Peugeot 108

Peugeot’s chic baby majors on thrift, style

The old man tossed me the key with the chrome lion outline and barked ’this one is yours'. Intrigued I went out to the drive to see which Peugeot it was I was quite delighted when I saw it was the little 108. See my daily driver is my sister’s hand-me-down ’07 Aygo and I really like my little car, which also means I was quite taken by the one with a French accent, and while this one’s colour isn’t for me, that's of course an option.

See the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and this are basically one and the same — except two speak two dialects of French and the other Japanese, so to say, although all of them are Czech born. So as in Asterix, due to those differing Gallic accents, they have unique characters too. So I spent a little time to examine the nuances between this and the new Aygo I had a crack at a few months back and I decided they're indeed different enough.

There’s a familar triple-thrum when 108 files up and on the whole it drives very well indeed. Look, it’s underpowered for sure and there really hasn’t been much development from its 107 predecessors, or my Aygo for that matter. Not that it really matters because its still a solid super compact runaround that’s now better kitted a does everything you'd expect with a little Parisian style too — especially with all this ones extra special little trinkets.

Its tech isn’t perfect or entirely there — the touchscreen system does not respond quite as smarty your smartphone does, while the cabin plastics are cheap and scratchy but the basics are all in place. I know I’m being a bit fussy at this price break, but I’d really have appreciated power adjustment for the wing mirror adjustment and the rear cabin is, well, cramped.

Look, the 108 is no thriller and the steering is a bit leaden and some of the gear ratios could have been better chosen, but its little litre engine is sweet and likes to be thrashed too, so all cool. It rides well and is easy to drive with decent dynamics over a broad variety of roads, while the 108 is comfortable and reasonably well insulated too. 

But this little car’s real trump card has to be its phenomenal fuel efficiency — I managed 3.9 litres per hundred in spite of some quite spirited driving, so if you're looking for a little chic that runs on the smell of an oil rag, you need not look too much further than this. It comes with a cracking warranty and service plan, by the way, so you can expect a decent residual value and insurance is cheap, even in my hoon category.

All in all I loved my time talking a little French to a car that seemed so familiar. The Peugeot is a winner that steps apart from the crowd with great back-up and enough style to fully justify the few grand extra you’d spend over a crock-spec alternative — especially if the rear cabin is of arbitrary importance to you. — Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Peugeot 108 1.0 Active
Engine: 53kW 93Nm 1-litre petrol I3      
Drive: 5-speed manual FWD
0-60km/h:                  5.64 sec
0-100km/h:                13.57 sec                      
400m:                         19.8 sec @ 116km/h            
80-120km/h:              13.30 sec
VMax:                        160km/h                               
Fuel:                           4.3 l/100km                          
CO2:                           99 g/km
Warranty/Service:    5y 100K/5y 100Kkm 
LIST PRICE:                R186K           
RATED:                       7