Peugeot 108 review
If you want a stylish small city car with a comfortable ride and lots of kit, the Peugeot 108 is worth a look
The tiny Peugeot 108 offers plenty of big car features for small car cash. Yet it isn’t our favourite choice in the highly competitive city car market. The Skoda Citigo is more refined and the Hyundai i10 provides much more space; both feel more mature and should be better ownership propositions.
Nevertheless, the 108 is still a good contender, especially if you want to inject a sense of style into your motoring, as Peugeot offers a wide range of personalisation options, which will no doubt attract younger buyers.
There is a choice between three-door and five-door models, too, so you can pick between sharp looks and extra practicality if you’re sold on the pint-sized Peugeot.
As with the previous-generation 107, the Peugeot 108 is built as part of a joint venture between the PSA Peugeot-Citroen group and Toyota. The Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo are produced as part of the same project, and if you’ve driven one of those cars before, the 108 will feel familiar.
All three models are built at the same plant in Kolin in the Czech Republic, and share a platform, powertrains and running gear, as well as a single electrical system.
One of the real benefits of this part-sharing exercise is that the three companies have been able to cut costs, which are then passed on to the consumer – so even if you spend only around £11,000 on an urban runarbout, you can have luxuries such as air-conditioning, keyless go, a reversing camera and a seven-inch touchscreen.
The 108 was first revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014, and the range consists of five trim levels: even the base spec Access gets a fair amount of standard kit, including USB connectivity and electric windows. We’d recommend going for the next model up, though. That’s the Active, which comes with air-con, DAB, Bluetooth and that seven-inch touchscreen.
Upgrading to Allure brings a reversing camera, keyless entry and automatic headlights, while the high-spec Feline trim benefits from climate control and some chrome trim on top.
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There are three and five-door versions available across the trim levels – although the Access comes only as a three-door – and Peugeot also offers a version with an electrically operated fabric roll-back roof called the 108 Top!.
The flagship of the 108 range is the Roland Garros Top! Model. As well as all the toys, this gets some tennis-inspired interior trim to back up Peugeot’s sponsorship of the French open tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris.
The 108 comes with two engine options: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder common to all the cars in the PSA/Toyota city car joint venture, as well as a 1.2-litre PureTech engine that only features in the Peugeot and Citroen models.
Engines, performance and drive
The original 107 was an easy-to-drive city car, but didn’t score highly in terms of refinement or fun. Since the 108 shares the same basic chassis, 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 vibration from the engine – but it’s no worse than in the Peugeot’s Toyota and Citroen sister cars.
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 its limitations. In fairness, there’s more than enough grip, and the handling is composed enough to be reassuring. It’s just that the Peugeot lacks sparkle. Push on and you’ll notice that the body leans more than in its rivals, while the steering is numb and lacking in feedback, and the gearshift is notchy.
If you’re mainly going to be using your 108 around town, we’d say the Toyota-designed 1.0-litre engine is probably all you’ll ever need. However, those who plan on doing a lot of driving at higher speeds and on motorways will want the more powerful 1.2 PureTech unit, which is Peugeot’s own design.
Both are petrol engines – there’s no diesel available in the 108 – but the 1.0-litre takes 29.8 seconds to get from 50-70mph in top gear, while the larger version takes 15.9 seconds.
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Both engines sound pretty much the same, and they deliver similar fuel efficiency, so your choice really comes down to the type of driving you’ll do most and how much power you need. It’s worth remembering, though, that the engine you get is dependent on trim level. Higher-spec 108s come with the big engine and lesser models feature the smaller one.
All models come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a 2-Tronic automated manual transmission available as an option, although only with the 1.0-litre engine.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
The Peugeot 108 is available with two three-cylinder petrol engine options: a 1.0-litre and a 1.2-litre. The smaller unit is also offered in even more fuel-efficient Active Stop & Start guise, with stop/start technology helping deliver CO2 emissions of 88g/km and official fuel economy of 74.3mpg. That makes this version the cleanest in the range.
The standard 1.0-litre 108 isn’t that far behind, though, emitting 95g/km with the five-speed manual gearbox and 97g/km with the automated manual transmission, while claimed fuel consumption figures stand at 69mpg and 67mpg respectively. But the Active Stop & Start model costs only around £250 more to buy than the standard 1.0 Active, so it’s not an expensive way to go green.
If you want the more powerful 1.2-litre engine – which delivers 82bhp compared to the 1.0-litre’s 68bhp – then Peugeot claims 99g/km emissions and 65.7mpg fuel economy. That’s still not bad, and it means both versions are exempt from road tax.
There’s also no emissions or economy penalty for choosing the five-door 108 over the three-door, as the vehicle weights are so similar as to make no noticeable difference.
If you want to run the 108 as a company car, the low CO2 emissions will help matters; the fact that all models are petrol-powered saves on the three per cent diesel surcharge, too.
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With such limited performance on offer, it’s no surprise that insuring the 108 is a relatively painless business. The range starts at group six for the 1.0-litre three-door Access and rises to group 11 for the 1.2 litre Feline. Insurance groups are identical for the Citroen C1, although the Toyota Aygo doesn’t make it above group seven as the Japanese company has decided not to offer the larger 1.2-litre engine option.
