19 Jul 2013

Peugeot 107 - The DriverVibe review

In the past year the city car segment has been flooded with all new models including the new Fiat Panda and the Volkswagen group’s hottest triplets the VW UP!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo. These clean sheet designs are stealing valuable sales from already established models such as Peugeot’s tiny-tot 107. We hit the road to find out if Peugeot’s baby still holds appeal in light of newer models raising the bar even further.

The 107 has always been one of the more interesting cars in its class with its tiny dimensions and wheel-at-each-corner design. Its bubble shape is dominated by pretty massive, cute looking front light units, neatly flared wheel arches and a pert rear end with high-mounted lights sitting either side of the glass tailgate. Despite being around for 8 years having had two facelifts it’s still a cracking looking little car that still looks funky and fresh.

Step inside the and its back to the 80’s which was probably the last time you saw masses of exposed metal and little pencil-like sticks to lock each of the doors or adjust the mirrors, all that’s missing is a tape player! Despite this it has bags of charm. The dashboard is a lesson in simplicity with very few buttons and the weirdest orange-glowing cylindrical heater controls we have ever seen that proved a doddle to use. The large, clear speedometer sits on its own behind the leather steering wheel with a separate pod sprouting out of the side housing the rev counter.

Toyota’s influence inside is evident; everything feels meticulously well screwed together - the textured material used on the dash and door panels is of particularly decent quality and wouldn't look out of place in a car from the class above. All of the switches feel solid and are cited where you would expect them to be. One gripe we had is the lack of passenger window controls for the driver and manually adjustable door mirrors that are a nightmare to adjust from the drivers seat.

Surprisingly for a car of such tiny proportions practicality is actually very good with rear doors that open nice and wide and the lack of C-pillars results in usefully large openings. Thanks to generously proportioned windows the cabin feels airy with enough room for the gangliest of occupants. In the rear we found legroom to be much better than expected but it’s a strict 4 seater. Those in the back probably won’t be impressed by the pop-out rear windows similar to those of 3 doors cars; they are good way to save money but will make the cabin stuffy in summer.

Spacious rear seats mean that unfortunately boot space has suffered at only 139 litres with the seats in place trailing the Kia Picanto’s much healthier 200 litres but thankfully this can be increase by folding the 50/50 split bench. Access to the boot is also pretty poor as essentially the 107 only has an opening rear window so there is a considerable lip to lift items over. Storage space throughout the cabin is plentiful, we counted 12 cubbies in the front for all manner of oddments but it’s just a shame there is a shelf instead of a proper glove box to hide valuables away from prying eyes.

Equipment levels are, to be polite sparse even on our top spec Allure model. Our car came with electric front windows, air conditioning, alloy wheels, remote central locking and a 4 speaker CD player with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Lower spec cars miss out on essentials such as a rev counter, the snazzy daytime running lights, air conditioning and electric windows.

Thankfully life-saving electronic aids are fitted across the range including anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution with cornering stability control. It’s a shame to see that base Access models only come with driver and passenger airbags; stepping up to mid-spec Active trim gains front side curtain airbags. Further to this if you pay an additional £450 on the Allure model rear curtain airbags can be added. The 107 fared reasonably well in the rigorous Euro NCAP crash tests scoring 4 stars out of a maximum of 5 although quite a few of its rivals have since bagged the coveted 5 star award.

The only engine available is a 998 cc, 3-cylinder, 12 valve petrol producing 68 bhp and 93 Nm of torque designed by Toyota. Thanks to the 107’s minuscule 790 kg kerbweight it does a decent job of pulling the car along. With 0-60 mph taking a palatial 14.2 seconds it’s not going to win any races but its natural habitat is around town where it’s perfectly zippy. Probably the biggest plus has to be the soundtrack, if you have never driven a 3-cylinder engine before the only words to describe the sound are unique and characterful. You will find yourself revving the engine unnecessarily at junctions just to hear the throaty roar.

If you find car ownership expensive then the 107 will be right up your street, if you choose the manual transmission it just sneaks under the group A emissions bracket at 99 g/km of CO2 qualifying for free road tax and sits in a teenager-friendly insurance group 3. Owners can also expect 55.3 mpg combined and up to 74.3 mpg if driven carefully on longer journeys. We averaged 59 mpg whilst the Peugeot was with us which meant its 35 litre fuel tank lasted much longer than we expected.

It’s good news for younger drivers as Peugeot have recently extended their “Just Add Fuel” scheme to include drivers as young as 21. The all-inclusive, inflation proof three year package provides comprehensive motor insurance, road tax, vehicle servicing, roadside assistance and warranty all in a three year finance package with one single monthly payment. It’s a great scheme for young drivers but a hefty deposit is still needed.

Then there is the issue of Peugeot’s asking price for the 107. Our top of the range Allure tips the scales at £10,045 on the road which seems a lot for a basic city car when for the same cash you can bag a larger, more refined Ford Fiesta. Lower down in the range makes much more sense, a 3 door Access costs £7,995 but misses out on essential kit such as air conditioning and electric windows.

On the road the 107 is a near perfect mix of French comfort and Japanese solidity. The clutch is light and easy to operate at the steering is nicely weighted with just enough feedback filtering back to the driver to inspire confidence. The 5 speed gearbox on the other hand is a let-down feeling overly rubbery and imprecise. It’s made worse as you have to change gear so frequently to keep the engine on the boil.

Turn into a corner and the 107 rewards the driver with minimal body roll and respectable levels of grip despite the skinny tyres, if you do push it too hard you can gradually feel the tyres beginning to loose grip introducing mild understeer but step off the throttle and the front end tucks in neatly. It feels very agile and almost go-kart like thanks to its short wheelbase and well controlled body movements.

Ride comfort was much better than we expected feeling typically French in its soft nature with the ability to soak up any road surface it encounters much better than many much larger cars. Visibility is superb all round making darting around in town more fun than it should be and parking couldn't be easier. Venture out of the city and the 107 starts to feel out of its depth forcing the driver to really rev the engine hard to keep up with the flow of traffic. As speeds increase engine, road and wind noise levels follow suit not helped by the exposed metal doors making the 107 tiring on long journeys.


Price as tested: £10,045
Engine: 1.0 12v 68 bhp - 0-62 mph: 14.2 secs - Maximum Speed: 100 mph -
Economy: 55.3 mpg (urban) –74.3 mpg (extra-urban), 65.7 mpg (combined) - Emissions: 99 g/km (Band A) - VED (12 months): £0
Dimensions: Length 3430 mm - Width: 1630 mm - Height: 1465 mm - Wheelbase: 2340 mm
*data from Peugeot UK


Despite its advancing years the 107 still feels appealingly modern and is very practical with plenty of room for 4 passengers and costs peanuts to run. On the road is fails to disappoint with accomplished handling and a comfortable ride, the only black mark is its lack of refinement at higher speeds. This is forgiven as after all this is a city car. In its natural habitat the 107 is wonderfully maneuverable, a doddle to park and its perky 3-cylinder engine is more than capable and sounds fantastic. Admittedly the class has moved on and the newest arrivals will give the cute Peugeot a run for its money, and that is its biggest flaw. in the higher trim levels it’s simply too expensive. Despite this the 107 feels like such a complete package and is everything you could ever need from a city car. It has the ability to make you question why we need such lavish, well equipped cars with powerful engines – the 107 is basic, and all the better for it.

Words by Rob McSorley
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