtful visual design details, like a Napoli FC supporter. Its an enormous improvement on the 107, pun not intended.
Peugeot are moving into the premium sector and although visually the 108 looks the part on the inside it doesn’t feel premium in a way that the Mini Hatch does. Much of the interior is constructed from hard plastics, although the white center-dash surround is made from better quality plastics. Conversely it doesn’t feel depressingly cheap as the 107 did, fit and finish is OK and for this price point its pretty much what you would expect.
The 107 was noted for its clever, cost saving construction in order to attain a consumer friendly price point and the 108 carries this over in certain aspects. The exposed metal in the cabin, cost saving. The tinny sounding doors mean the body uses thinner steel, probably 5mm thinner, cost saving. The all in one glass rear boot hatch, looks fantastic but its cheaper to make and fit than a metal door. The use of thinner steel lessens the premium feel Peugeot are after but it has positive effects on performance.
Peugeot are not planning to introduce any diesel engines for the 108, it would be too expensive and doing so would price the 108 out of the competition. What you get is a new range of peppy 3-cylinder normally aspirated engines in 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre power variants. That light steel construction and cost saving interior begins to be felt because less weight means a usable set of engines ideal for sprinting in and out of city or urban jams.
The 108 isn’t so much of a natural motorway cruiser, its noisy for a start the radio is drowned out by wind and tyre noise unless you set it to near maximum levels. The problem with any 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder engine is that they rev to around 3,000 rpm when driving at 70mph on the motorway which isn’t great for fuel economy. Yes the 108 does weigh in at 840kg but I guess you could say 42mpg is good for a petrol (gasoline) powered car. To put it into perspective you can get 40mpg from a V8 powered Lexus LS 600h on a combined run and you get a bigger fuel range.
Interior space isn’t as restricted as you might expect, upfront is snug rather than roomy and the five door version can seat average sized adults although it is a tight squeeze and its a tighter squeeze for the 3-door. And yes the boot space is good for the weekly shop although if you tend to binge on you shopping expedition you will have to lower the rear seats to increase the standard boot capacity from 189-litre too 900-litres.
On the road the 108 is a reasonably good drive, you can throw it into corners and it will grip with tenacity. The front to rear handling balance is just on the neutral side with a slight err to understeer, but it has to be said the ride is what it is. Not comfortable but not intrusively uncomfortable, you get used to it.
Overall the 108 is a huge step up from its 107 predecessor, its better designed and has a range of personalisation options available to consumers. The extras on the Allure test car included “Purple berry” metallic paint at £495 which really does pep up the overall look. The Porcelain Ambiance trim for the interior came in at a £100 cost extra. Low emissions are also attractive and 99 g/km results in tax free driving.
Prices for the 108 start from £8k and range up to £12k for top spec 3 door models, expect to pay on average around £1k extra for 5 door versions and just under an additional £1k for the semi-convertible Top!