By Beth Keenan
Cars are a staple part of family life for most of us, just like potatoes.
Like potatoes, cars of particular categories do best in some but can be used for more than one purpose depending upon how they are prepared. You can have big ones for large families, medium sized for smaller families or little ones for couples.
The Peugeot 108 falls into the last category as a “micro-car” to use its modern classification and is part of the trio made along with the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo as a joint venture, and they share a range of common components but differ in styling, trim and price range. The Peugeot is mid-ground in the trio, above the C1 but below the Aygo and its range of ten models with three or five doors, metal or fabric roof, runs from about £8,500 to just over £12,900.
There is a choice of 69ps 1.0 and 82ps 1.2 litre three-cylinder engines with five-speed manual or automatic boxes and the 108 comes in grades called Access, Active, Allure and PureTech including Feline, so we opted for the best selling 82ps 1.2 Allure PureTech.
This engine is a willing performer, spinning away from idle with a busy and not altogether unpleasant note which intensifies further up the rev-range.
The first gear is quite short ratio and you quickly have to move into a longer second gear, upwards to third and then into fourth to maintain momentum with the little engine, but fifth really is only for cruising along motorways.
The top gear has little flexibility and most of the time you are directly slotting between three and four, and that happens frequently so the motorway consumption of about 50mpg soon dissolves and you are lucky to get over 40mpg, while we ended up with about 37mpg over 400+ miles of test over a variety of roads.
There is a long travel clutch contrasting with a stiff throttle and a sharp brake pedal underfoot while the handbrake was effective with only modest application.
The steering wheel column adjusted up and down and not back and forth and it only moved as a whole unit which made it very heavy and difficult to set.
Also, we thought some drivers might find it a surprising stretch from their seat to operate the handbrake, which is obviously designed for left-hand-drive markets in particular.
Secondary controls are close to the driver, they couldn’t be much else in the small cabin of the 108, and work well with modest sized and marked gauge showing speed and small fuel indicator built in, with tacho to the left and some wasted spaces to the right. Obviously these blanks perform different tasks on alternative trims and models in the trio.
Heating and ventilation air conditioning is easy and worked well with powered windows in the front and tinted windows behind. We liked the fairly modestly sized infotainment screen and the simplicity and clarity of its functions.
Oddments space was modest and compartments small for a family car, but possibly adequate for commuting. The boot had a high sill to access items and the capacity ranged from 196 to 868 litres with the rear two seats down but not completely flat and level with the boot-floor.
With four small doors the access was fairly easy but in the rear even some teenagers would struggle with space and the cloth-covered seats were not very well shaped or supporting but were comfortable and had fairly good front adjustment.
Visibility was good throughout with low waistline, all corners in sight, very good wipers and adequate lights for the car’s modest performance.
It was slow from standstill, you had to carefully consider overtaking opportunities to ensure you were in the best gear but it did easily hold the motorway limit. Performance quickly went down when laden.
Off the main roads the very good turning circle was a tremendous asset in town and its lightness and size made it easy to park in tight spaces without being twitchy on more flowing roads. Ride quality was reasonable. You felt bad bumps and heard how it coped with others and it rolled a bit around corners although the handling was predictable and safe.
The 108 is spacious for two people but would be incredibly cramped and uncomfortable for rear seat passengers and while there was a lot of plastic inside the optional different coloured dash decal offset the dark interior for a price.
Our test car started at £11,760 but with the optional £100 light and dark dash detail; £355 two-tone roof; £390 active city brake and lane alert and £495 metallic tahoe blue paint it was a hefty bit over £13,500.
You have to ask yourself if these options are a necessary or worthwhile addition to a small commuter car which is really in its element in urban streets where its easy to park thanks to the on-board camera in the Allure trim.
So, it is a staple commuter car but it’s not as cheap as chips.
|Peugeot 108 Allure PureTech 82||Price: £11,760|
|Insurance Group: 11E||Mechanical: 3 cylinder 82bhp 1199cc, 5 speed|
|Max Speed: 106 mph||0-62mph: 10.9 sec|
|Combined MPG: 37mpg||C02 emissions: 99 gkm|
|Bik rating: 16%||Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited mileage|
For: Agile, lively, good visibility, economy potential
Against: Engine and road noise, performance when laden, small boot.