But if you really hate paying insurance premiums, consider that the near-identical Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii line-ups, as well as the Hyundai i10 range, start at an impossible-to-beat group one and only rise as far as group four – although the more powerful versions don’t offer sprightly performance to match their French rivals.
City cars aren’t quite the gold-plated depreciation bet of a few years back due to increasing sales and competition in the sector, but the Peugeot 108 doesn’t fare badly. With anticipated three-year residual values of around 47 per cent for the entry-level Access, and the low entry price when new, you shouldn’t be hit too hard in the wallet come resale time. More expensive versions don’t perform quite so well: our experts suggest a top-of-the-range 108 Feline will retain only 44 per cent of its new price over three years.
Interior, design and technology
As with the old 107, the 108 is built alongside the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1. Although all three cars share the same platform and underpinnings, Peugeot has managed to give its version a unique style.
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The ‘floating’ chrome grille and narrow headlights are designed to look upmarket, and take inspiration from the newest products in the Peugeot line-up, while the cheap-looking external boot hinges of the 107 are now hidden by a spoiler.
There’s even a set of ‘claw print’ lights at the back to mimic the claws of the Peugeot lion badge, and if you want to add a bit of individuality and character to the looks, the company offers two-tone paint schemes and a host of funky sticker packs.
As you’d expect, the cabin is a big step up from the 107’s as well. The build quality and design aren’t on the same level as those of the Skoda Citigo, but there’s been a definite improvement. Some models have porcelain-coloured dash inserts, and while there are a few areas of hard plastic, fit and finish is better than in budget rivals such as the MG3. The switchgear feels robust and the dash is easy to get on with.
As with the exterior, you can personalise the cabin, with dash decals to add a touch of colour.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The 108’s basic cabin architecture is carried over from the outgoing 107, but the new car’s design is centred around a seven-inch colour touchscreen which provides a youthful, hi-tech feel. It’s a comprehensive interface, offering USB, aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity for audio devices and your smartphone.
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You also get a DAB radio and a multifunction leather steering wheel, and on top of this there’s a MirrorLink function for use with Android mobile devices. The touchscreen system is only available on Active models and up.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
As one of the smaller packages in the city car market, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Peugeot 108 doesn’t offer masses of interior space. Neither do its Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo cousins. There’s also no chance of seating five people inside, even for short journeys, because unlike the Hyundai i10 the car doesn’t offer a central rear seatbelt.
While certain models feature a height-adjustable driver’s seat, the driving position isn’t as comfortable as in the Volkswagen up!. It feels cramped and confined in comparison.
Inside, the Peugeot now has a glovebox with a lid, but this is smaller than that of the Skoda Citigo, as are the door pockets. But if you’ve just moved up from a scooter, you probably won’t be complaining.
While the Peugeot measures just 3,455mm from bumper to bumper, the up! is 3,540mm long and the Hyundai i10 is 3,645mm.
The Peugeot also has a lower roofline than the Hyundai and the VW Group city car trio, and it’s a few centimetres narrower, too.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The 108 will carry four adults at a pinch, but it could do with more rear legroom. On three-door cars, the front seats have a handy memory function that ensures they return to the same position after being tilted forward to allow passengers to get into the back. You get Isofix mountings for child seats, too.
Do without the optional spare wheel and you get a 196-litre boot; this drops to 180 litres if you specify the space saver. Either way, the Peugeot is nowhere near the best in class in terms of load capacity.
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The 108 has a fabric luggage cover that stays with the tailgate when it’s open, while 50:50 split folding rear seats are standard on all but the entry-level Access version.
Plus, Peugeot has managed to lower the boot lip by 20mm compared with the old car, so it’s a bit easier to load and unload heavy items.
Reliability and Safety
Despite the updated styling, many of the 108’s components are carried over from the old 107. As before, the car is produced 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.
We’re also pleased to report that Peugeot has been performing well of late in the Auto Express Driver Power satisfaction survey. In 2014, the brand came 17th out of 33 manufacturers – winning ‘most improved’ plaudits – while in 2015 Peugeot repeated the trick with another climb up the chart, to 10th overall. That put it ahead of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, among many others.
For reliability, owners ranked Peugeot (as a manufacturer) 12th, but build quality was only rated 17th overall. Hopefully, as one of its newer models, the 108 should help lift those scores in future; we’ll wait and see.
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One area where the city car has improved significantly over its predecessor is on safety. The 107 scored three stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, but when the new model was put through its paces, it scored four stars overall, achieving a decent 80 per cent rating for both adult and child protection. However, this is still below the best in the class – for comparison, the Skoda Citigo gets a full five-star rating.
Nevertheless, with six airbags and stability control as standard, the 108 should offer peace of mind from a safety perspective. Plus, on more expensive Allure and Feline models, buyers have the option to specify lane-departure warning and City Braking systems.
Peugeot offers a three-year/60,000-mile warranty on the 108, which would have seemed reasonable a few years back. However, it now looks uncompetitive against packages from rivals like Kia, Hyundai and Toyota. The Kia Picanto benefits from a seven-year/100,000-mile deal, the Hyundai i10 has a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty and the Toyota Aygo is supplied with five years and 100,000 miles of cover.
Peugeot 108s fitted with the Toyota-designed 1.0-litre engine require maintenance every 16,000 miles or 12 months, with the annual intervals sure to come sooner for most drivers. The 1.2 PureTech models need a service every year or 10,000 miles.