There’s a huge choice of colours and you can choose from seven themed styling packs
Peugeot is a brand that’s intent on moving upmarket, and the company is hoping the 108 city car will help. This may be the smallest and cheapest of Peugeot’s models, but the company reckons it delivers all the style of its bigger cars. To that end, the 108’s front end looks similar to that of the 308, and that immediately gives it a pretty sophisticated appearance. What’s more, the 108 offers buyers numerous ways to personalise their car. There’s a huge choice of colours and you can also choose from seven themed styling packs which include patterned exterior decals and mirror caps. You can even have your 108 with a folding fabric roof for a few hundred quid extra. However, if you want sparkly alloy wheels, you’ll have to upgrade to third-rung Allure trim.
The 108’s cabin has as much scope for customisation as the outside, and with all the sparkly bits and bobs on offer, it has a cheerful atmosphere. However, it doesn’t feel as plush inside as the best city cars. Too many of the plastics in your eyeline are hard and scratchy, and some of the panels lower down flex and wobble too much. Quality isn’t the cabin’s only problem, either. All but entry-level Access cars have a touch-screen infotainment system, but it’s hopelessly confusing to use. It’s also impossible to read the screen in bright sunlight, something there’s plenty of with the rag-top version. What’s more, the steering only adjusts for height and not reach, while the entry-level version also misses out on a height-adjusting driver’s seat. That means getting comfy at the wheel could be an issue for some drivers.
The 108 isn’t as roomy as the best-in-class, but cabin space is still pretty good for such a small car. There’s sufficient leg- and headroom for four adults to sit in reasonable comfort. Unless you specify the fabric roof, that is, which eats into rear headroom so much that anyone even vaguely approaching six feet tall will find life seriously uncomfortable. The 108’s 196-litre boot has enough room for a few small shopping bags, but many rivals offer you more space. There’s also a hefty lip to load items over and the basic Access version misses out on a split-folding rear seat.
Ride and handling
The ride has a lumpy, unsettled quality, and slack body control means the car bobs and sways on undulating surfaces
You wouldn’t expect a city car to be the last word in dynamic excellence, but even so, the 108 doesn’t do the job anywhere near as well as rivals like the Volkswagen Up or Hyundai i10. The ride has a lumpy, unsettled quality, and slack body control means the car bobs and sways on undulating surfaces. It also means a fair bit of lean in corners, and the skinny tyres don’t give huge amounts of grip, especially in the wet. What’s more, the steering feels rather remote. At least it’s light at low speeds for easy manoeuvres, and the tight turning circle helps on that score as well.
The entry-level engine is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol with 68bhp. It’s perky and willing around town, but on faster roads, especially motorways, it feels distinctly underpowered. The rate at which you build speed is also hampered by the long gearing, and if you go for the version with the jerky semi-auto gearbox, the engine’s already meagre performance is sapped even further, making it desperately slow. There’s also an 80bhp 1.2, and while it feels no faster at urban speeds, you feel the benefit on the motorway where it’s keener to pick up the pace. However, it’s no quieter than the smaller engine and it’s nowhere near as smooth, sending irritating vibrations through the steering wheel, pedals and seats. You hear a fair amount of wind- and road noise, too, and if you go for the ‘Top’ version with its folding fabric roof, you feel plenty of wind buffeting, but without feeling like you’re in a proper convertible.
Prices for the 108 are competitive for the class without being particularly cheap, but with the amount of standard equipment you get, it still represents decent value. However, resale values won’t be as strong as those of rival cars like the VW Up, and that’ll push up your whole-life costs. That said, fuel economy is as good as you’d expect from a small car. All versions duck below the 99g/km mark for CO2 emissions, earning you big tax advantages, and even the dirtiest engine (the 1.2) will return an official average of 65.7mpg. The cleanest (the 1.0 with added stop/start) has an impressive figure of 74.3mpg.
The 108 was engineered by Toyota, one of the highest-ranking manufacturers for reliability
Look at Warranty Direct’s manufacturer standings, and you’ll see find Peugeot ranking mid-table. However, the 108 was engineered by Toyota, one of the highest-ranking manufacturers. And, while there’s very little reliability data on the 108 yet, it’s still mechanically very similar to its predecessor, the 107, which is one of the best-performing models in the study. That should give you plenty of confidence that your car will prove dependable.
These days, most city cars come with a lot of the same essential safety aids as bigger cars, and the 108 is no exception. Six airbags are provided to help protect you in the event of an accident, and standard stability control should help you avoid having one in the first place. In tests by Euro NCAP, the 108 (well, technically, it was a Toyota Aygo, but the cars are identical, so the rating also applies to the Peugeot) scored a decent four stars out of a possible maximum of five.
We’d advise an upgrade to Active trim, which adds the touch-screen infotainment system with DAB radio
The entry-level Access trim comes with LED running lights, remote locking and electric front windows, but it misses out on essentials like air-con and Bluetooth. That’s why we’d advise an upgrade to Active trim, which checks these boxes as well as adding the touch-screen infotainment system with DAB radio. Allure trim has alloys, automatic headlamps, keyless go and a reversing camera, while Feline trim adds climate control and leather upholstery.
The 108 is very similar to its sister cars – the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo – in pretty much every area, including the way it drives, the space you get and its pricing and equipment. The main reason you’d choose it over the others is likely to be because you prefer the way it looks. However, we think that rivals like the Volkswagen Up and Hyundai i10 give city car buyers more talent for similar cash.