Add in a contemporary and connectivity-oriented interior – plus a huge range of personalisation options inside and out – and the 108 simply oozes appeal.
At 3,470mm bumper to bumper, the car is 40mm longer than its predecessor, the much-loved Peugeot 107. The overall width remains the same (1,630mm), while the maximum roof height is 10mm lower (1,460mm).
The 108’s personality-packed exterior was chosen following an internal competition at parent company PSA’s Design Centre in Vélizy, near Paris.
Ivo Groën, Peugeot 108 Design Director, said the goal was to give the car a more premium and sophisticated feel, supporting the Brand’s move upmarket and helping differentiate the 108 from its siblings, the Citroën C1 and Toyota Aygo.
Groën explained: "The 107 had a very cab-forward ‘mono-volume’ silhouette, which at launch in 2005 was very modern. We wanted to give the 108 more of a nose and the powerful feeling that comes with that. We wanted to reduce the glass and increase the sculpting of the body, and at the same time give it a timeless elegance."
He said his team discarded many designs in the quest for the right look, not because they were bad drawings but they didn’t fit with the brief.
The 108’s ‘nose’ is dominated by its reinterpretation of the ‘floating grille’ as seen on recent new models such as the Peugeot 208, 2008 Crossover and New 308. All of the car’s extra length is at the front, improving its impact-protection credentials.
The grille is flanked by advanced bi-focal projector lamp headlights which, of the three sibling models, are unique to Peugeot. The hi-tech unit is one of the most compact automotive light clusters available on any car today. Similar technology can be seen on the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, illustrating how premium components from the Brand’s larger vehicles are now appearing on its smallest model.
At the 108’s rear, the ‘lion claw’ lamps provide an obvious link to the rest of the Peugeot range. Between them, the lightweight all-glass hatch gives a very clean and contemporary look. The external hinges of the 107 are gone, hidden on the 108 by a sporty roof spoiler – standard across the range – which also houses the high-level brake light. This design feature also helps improve the car’s aerodynamic performance; the Cd value has come down from 0.34 on the 107 to 0.29 on the 108.
Available in three and five-door body styles, the 108’s cabin space is almost identical to the outgoing model. Where it is larger is in the boot, with a huge improvement in usable space. Cargo-carrying capacity has increased from 139 litres on the 107 to 196 litres in the 108.
The cockpit sees a marked improvement in material quality, fit and finish. The dashboard has been deliberately styled around the central stack, which includes a superb 7-inch touch-screen in all but entry level Access trim – expected to account for less than 5% of UK sales.
Ivo Groën, continued: "Connectivity was a key point for 108, which wasn’t the case with the 107 because no one had a smartphone. For 108 it’s about your smartphone but in the middle of the dashboard. We wanted a very simple design horizontally and to have the vertical interface with connectivity. Everything else was built around that."
Depending on trim level and personalisation options, the 108 features a vibrant mix of a black upper dash, contrasting with gloss black, white, aikinite (bronze) and body colour elements.
The bright, easy-to-read main instrument binnacle is attached to the top of the rake-adjustable steering wheel housing and so moves with it for the perfect view. A multi-function steering wheel is standard on all but Access trim.
Integrated headrests remain a feature of the two front seats, which demonstrate even greater comfort, support and quality compared to the 107. The driver’s seat is now height-adjustable on all but Access trim, and on three-door models both front seats gain a memory function. This means they will always return to the same position when tilted forward to allow passengers into the rear.
The 108’s Design Director, Ivo Groën, concluded: "Throughout history Peugeots have been very simple and classy, but also sporty, dynamic and elegant. I believe we have achieved this with the Peugeot 108."