It’s no secret that the city car segment has been flooded with new entrants recently. There’s Hyundai’s much-improved i10 and then there are Volkswagen’s UP!, Mii and Citigo triplets. These all-new models continue to raise the bar, but where does this leave established rivals such as Peugeot’s tiny-tot 107?
The 107 has always been one of the more interesting cars in its class, with its dinky dimensions and wheel-at-each-corner design. Despite being around for 8 years, its two facelifts during this time seem to have done the trick as it’s still a good looking, funky little car.
Inside it’s like stepping back in time. I can’t remember the last time I saw such vast areas of exposed metal and little pencil-like sticks to lock each of the doors or adjust the mirrors. Despite this it has charm by the bucket load. The dashboard couldn’t be simpler to use with very few buttons and the weirdest orange-glowing cylindrical heater controls that amazingly, prove a doddle to operate. The large, clear speedo sits alone behind the leather wrapped steering wheel with a separate pod sprouting out of the side housing a rev counter.
As the 107 was developed in partnership with Toyota, it’s easy to see the influence inside with fixtures and fittings that feel meticulously well bolted together. The bobbly material used on the dash and door panels is of particularly decent quality and could shame cars from the class above. My only gripe is the lack of a window switch on the driver’s side to open the passenger window and manual door mirrors that are a nightmare to adjust from the driver’s seat.
For such a compact car practicality isn’t bad with rear doors that open nice and wide and the absence of c-pillars creates really wide apertures for getting in and out. The cabin feels airy with enough room for the gangliest of occupants but those in the back probably won’t be impressed by the pop-out rear windows that will make the cabin stuffy in summer. Storage areas throughout the cabin are plentiful; I counted 12 cubbies in the front for all manner of oddments but it’s just a shame there is no glovebox to hide valuables out of sight.
Boot space seems to have come at the expense of passenger room as the 107 only has a 139 litre boot, trailing the majority of its rivals, but the rear seats come with a 50/50 split bench which fold easily for larger items. A word of warning though, access to the boot is a little restricted with a high lip and narrow opening.
If you want tons of gadgets to play with, then the 107 probably isn’t the car for you, but the basics are there. The top Allure model you see here comes with electric front windows, air conditioning, alloy wheels, remote central locking and a four speaker cd player with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Lower spec cars however miss out on essentials such as a rev counter, snazzy daytime running lights, air conditioning and electric windows. Antilock Brakes and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution with Cornering Stability Control are however standard fit across the range.
Choosing the right engine for your 107 couldn’t be easier as there is only one option. A Toyota-derived 998cc, three-cylinder petrol unit producing 68 bhp. Despite weighing just 790 kg the little Peugeot still takes 14.2 seconds to reach 60 mph but you can easily forgive it, as its natural habitat is around town where it feels perfectly zippy. If you’ve never driven a car with a three-cylinder engine before then you are in for a treat as the 107’s best feature has to be the noise it makes. I have to admit I often found myself giving the throttle a sharp prod at junctions just to hear the thrummy roar.
To drive the 107 offers a near perfect balance of French comfort and Japanese solidity. Throw it into a corner and you are rewarded with very little body roll and startling levels of grip despite the narrow tyres. Well weighted, precise steering that delivers just enough feedback and an agile chassis make most journeys a giggle. Only the rubbery and imprecise five-speed gearbox let the side down a little, especially as you have to change gear so frequently to keep the engine on the boil.
Ride comfort is typically French in its forgiving nature with the ability to soak up any road surface it comes across much better than many much larger cars. Venture out of town though and the 107 begins to feel out of its depth, and you will find yourself having to rev the engine hard to keep up with the flow of traffic. As you pick up pace, refinement really suffers as engine, road and wind noise start to infiltrate the cabin.
No city car would live up to its name without tiny running costs and the 107 is no exception. With emissions falling into VED Band A (99 g/km of CO2) you won’t be paying anything for road tax and you should see 55.3 mpg combined and up to 74.3 mpg if driven cautiously on longer journeys. Furthermore the 107 sits in a teenager-friendly insurance group 3.
Price as tested: £10,045
Engine: 1.0 12v 68bhp – 0-62mph: 14.2 secs – Maximum Speed: 100mph
Economy: 55.3mpg (urban) –74.3mpg (extra-urban), 65.7mpg (combined)
Emissions: 99g/km (Band A) – VED (12 months): £0
Dimensions: Length 3430mm – Width: 1630mm – Height: 1465mm – Wheelbase: 2340mm *data from Peugeot UK