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Little 108 has Lion sales roaring 

 

IT’S the smallest car in the Peugeot range but the 108 is a little Lion helping the French company roar to top sales figures.

The UK new car market rose by 9.9 per cent last year but Peugeot’s increase was higher – a 12 per cent increase over 2013 with 52,792 sold.

And the all-new 108 proved to be an instant success since its July launch, attracting 7,579 buyers in its first six months.

The partnership to develop a new city car sees the 108 sharing the same platform as Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1.

And the result is a much-improved model than the 107 it replaces.

The trio are visibly different with Peugeot designers going for what they describe as a more premium and sophis-ticated look.

Inside, there is a marked improvement in material quality, fit and finish.

The dashboard is styled around the central stack, which houses a seven-inch touchscreen in all models except entry-level Access which is expected to attract less than five per cent sales in the UK.

The infotainment system brings DAB radio, Mirror Screen with MirrorLink technology and Bluetooth for smartphones with the benefit of steering-wheel-mounted controls.

There are three and five-door models and with interior space much the same as the 107 that means there isn’t a lot of legroom in the rear seats.

You get much more boot space though with the capacity rising from 139 litres to 196 litres and loading is made easier with the boot sill 20mm lower.

There are four trim levels – Access, Active, Allure and Feline – as well as a Top! Cabrio featuring a retractable fabric roof, available on Active and Allure models.

There is a choice of two petrol engines – 68bhp 1-litre with stop/start or 82bhp 1.2-litre.

The test car was a top-of-the-range five-door Allure Top!

I didn’t get the opportunity to sample the electrically-operated roof that can be opened or closed while on the move.

But I did get the chance to find out how this model performed, not just in the city but on much more testing roads.

The 1.2-litre engine packed plenty of punch through a five-speed manual transmission that was well and truly put through its paces.

Driving conditions weren’t ideal on a recent trip to St Andrews, with little light, heavy rain and dense patches of fog coming down.

Throw in some mud-splattered country roads and an oncoming tractor splattering the 108 with all sorts of muck and you will understand this wasn’t my most enjoyable drive.

But this little Peugeot was well up to the task and displayed terrific road holding and agility as we battered along.

With its accurate steering, the 108 moved in and out of bends well and the engine responded quickly when needed as I went up and down the gears.

The return daylight drive was much more stress free as I enjoyed going back along those winding roads and onto the motorway where the car performed smoothly with little engine, wind or road noise coming through.

This model has a top speed of 106mph, moves from zero to 62mph in 11 seconds, and its pretty impressive fuel figures are 65.7mpg combined, 52.3mpg urban and 76.3mpg extra urban.

The 108 is also ideal for town driving and ideal to park in those tight spaces so I didn’t really see the point of the reversing camera which is standard spec on this model.

All 108s are well equipped, with entry-level Access features including LED daytime running lights, remote central locking USB/aux connection for audio players, with steering-wheel-mounted controls, and six airbags.

Active adds colour-coded door handles and mirrors, air conditioning, height-adjustable driver’s seat, touchscreen and infotainment system.

Move up to Allure and additions include 15-inch alloys, front fog lights, auto headlights, electric-heated door mirrors, reversing camera, leather steering wheel and gear knob, keyless entry and stop/start button.

Feline trim brings leather upholstery, chrome door handles and mirrors and auto dual zone air conditioning.

The 108 is certainly good value for money with on-the-road prices starting at £8,245. The test car was priced £12,495.

The choice of model for buyers in the first six months was 50 per cent five-door hatch, 24 per cent three-door hatch and 26 per cent Cabrio Top!