Peugeot's version of the Aygo triplets (108/C1/Aygo) is targeting the premium town car market. 108 is built on the same production line as the Toyota and Citroen, but Peugeot hopes to carve out a niche as the more elegant of the three.
Peugeot has given 108 its classy corporate front end plus other exterior features like the eyebrow LED headlights, Lions's Claw rear taillights and glass tailgate (like the VW up!).
The 108 is available in three and five-door, with the five-door expected to be the biggest seller by far. 108 is a little longer and slightly lower than the 107 it replaces and, overall, has improved dramatically.
As expected following Aygo's launch a couple of weeks ago, 108 comes with a load of styling options and packs that allow owners to individualise their petrol-powered machines.
Inside the much quieter cabin you can fit four at a squeeze, but it will take three adults in reasonable comfort. On all versions bar the entry-level 'Access' you get Mirror-Link smartphone integration through a nice touchscreen display. This connectivity is a work in progress and only works for now with older smart phones like iPhone4 and not iPhone5 and older Samsung Galaxies. But the idea of literally mirroring your phone's screen and piggybacking on its apps is a good one.
Under the bonnet 108 comes with a choice of two three-cylinder engines: a 1.0-litre (68hp) and a 1.2-litre with 85hp (Aygo has a 1.0-litre only). We asked Peugeot if the 1.2, which is PSA's own engine, was offered to its Japanese partner. Peugeot said it was but Toyota decided against using it.
Toyota had the moral high ground with its three-year warranty but now it is two years behind Peugeot's five - so we may see Aygo's significant dominance in Ireland wane a little.
Peugeot also comes with a space saver spare wheel whereas the Toyota doesn't. Of course, this robs the boot of some space, but at least you're not stranded if you get a puncture! 108, with its rear seats down, can hold up to 868 litres of cargo.
On the open road the 1.0-litre pulls well and makes a nice meaty sound. It needs the revs 'kept up' to make good progress, whereas the 1.2, with its higher power, pulls with less fuss and sits at motorway speeds with less effort. At junctions you can use second gear with greater confidence, as it needs fewer revs to haul the car along.
Since the 107 Ireland launch (2006) just under a 1,000 cars have been sold. While the sector is growing, Peugeot Ireland isn't getting carried away and expects 100 units to sell in a full year (circa 3.5% of the segment).
Due in Ireland in September, 108 pricing will be announced then. At the moment, Hyundai's five-seat i10 is the biggest seller in the class followed by a load of four-seaters, including the 'up! triplets' (Seat Mii, VW up! and Skoda Citigo). With over 820,000 '107' sales globally, the little Pug is popular. While the market for small cars in Ireland is modest, it will only grow.
So, why would you choose a 108 over an Aygo? Aygo is edgier but 108 gets a five-year warranty. 108's more conservative styling will win many customers over and there is a spare wheel! But the 1.2-litre engine's extra bit of power turns 108 into a very decent car for long journeys too.