BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Figure this one out for me, if you would. The Peugeot 107 citycar was launched at the same time as its sister vehicles, the Citroen C1 and the Toyota Aygo. The Citroen was the cheapest and was also offered with a diesel engine. The Toyota was the plushest and most adventurously styled. The Peugeot, sitting somewhere in the middle with by far the most limited model run looked like it was going to bomb. Badly. Yet trawl the classifieds for used examples of these cars and you'll find as many 107s as the other two cars put together. It seems that when it comes to sub-supermini type citycars, British customers have a Goldilocks syndrome, and the 107 has proved neither too little nor too much.
Those of you who keep tabs on the motoring scene will already know that the 107 came about as a result of as partnership between PSA Peugeot Citroen and Toyota. Manufactured at a specialist plant in Kolin in the Czech Republic, the 107 represents a third of the factory's 300,000 annual output, with a good proportion of the baby bouncing Czechs heading for the UK, one of Peugeot's biggest global markets. Since then, the 107 has notched up decent sales figures, despite the early lack of a diesel model. It seems British customers are sufficiently savvy to be able to figure out that unless they're commuting to Kolin on a daily basis, a 1.0-litre petrol engine works out better value than opting for the 1.4-litre diesels sported from early on by the Toyota and Citroen. Sales have been buoyant with Peugeot shifting around 3,000 cars per month in the first year of production.
The Urban Lite trim level slotted in beneath the Urban in Winter 2006, further enhancing the 107's low cost credentials by stripping out some features and nudging the entry-level price earthward. The Sport XS models turned up early in 2007 with spoilers a twin exhaust and red interior detailing but the same modest 1.0-litre engine.
What You Get
The design brief for the 107 was to engineer a compact car with an assertive character, versatility in use and above all, that was totally at ease in the urban environment. To meet these criteria, a number of restrictions were placed on the initial proposal. The length of the car wasn't to exceed 3.5 metres, yet a whole host of safety features needed to be included, as well as enough wheelbase to accommodate a five-door body style.
The final execution exceeded initial requirements, breaking the tape at 3.43 metres long. This makes it fully 25cm shorter than the old 106. The dimensions of the 107 can really only be appreciated when walking around the car. Compared to the 1007 that Peugeot introduced around the same time - itself no giant - the 107 is smaller in every regard. The three-door shape looks the most comfortable from a design perspective, but the five-door has proven a bigger commercial success. The angled window line gives the car a cute wedge profile and the flared rear haunches really emphasise the wheel-at-each-corner layout.
The 107 features some neat design touches. The glazed-in area surrounding the rear window is finished in black, giving the car a very distinctive rump, especially when it's painted in paler colours. The front end also features the wide mouthed Peugeot family design debuted on the 407. Coupled with the huge eyes created by the headlamps, this gives the 107 a more distinctive face than virtually any other car on sale today. Eight exterior colours were offered - five metallic and three solid hues.
What to Look For
The 107 hasn't had any major faults or serious recalls but do insist on a fully stamped up service record and inspect the car carefully for parking knocks and scrapes. The 107's plastic bumpers can shrug off some quite hefty scuffs without affecting their function but if there are abrasions use them as a negotiating point. The interior is very hardwearing.
(approx based on a 2005 107 Urban 1.0) 107 spares are relatively cheap with an oil filter retailing at around £8, a starter motor retailing at around £90 and front brake pads costing a very reasonable £30 a pair.
On the Road
You can see why Peugeot launched here with just the 1.0-litre, reflecting the 107's urban bias and offering a sprint to 60mph that takes 14 seconds. The good news is the fact that this 1.0-litre engine is predictably excellent in terms of fuel economy and emissions. The combined economy figure is 61.4mpg and emissions are pegged at an excellent 109g/km. The diesel engine would put the asking price up considerably with limited benefits in terms of economy and drivability. The 2-Tronic self-shifting gearbox is worth looking for if you don't mind the modest performance being blunted still further.
To ensure the optimum safety of its passengers, the 107 relies on its structure for high speed impact protection - quite an accomplishment considering that a small car has to absorb impact energy quickly. Each passenger seat can accommodate a child seat, while the 50/50 split rear bench seat is equipped on both sides with ISOFIX fixtures incorporating three anchorage points for the installation of an ISOFIX child seat. This overall design places the 107 in the best possible position to satisfy Euro NCAP criteria for the protection of occupants. In the design of the front of the vehicle and the layout of the different mechanical components of the 107, careful attention has been paid to the consequences of a collision with a pedestrian. Thanks to a special impact beam in front of the bumper and a bonnet that creates the maximum possible distance between it and mechanical components underneath, pedestrian protection is maximised.
The Peugeot 107 has more than lived up to its manufacturer's expectations and with a decent array of choice on the used market, you should easily be able to pick up the car you're after. Trust Peugeot to make car buying this easy.