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 Peugeot 108 shares its chassis with the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1 as the trio of small city cars have been developed in partnership between PSA (Peugeot and Citroen’s owners) and Toyota – this means if you’ve driven one of the other two before, the 108 will feel familiar.
One of the real benefits of this part-sharing exercise means the three companies can cut costs, so even spending around £11,000 on an urban run-around like this means you get features such as air conditioning, keyless go, a reversing camera and a seven-inch touchscreen. There are plenty of big car features on offer for small car cash.
Despite this, the Peugeot 108 still isn’t our favourite city car. The Skoda Citigo is more refined and the Hyundai i10 has much more space on offer, which means both feel more mature and should be better ownership propositions. However, the 108 is still a good contender, especially if you want to inject a sense of style into your motoring, as the Peugeot’s personalisation options will no doubt attract younger buyers.
There is a five-door model on offer, too, so you can add some extra practicality if you’re sold on the looks of the pint-sized Peugeot.
The range consists of five trim levels: the base spec Access is available as a three-door only but gets a fair amount of standard kit, including USB connectivity and electric windows, but we’d recommend going for the Active model as a minimum, as this comes with air-con, DAB, Bluetooth and that seven-inch touchscreen.
Upgrading to Allure adds a reversing camera, keyless entry and automatic headlights, while the high-spec Feline trim benefits from climate control and some chrome trim on top.
At the top of the 108 tree is the Roland Garros Top! model – this gets some Roland Garros tennis inspired interior trim and all the toys.
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 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 French firm 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 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 areas of hard plastic, fit and finish is better than in more budget rivals, such as 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 devices and your smartphone, it’s a well-sorted interface.
You also get a DAB radio and a multifunction leather steering wheel, and on top of this there’s a Mirror Link function for use with Android mobile devices. As with the exterior, you can personalise the cabin, too, with dash decals to add a touch of colour.
If you’re mainly going to be doing town driving then we’d say the 1.0-litre engine is probably all you’ll ever need. However, if you plan on doing a lot of driving at higher speeds and on motorways, you’ll want the more powerful 1.2. Both are petrol units, as there’s no diesel available in the 108, but the 1.0 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 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 specs get the big engine and lower specs get the smaller one.
The old 107 was an 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 – but it’s no worse than in its two sister cars, the Toyota and Citroen.
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 in the VW Up!. It feels cramped and confined, while the gearshift is notchy.
Despite the updated styling, many of the 108’s components are carried over from the older 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.
One area where the 108 has improved massively over its predecessor is safety. The 107 scored three stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, but when the new car was put through its paces it scored four stars overall. However, this is still below the best in the class – the Citigo gets a full five-star rating. But with six airbags and stability control as standard, it should offer peace of mind.
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 rear seats are standard on all but the entry-level Access version.
Plus, Peugeot has managed to lower the boot loading 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 Citigo. 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 Active Stop & Start. 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 though, emitting 95g/km with the five-speed manual and 97g/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.
As with any city car the associated repair and insurance costs are also nice and low. If you want to run it as a company car then the 108’s low CO2 emissions will help matters – the fact that they’re all petrols saves on the three per cent diesel surcharge, too.