Baby Pug puts pep into step
The Peugeot 108 is small and has an impressive stance. It may not be perfectly formed, but gives a fast run for your money, writes Campbell Spray
It is just my luck that as this column was reviewing perhaps the most expensive car it will come across this year I was driving one of the cheapest. Maybe my colleagues think that is all I am fit for, and anyway Geraldine looks much better than me.
So while she was driving around the stately homes of North Kildare in the Bentley Flying Spur, (see Independent.ie), Spray Towers was home to the Peugeot 108, the latest version of the baby car which the company broadly shares with Toyota and Citroen, which respectively call their models Aygo and C1. I wasn't expecting to be impressed by the 108, as I had read a pretty damning review elsewhere. However, it has some very strong points, is well-specced and gave us some quite exhilarating - if noisy - rides over the Easter break.
All the good points of the test car were in the front half. It looks sturdy and impressive seen head on with a strong family branding, and looks bigger than it really is. But the best point is under that bonnet.
We were driving a very peppy 1.2-litre petrol engine, which was much faster than the 1.0-litre model. With an 0-100kmh of 11 seconds it is a great improvement on the leader in the sector, the otherwise impressive Hyundai i10, the current Sunday Independent Car of the Year.
While the 1.2-litre engine will eat up distances and penalty points, if you are not careful - it is a noisy experience at speed, meaning a lot of work with the radio's volume control.
The 1.2-litre 108 with the Allure trim has a reverse parking camera, automatic headlights, front fogs, 15" alloy wheels, smart entry Keyless Go and a leather steering wheel.
This is in addition to the Active trim, which has a 7" colour touch screen, air-conditioning electric-heated door mirrors and height adjustable driver's seat.
A level-one Access model is coming, as is a three-door version. The TOP cabrio model with an electric fabric roof is also on offer now at about a €1000k premium.
The 108 also has a spare wheel, a fact that Peugeot set a lot of store by. However, it doesn't have a solid rear parcel shelf or proper opening rear windows, much to the annoyance of my dog Sam. It also only has two rear seats and is generally pretty poky once you get beyond the driver and front passenger and those who do climb in behind the big and very comfortable front seats would feel rather claustrophobic. But then, it was pointed out to me, it would still be better than walking or catching a bus.
The luggage space has increased to 196 litres from the dismal 139 on the 107, but is still pretty poor and a long way from that of the proper five-seat Hyundai i10.
The 1.2-litre Allure model on test cost €14,870. It is a bit of fun, but not very practical. I enjoyed it though.