Driven: Peugeot 108

It’s the little Peugeot that could – meet the bubblegum 108

What is it?
The 108 is Peugeot’s entry-level compact hatchback. It plays in the A-segment and is basically a Gallic Toyota Aygo. So it should immediately buck the stereotype that French cars are unreliable. In my week with it, as well as at its launch at the end of last year, my test car didn’t let me down once.

How does it look?
Well look, it’s awfully cute isn’t it? The launch car I sampled was a very complementary blue. This purple one, however, I’m less of a fan of. It comes down to personal taste I think, and this one had me thinking of Rascals. You’ve got plastic hubcaps at each corner of what is objectively an attractive design. Mine even comes with roof rails for my bicycle. Which I tested immediately. With my bike on the roof and my right foot firmly recessed into the footwell by way of the deeply embedded accelerator pedal, I pointed it to the Southern Suburbs in pursuit of a leafy ride in the Green Belt.

What about living with it?
This meant time to appreciate the handsome cabin, well-appointed and fairly minimalistic. There are large plastic surfaces to remind you this is a sub-R200k hatch. You do however get impressive safety kit – six airbags, ESP with ABS and even hill start assist. Then there are daytime running lights, projector headlamps and the rear lamps are designed to look like claw marks.

How does it go?
Ahead of the tiny power-assisted steering wheel you’ll find an analogue speedometer and LCD, with a dash-mounted touchscreen equipped with Mirror Link for screen sharing with your smartphone. There are many other connectivity options but for now, let’s focus on the ride. You get a traditional twisty-key for the ignition – this swings the turbo 3-pot into life and you’ll be rowing those five gears all day because 93Nm will require some revving. Even so, the ride is supple enough for its small footprint and I didn’t struggle to negotiate heavy traffic nor the elevation changes on the national roads. Which is more than I could say about my bike ride.

Should you buy one?
If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly city car then absolutely. Peugeot’s are characterful, drive well and at this price, they’re not risky either. We’ve appreciated the hard work the French firm has put into righting the wrongs of many decades ago with regards to reliability and build quality. And can recommend the 108 without any hesitation. Especially at the coast where the small capacity engine has a fighting chance.

Quick Stats: Peugeot 108 5-doorPrice: R194,900
Powertrain: 1.0l 3-cyl turbo fwd, 53kW, 93Nm, 5-speed manual
Performance: 0-100kph in 13.1 seconds, 161kph top speed, 3.8l/100km fuel consumption

 

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