Peugeot 108 review - can Peugeot's smallest raise a smile? - Engine and gearbox

Peugeot's 108 city hatch has stiff competition against both its own siblings and the impressive VW Up

Evo rating
Price
from £8,995
  • Easy to drive and park, tiny footprint ideal for crowded cities
  • Feels unpolished and crude, tiring at high speeds

Engine and gearbox 

Three-cylinder engines tend to have a knack of being characterful – and to a point the Peugeot's does, but it is lacking in a few key areas. To start with, the 108’s overall engine refinement is distinctly average, starting up with less of a concise thrum and more of an accidental stumble into combustion. Vibration is quite pronounced from the driver's seat, so much so that the (overly tall) gearstick vibrated against a piece of trim so loudly, it almost drowned out the stereo.

The engine is relatively smooth, but quickly runs out of puff at higher revs, straining at anywhere above around 5,000rpm. This is not an unusual trait for a city car but being naturally aspirated, the engine leaves you with a fairly narrow powerband to work with.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

The gearbox is also quite vague, the sort that might have you hunting arround in search of third gear. With a bit of familiarisation you soon get used to it, but overall the drivetrain is an example of a common thread throughout the Peugeot 108 - namely that compared to rivals, it just doesn’t feel that well engineered. The VW Up (and its rebadged counterparts) feel far more sophisticated, and not just in the drivetrain department.

Most Popular

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs
Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs

1959 was a watershed year for Aston Martin. As the DBR1 swept all before it on the track, the first customers were taking deliveries of the all-new DB…
11 Oct 2020
SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020