FRENCH motor manufacturers have a reputation for producing small cars that are chic and fun to drive and Peugeot has just produced another little beauty which also enabled me to soak up some of the last rays of a very sunny summer writes Bryan Longworth.
For I was driving the Peugeot 108 Allure Top that is their version of the trio of cars jointly produced at a factory in the Czech Republic by Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota which as its name implies has a large retractable fabric roof that converts it into a cabrio style car.
With the Top in topless mode it provided really fun motoring especially when driving through the delightful Chatsworth Park and surrounding Peak District in bright sunshine which made the little Pug such an enjoyable car for such a route.
What made this model more user friendly was that the electrically operated top can be opened or closed at any speed so there is no need to stop when the driver wishes to go topless when the sun comes out or close it if it starts to rain.
And the cost of the full length fabric roof is only £850 which made the price of the test car that was powered by the three cylinder 1.2 petrol engine £12,245 - top speed is 106mph, zero to 62mph 11 seconds, combined mpg 65.7 mpg and CO2 emissions 99g/km which means no road tax.
It has an Audi style large front grille and Peugeot has done an excellent job personalising the 108 which looks quite different from the Citroen and Toyota models especially the Top 108 that looks really cool and has plenty of standard kit on board including a touch screen infotainment display and a very good rear view camera.
It is aimed at female owners and from my experience with the test car they have succeeded for a neighbour with a Ford Ka was so impressed she will be getting the 108 and Top in particular when it is time to say goodbye to the Ford.
After testing the other two models in the joint project I have now got used to that very distinctive sound from the three cylinder engine which surprisingly produces some very lively press-on motoring especially on challenging country roads.
The test car was a five door which I recommend rather than the three door for ease of access to the rear for passengers or shopping and there is enough room in the rear for two average sized passengers with considerable space for the one or two people up front.
At the rear the load area is what you would expect for such a small car and on the test car there was extra space under the floor in the wheel well because there was no space saver spare there and just a puncture kit
Instrumentation and switchgear are well designed but as with the other two cars in the trio I found the speedometer difficult to see in bright light conditions which has obvious problems if there are things like speed camera vans lurking at the roadside!
But otherwise I really enjoyed my time with the big selling 108 and in particular the Top model which made this city car all that more satisfying and is the one I would go for just like my neighbour is going to do.
Model: Peugeot 108 Allure 1.2 Top five door.
Engine: 1.2 three cylinder petrol.
Output: 82bhp @ 5759rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 106mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 11 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 65.7mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 99g/km.
Price: £12,425 on the road.