City cars are becoming more and more popular, even Aston Martin has one, (although it seems like they broke into a local Toyota dealership and stole an iQ and are trying to pass off as their own). But what seems to have been forgotten in all the excitement of ‘big car’ manufacturers producing small cars, are the small cars that have been there before the trend began.
Peugeot introduced the 107 in 2003, replacing the very popular 106, and the popularity doesn’t seem to have stopped the small car fans choosing the baby Peugeot. I spent a week in the 5-door Envy (retail special edition) and I can honestly say I have never seen so many 107’s before. Granted, you tend to notice other cars that match yours when you drive about, comparing wheels and bumpers and the like, but it seemed like every second car was a 107.
So what makes this little city car so popular?
Well, firstly let’s talk style. The 107 isn’t the prettiest car in the sector, but it’s not offensive to look at either – the Envy model features specific styling cues, including some smart little 14” alloys and tinted windows, as well as air conditioning. The front bumper has been vajazzled with chrome, helping highlight the big Peugeot Lion sat neatly in the bonnet, and a very bubble shaped booty hosts equally as bubbly rear lights. These surround the rear window, which is also the boot lid, in this case tinted, above an impressive bulge of a bumper. Like I said, not the prettiest but achieves exactly what it needs to be a city car – plus the option to have 5 doors over the normal 3-door solutions.
Jumping into the 107 isn’t unpleasant either. Comfortable cloth interior, with an unfortunately plastic looking trim creates a nice spacious feel to the cabin. The centre console is neat, housing a simple stereo with CD and AUX input functions, and underneath the air conditioning unit sits within a pearly white bezel, which glows a complimentary orange at night like the rest of the instruments. A big issue I have with small city cars is the lack of security inside, and by that I mean glove boxes.
RANT WARNING RANT WARNING RANT WARNING RANT WARNING RANT WARNING RANT WARNING
MINI were my first target for not including one, and the Toyota iQ’s solution was not the best for storing things like portable sat-nav’s, especially when the luxury isn’t even a cost option, making the only solution a portable one. Being that the idea of that a city car bases most of it’s travel in the city, not having a glove box means everything inside your car is on display, laid out beautifully for thieves to browse. City cars need proper concealed storage!!
The 107 suffers from this terrible ordeal also, meaning I left nothing in the car – not practical for younger drivers who tend to live in their cars for at least the first year just to avoid their parents. The one saving grace being that to the left of the steering column was a tiny cubby perfect for an mp3 player to hide in while plugged in to the stereo AUX (a sat-nav however would not be so safe).
Onto substance and the 107 Envy comes with a good range of standard equipment: power steering, electric front windows, remote central locking, 50/50 split rear seats and air conditioning to list but a few. However most of this is seen in the Urban specification, just the air conditioning and tinted rear windows plus the alloys are extra in the Envy spec. As I mentioned earlier, space isn’t just felt but it’s workable also - The split rear seats are useful for cramming in the extra luggage that the third person maybe carrying and is more than adequate to fit a weeks shopping in with the seats down.
Driving the 107 is pleasant too, with its 1.0-litre engine it won’t be seen drifting round the town centre, but a steadily paced 14.2 seconds from 0-62mph will make even the speed freaks sit back and appreciate the surroundings more. I have come to realise however, that the little old people pulling onto the M4 at 50mph aren’t being spiteful, their just going to take 4 seconds longer to do it because they’re doing the best with what they’ve got. A little harsh maybe, but the little Pug could do with a bit more push, against competitors like the Chevrolet Spark and Ford KA, the 107 just doesn’t perform as well. I think driving should be an engaging experience, be it a city car or countryside cruiser, and although it handles like a go-kart, it doesn’t shape up when talking performance.
Pricing is competitive to say the least, the 5-door derivative means that extra £500 or so is justified - the model I tested came in at the top price of £10,145 which included more than a happy meal and is a great introduction to motoring. However, with many competitors offering ‘big car feeling in a smaller car’ in terms of options and luxury levels, the next Peugeot 107 will have to be a little more impressive. I wouldn’t buy one myself, but looking at Peugeot’s recent releases (the 508 and RCZ mainly) it isn’t hard to see that our French friends are producing some top class cars and it would be great to see elements of that re-created in the smaller models in future.