The timely launch of the second generation Peugeot 108 will coincide with the City Car segment expected to grow to over 242,000 annual sales this year.
Sales of City Cars have been driven by their lower purchase price supported by very affordable monthly PCP payment amounts with cheap running costs, cheaper insurance and they are easy to drive and park in our congested World.
Never satisfied customers still want more than a motorised shopping trolley. They are demanding smarter looking and better equipped vehicles, more power, better fuel economy, more comfort and the latest craze – a wide range of personalisation options. Peugeot say customers for A-segment City Cars in the UK are female biased across two key age brackets, 25 to 35 year olds and 60 plus represented by couples without children who use their vehicles for urban journeys. However there is a move, due to traffic congestion and increased running costs, for small second cars in the family to become the main car and to be used for longer journeys hence the new requirement for more comfort, better specification and higher performance plus of course personalisation options.
The new Toyota Aygo recently introduced answers most of those requests as does its sister cars, the new Peugeot 108 and the Citroen C1 ranges both just about to arrive in the UK. All three model ranges are built in the joint venture Czech Republic factory by Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Steven Fahey, Peugeot’s UK Public Relations Manager said at the media launch of the new 108 range, “60% of customers in this sector choose higher specification models, we have a good heritage in this sector so we have added more trim levels, improved the standard specification, added a new engine option and as well as having three and five door versions we have now included an additional Top! version which has an electrically operated retractable canvas roof insert.”
Whilst the Aygo offers only the Toyota three cylinder 1.0-litre 68bhp petrol engine, in addition Peugeot and Citroen have added their own 1.2-litre three cylinder 82bhp petrol engine to their line-ups. Both of these engines are non-turbo units, the new 1.2-litre offering much better driveability being over three seconds faster to accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 11-seconds and the top speed is 7mph faster at 106mph. The sluggish 1.0-litre Toyota unit in the Peugeot 108 does score marginally better with 68.9mpg in the Combined Cycle with CO2 emissions of 95g/km or 88g/km for the ‘e’ version. But the new generation PureTech 1.2-litre unit is much more responsive due to better torque of 116Nm from 2,750rpm, it’s less noisy, smoother and still officially returns 65.7mpg with CO2 rated at 99g/km so both units are free of road tax.
Fahey said that they expect to sell in the UK in a full year around 21,000 units of the new 108. The canvas Top! version is expected to appeal to 20% of UK customers, 80% of buyers will opt for the three and five door hatchbacks with the five door models appealing to 67% of customers. The new 1.2-petrol engine is predicted to be chosen by 35% of customers and retail buyers will account for 76% of total sales. Depending on the body style and the engine chosen there is the choice of Access, Active, Allure and Feline levels of specification, plus a list of options, new bright colours and personalisation factory fitted theme kits such as Dressy, Kilt, Diamond, Tattoo and Barcode. The new TV advertising theme for the Peugeot 108 has just started promoting the personalisation options with the strapline “This Time its Personal”.
As for prices the Peugeot 108 range starts at £8,245 and goes up to £12,245, the new Toyota Aygo with less model/engine choices starts from £8,595 and ranges up to £12,395. The Citroen C1 also offers three/five door bodystyles and both engine choices plus the canvas roof option and their prices start at £8,245 and go up to £11,935. However the standard specification between all three brands varies so exact comparisons cannot be accurately made. It will be down to customers to check-out their best buy option or which brand means the most to them or most likely which dealership offers the best price or is most convenient to their home address.
Also subject to comparison will be the very popular PCP monthly personal contact purchase options taken up by around 80% of all new retail car buyers in the UK. The Peugeot 108 PCP rates start from £89 a month which is more or less the same as the Toyota Aygo with the Citroen figures still to be finalised. But again the customer must be sure to choose their best option as to the amount of deposit required, the contract length and the final amount to be paid at the end of the finance period varies.
At the media launch of the Peugeot 108 range held in and around the City of Birmingham we tried the new 1.2-litre Top! retractable canvas roof five door model with Allure specification costing £12,245. Added to that cost was the new £350 Barcode personalisation finish, not something I would choose but there is no accounting for taste. The Barcode’s many coloured striped finish to the dashboard, around the side air vents and on the door mirrors looked like stick on transfers – which they were and a bit tacky. The interior Barcode graphics also reflected badly in the side windows in the driver’s line of vision of the door mirrors. The optional Purple Berry coloured canvas roof costing £150 looked classy though.
