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Peugeot 107 Urban 5-door

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Sixty-seven mpg
  under real life
  a dash of style and
  a pinch of big-car
  feel, all at a very
  nice price.
  Get acquainted
  with Peugeot
  cheeky 107

OKAY, SO A 107 IS UNLIKELY TO BE FIRST CHOICE FOR JASON STATHAM in the guise of delivery driver extraordinaire Frank Martin of Transporter fame. For many drivers, however, that may well be a ringing endorsement. Compact cars are in big demand just now, and not only with downsizers. What matters most in our shrinking world is MPG and the 107 certainly delivers when it comes to fuel efficiency.

We averaged 60.8mpg over a week's hard testing, a tad shy of the official combined figure of 61.3mpg. However, when regular MotorBar contributor David Miles tested the 107 he managed a truly impressive 67.1pg — and he certainly wasn't trying to save fuel!

Add to that CO2 emissions (106g/km) that are good enough to excuse the 107 from the tiresome Congestion Charge and keep the annual road tax bill to just 35 and you have a case of Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the greenest of them all? Peugeot should be proud of the model's services to the environment: The name's Seven: One-O-Seven...

And going green with petrol means you still have a 'real world' car that doesn't need recharging more often than your mobile. Peugeot's sassy-looking 107 comes with two or four doors and ultra-compact external dimensions yet on the inside there's still enough room for four adults and some carry-on luggage.

Swing open one of the wide-opening front doors and you'll find a surprisingly liveable cabin. This may be an 'economy' buy but there's nothing cheapskate about it. Front seat occupants have a good amount of room above their heads — about four inches for a near-six-footer — along with good legroom and room to flex an elbow, or two. The seats feature integrated head restraints and unexpectedly good side support and are upholstered in a stylish fabric: black with patterned black inserts.

There's an interesting mix of finishes and textures for the rest of the trim, offset by some exposed metal in body colour — our test car was finished in an attractive Electra Blue metallic, and the visible areas on the door panels added a pleasant ambience to the cabin. Both the three-spoke steering wheel and the dash-top are covered in a tactile 3D material that looks nice and feels interesting to the touch.

While we might live in an information age, too much information can be distracting. What a driver needs is not information overload but the right information in the right place — and not too much of it. The 107 obliges, paring driver information to the bare essentials.

Apart from fundamental warning lights, the trip computer tells you just two things: the car's lifetime mileage and the trip mileage. An average mpg read-out would have been welcome, given the feel-good fuel consumption, but you'll just have to make do with watching the bar display count down slower than paint drying.

At the legal limit you
have to keep
a watchful eye
on the speedometer
because it’s deceptively
easy to go
much faster
There's only one dial — sited dead ahead of the driver is an easy-to-read speedometer that also contains the digital bar-graph fuel gauge. If you enjoy watching the revs climb as you accelerate, there's a stand-alone rev-counter mounted on the fascia that's clearly visible at one o'clock above the rim of the wheel. Something a lot of drivers like to have but not neccessary if you have sensitive hearing.

And that's about it. The manually-adjustable mirrors are fine although it's a bit of a stretch for the driver to lean across to reach the nearside joystick. Peugeot take note: early Mercedes models used to have an electric passenger door mirror but a manually-operated offside one for the driver. Likewise the 107's electric front windows: no fancy auto one-shot features here, but they are power-operated. Again, it's a stretch for the driver to operate the passenger window. Apart from that, all the key controls are easy to reach and use. The steering wheel, incidentally, only adjusts for height; but it's not a problem.

Our test 107 was the mid-range Urban spec model and was fitted with the optional (520) air conditioning. It's effective and the control panel is easy to access, being set in the middle of the fascia below the radio/CD unit (with MP3 socket). There's no formal glovebox but instead you get a decent-sized open bin. Apart from item being on show, it's just as useful. You'll also find a number of various open cubby-holes dotted around the cabin, along with useful door pockets on both front and rear doors. Overall the trim is all well fitted and you certainly wouldn't say it looks cheap. In fact, the airy cabin is pleasant and quite trendy.

Adult rear passengers can get comfortable on the 50:50 split rear bench seat, helped by particularly accommodating foot room and armrests built into the door panels. Getting in and out of the rear is easy and when not in use the two rear headrests slide down out of the driver's sight-line. The rear windows on five-door models are side-hinged at the front. They can be opened to about two inches at the trailing edge and locked in place — and do a good job of keeping the interior freshly aired on hot days. Children and teenagers are best served by the fairly upright rear seats although adults can make themselves at home there too — we recently spoke to someone who had travelled down to London from Edinburgh in the back of a 107 without complaint.

The rear seatbacks fold forward onto the seat base, which means you end up with a split level load-bay floor accessed, on five-door models, via the rear two side doors or the nifty deep glass hatch/rear screen. The boot is just 139 litres but it's surprising what will fit in there. The good news is that under the boot floor is a proper full-size spare wheel.

Prices, by the way, kick off at 7,795 for the three-door Urban Lite topping out at 9,195 for the five-door model in Verve spec. In the popularity stakes, the cutely-styled 107 pips the similar Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo at the sales post. Other contenders for buyers' cash in this sector include Suzuki's new Alto, the Fiat 500 and Hyundai's i10.

There is still a number of manufacturers offering Electronic Stability Control as an extra-cost option on some of their models — Peugeot is not the only one, but if you want it on your 107 it will cost you an extra 310. Apart from that, the 107 comes with a 4-star Euro NCAP rating, front and side airbags, ABS with EBFD and CSC and two rear Isofix mountings. If you need to fit a front child seat, you can easily deactivate the front passenger airbag with the ignition key. A set of four front and rear curtain airbags adds another 210 to the price.

With such compact dimensions — the 107 is a just 3,430 millimetres long, and that goes for both the three- and five-door versions — and helped by good visibility, it is ideal for the cut-and-thrust of urban traffic. The characterful-sounding engine is a willing collaborator, and despite just 68bhp and 70lb ft of torque at 3,600rpm, there's enough power on hand to take full advantage of gaps in the traffic.

Use the accelerator and the gears — the five-speed manual 'box has a positive change action — and the three-cylinder 998cc petrol engine proves to be eager; feeling much brisker than it's paper 0-62mph figure of 14.2 seconds would have you expect. Top speed is an exact 'ton' — 100mph. And it can get there, too.

The 107 feels equally at home cruising on motorways, where it whizzes along at the legal speed quite unperturbed. At this speed the cabin is as refined as those of bigger cars and there are no penalties when making long journeys. In fact, the 107 feels reassuringly stable for a 'city' car and you actually have to keep a watchful eye on the speedometer because it's deceptively easy to go quite a bit faster than 70mph — when passing slower moving traffic, for example.

Out on the road, the 107 is a likeable little number. Handling is safe and secure and fit to purpose, as is the ride quality. On fast-flowing A-roads it is keen enough and can be unexpectedly lively on country roads. Overall it's generally appealing and pleasant to drive and the electric power steering that makes parking a doddle also feels fine at speed.

The 107 is also one of the better looking small cars and respectfully achieves its mission statement of providing fuel-efficient transport (few can match its amazingly good 'real life' 67mpg) with a dash of cheeky style and some bigger-car feel all at a very nice price. — MotorBar

Peugeot 107 Urban 5-door
| 8,645
Maximum speed: 100mph | 0-62mph: 14.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 60.8mpg
Power: 68bhp | Torque: 70lb ft | CO2 106g/km | Insurance group 1E