A few months back I attended a Peugeot event that wasn't as much a new model launch as it was brand relaunch here in SA. The French automaker kicked off with a bang, cementing their confidence in the South African market and giving us two new models in two different categories. I shared my initial thoughts on the models in November, but I recently got to spend a week with the baby of the range - the diminutive Peugeot 108 - and I must admit that it's a rather cool little runaround. When I say little, I mean it. This thing is just 3475mm long, 1460mm high and 1615mm wide (1884mm if you count the wing mirrors) and that means it tips the scales at a whopping 840kg.
Straight off the bat you'd expect such a small and light budget car to feel flimsy and cheap, but the French chaps who put this thing together have made the little 108 feel quite the opposite. It feels pretty solid all round, and yeah there's some hard plastics in play, and bare metal sections on the doors (in exterior paint colour) that are par for the course on budget cars these days, but it doesn't detract from the quality feel. As far as A-segment cars go, this one is bolted together better than many. I'm also not alone in this thinking, a few passengers noticed too. Yes, I do get feedback from friends when I have press cars, they don't ride for free. On that note, while this 108 is small on the outside, the cabin space is quite deceiving, I managed to fit in three extra bodies and space wasn't an issue, although my passengers were all my size, and I'm not the tallest chap. I probably wouldn't want to be four up on a long trip though coz adding in like 300kg+ to a small car with a 998cc 3-cylinder that produces just 93Nm does mean steep uphills will see you swapping cogs like you're fighting with a one-arm bandit. Of course this car is meant for city drives and most of the time I was either one or two up and then things are pleasant.
The French are great at making things look cool, and the interior of the Peugeot 108 is no different, probably having one of the most eye-pleasing setups in an A-segment car. The dash has a good layout, the steering is of the multifunction variety and the gauge cluster is one big circle with a small digital information screen. It's not all roses though, I have an issue with the design because if you're wearing a light coloured shirt, when the sun is directly overhead it reflects off you and you battle to see anything in the cluster. The infotainment section is also cool, featuring Android Auto and Apple Carplay to keep you connected, safely. The system is super easy to use, you'll be used to things in a few minutes. Although there is one other little issue here too; the surround of the infotainment screen is gloss black, and at the same time of the day that you battle to see the speedo, the sun reflects off the shiny black surround and gets you right in the (left) eye. I suspect that it may not happen to everyone and could be linked to my 1.75m height. The rest of the interior is cool, and the Tombstone-style seats are cooler than you'd expect in this segment.
As I said on the launch drive, the Peugeot 108 makes use of a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder with 53kW of power and 93 Nm of torque and it's mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. I mentioned that were two up in the little car with the aircon off, and slowing down at a yield sign while keeping it in 2nd to pull off again, it almost stalled. It turns out that wasn't because it's lacking power, it comes down to your driving style. By taking note of the revs and the feel of the clutch, you can keep the revs in the right place and the car then feels like any other car. The aircon does sap some power from the car, but that was only noticeable during the day in the hot sun, and night in cooler weather it was a non-issue. In fact, the cool night air makes you wanna ring the little Pug's neck because it's that much more responsive. The fuel consumption claims are 5.2-litres/100km and on launch it was close, so I said that the 108 would produce that figure if you feather it. After learning how the car wants to be driven, I was seeing figures in the low to mid 4s on long roads, and when the week was up the on board figures showed an average of 4.9-litres/100km. That's actually pretty damn cool, because I wasn't feathering it.
As far as A-segment cars go, the Peugeot 108 is a great little option. It'll work as a first car, a downscale car or just a runaround with lower overheads to keep mileage off your bigger car. Build quality is good, spec and safety is good (check launch post for details) and pricing is very pocket-friendly. You can get yourself a Peugeot 108 for R184 900 incl. VAT. In fact right now Peugeot SA has a special on the 108 (if you're ok with a residual), and so you can have one for as little as R1999.00. How mad is that? This also gets you the included 5-year / 100 000km warranty and service plan. Catch more info over on the Peugeot SA website.
While it's small, it's not as small as in this pic from the press pack 😂