At 3,470mm in length the new 108 is 40mm longer than the outgoing 107, the width is the same at 1,630mm and the roof height is lower by 10mm at 1,460mm. There is a little more boot space – an increase from 139 to 196-litres and the boot sill is 20mm lower for easier loading. The rear seat leg room remains minimal but the front seats offer ample legroom adjustment. As always I would recommend going for the five door versions even though the legroom is poor but it just offers a more convenient access to the rear seats which are folding with a 50/50 split. Inside there has been a significant improvement in the quality of the materials and the fit and finish. The dashboard in all but the entry level Access trim includes a 7-inch tablet type touch-screen which controls a number of the functions including smartphone connectivity. The heating and air con functions are operated by simple controls positioned below the touchscreen and not incorporated within the screen as on the new 308 which is a relief.
The canvas roof is a neat addition to the line-up. By having a fabric insert into the roof, basically where a sunroof would be, means the integral structure and torsional rigidity of the bodyshell is maintained with the A, B, C pillars and rear roof cross member still in place. Like the new Aygo the suspension has been tuned for better ride comfort, the handling is neat and agile and it is an easy car to drive.
Having recently driven the new Toyota Aygo with its personalisation options the car looked great but didn’t inspire me due to its lack-lustre performance of the gruff three cylinder 1.0-litre unit. It is still the same in the new Peugeot 108 but the new PSA 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, which Toyota isn’t adopting – yet, is a much better option.
The new PSA PureTech normally aspirated 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol unit has 82bhp rather than the skimpy 68bhp of the Toyota 1.0-litre triple. It has 116Nm of torque developed at 2,750rpm rather than the poor 95Nm of Torque at 4,800rpm of the 1.0-litre unit. All this means that for me it is no contest, even for city driving the new 1.2-litre engine must be the one to go for, pay the extra money it is well worth it. It is still not as smooth as the 1.0-litre Ford EcoBoost three cylinder petrol engines or as powerful, but it is a huge improvement over the aging Toyota 1.0-litre triple. The top speed is now 106mph, zero to 62mph takes 11.0 seconds, three seconds quicker than the 1.0-litre engine. Fuel consumption is hardly harmed either with 65.7mpg for the Combined Cycle but we only achieved 44mpg on test, much of that was either driving in city traffic or enjoying the extra power on nice winding country roads. With CO2 emissions of 99g/km road tax is free. The choice of the 1.2-litre engine over the 1.0-litre unit would make me choose a Peugeot 108 over an Aygo, although I prefer the styling of the Toyota version.
I did also try the new Peugeot 108 with the standard 1.0-litre engine. It is still as unresponsive and noisy as ever but in similar driving conditions, they both have five speed gearboxes, it was more fuel-friendly returning 53.8mpg against the official 68.9mpg Combined Cycle. If you really want fuel economy over performance stick with this engine, if you want to put a bit more fun into your driving to go with the image of the new Peugeot 108 go for the responsive and smoother 1.2-litre unit. Which of the three brands you choose, Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 or Toyota Aygo, that’s down to the haggling to be done between you and your dealer.
MILESTONES. Peugeot 108 Allure 1.2 Top! 5-Door. Price: £12,245 + options. Engine/transmission: 1.2-litre, three cylinder, normally aspirated petrol, 82bhp, 116Nm (85.5lb ft) at 2,750rpm, 5-speed manual. Performance: 106mph, 0-62mph 11.0-seconds, 65.7mpg (44mpg on test), CO2 99g/km, VED road tax £0. Insurance group: 11E. Warranty: 3-years/unlimited mileage. For: Good looking and features new Peugeot family front end design, personalisation options, addition of a worthy new 1.2-litre petrol engine to better performance than the new Toyota Aygo, looks and feels a higher grade of car than the 107 it replaces. Against: Sluggish performance from the 1.0-litre engine models, not keen of the bulky touch-screen design, very limited rear passenger legroom. Miles better news agency