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Peugeot 107 Verve 5-door

Click to view picture gallerySex sells — or at least Peugeot
  hopes it still does with their current
  DriveSexy advertising campaign
  highlighting the added-specification
  Verve editions of their 107

TO SAMPLE SOME 'VERVE' FOR MYSELF I tried the chic and cutely styled 107, 1.0-litre city car. This model weighs in with a price tag of 8,845 with three doors and 9,105 in five-door form but the range starts at 7,795 for the 107 Urban Lite three-door. To make it more confusing, currently Peugeot are offering the 107 Urban Lite in their DriveSexy campaign for a frugal 6,620 once the current customer saving of 1,175 has been taken off the official price.

Small City/Mini cars are 'big' business due to today's recession-hit new car market — the sector showed an 84% growth for the new '09 registration plate month of March. Long-time leader of this sector is the Ford Ka but the less distinctively styled new model is taking its time to find favour with previously dedicated Ka owners.

The 107 achieved second position in the sector's sales charts last year with over 16,500 UK registrations — just ahead of the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo which are essentially the same vehicles. The highly rated, cheaper but remarkably well 'specced' Hyundai i10, the 'cult' Fiat 500 and, most recently, the Suzuki Alto, will all make life tough going for the established sellers in this emerging, but still relatively small, market sector.

So DriveSexy — what's it all about? According to Peugeot's marketing gurus, drivers should be following the ten commandments of modern day motoring, namely:

Smile at the driver next to you at the traffic lights; wave to a traffic warden rather than curse them (no two-finger salutes, please); in a queue, let the vehicle from the left filter in; take the B-road to work rather than the motorway; dry your hair with the roof down (CC models only); use the shop front as a mirror; drive smoothly to save fuel; never drink and drive; throw away the map and switch off the SatNav; and go for a drive in the middle of the night. For the record, I did check that this advice wasn't issued on the first of April!

In reality, sex no longer sells — and it can actually turn people off rather than on. If the price is right and the size is right, it will sell. But as long as size doesn't matter, the 107 still has things going for it: low CO2 emissions, low fuel consumption and lots of cute styling.

The 107 was initially launched in June 2005 and for 2009 the sexy little number received a facelift, even better fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions and enhanced equipment with an upgraded interior. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine now has a combined-cycle fuel consumption of 62.7mpg (a 2% improvement) and CO2 emissions are lowered from 108 to 106g/km, retaining the 35 road tax 'B' banding.

The Verve model was fed into the top of the 107 range a month or so ago and the extra equipment over the popular 107 Urban includes air conditioning, 14-inch alloy wheels, a rev-counter, Verve floor mats and external Verve identity badges. Body colours are Laser Red, Raven Black, new Electra Blue and the new Mandalin Orange. Verve prices are being promoted from 8,845 for the three-door version and 9,195 for the less popular but more user-friendly five-door. Electronic control Stability should be fitted as standard — it isn't; and it costs an extra 310.

“During a week’s
motoring, including
motorway trips
and town use, my
test car returned an
exceptional 67.1mpg
Now we have the sexy foreplay out of the way what about the car? My test 107 model was the new Verve five-door which unfortunately carries a hefty price tag of 9,195 — but as we know, the market is full of offers so do not expect to pay that amount. If a budget three-door model with the same 1.0-litre, fuel-efficient engine is more than adequate for city and down driving or commuting then the current 6,620 offer for the Urban Lite version has to be worth considering instead.

Whether they are three- or five-door models, the 107 is a compact 3,430mm in length and all versions have a 4-star Euro NCAP impact safety rating. Insurance is rated at a very low 1E so that helps with running costs.

Seating is ample for two at the front but very limited for even two children in the rear and the 139 litres of boot space is only enough for shopping bags. Access to the boot is via a natty, deep glass tailgate. It is a small, compact car most often seen, in my experience, being driven by ladies of all ages and the official first car to the well-off 'ladies who lunch'.

All models have the willing but throaty 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine which has a modest output of 68bhp and 69lb ft at 3,600rpm. The transmission is a manual five-speed unit and it is slick, light and precise to use. An automated, clutchless 2-Tronic gearbox option is available for the middle of the range Urban three- and five-door models for an extra 500. While flexible and ideal for the most common urban driving conditions, the willing engine does need to be pushed to make its way up hills and when overtaking.

Neither is the 107 disgraced on motorways. The car is far more stable than many other city cars and it can cruise happily at the maximum legal speed. The top speed, by the way, is 100mph and 0-62mph takes 14.2 seconds. Fuel economy is a strong selling point: 62.7mpg for the combined cycle which my test car easily beat during a week's motoring, including motorway trips and town use, with an exceptional 67.1mpg.

Road holding is secure; definitely not limpet-like but again for its role in life as a commuter or shopping car with occasional longer motorway journeys, it copes safely. The ride comfort can be harsh given our wrinkled, Botox-free UK road surfaces.

107 prices, except for the current customer offer, are no longer cheap due to the recent increases forced upon Peugeot because of the poorer value of the Pound against the Euro. Also, ESP is a 310 option, rear seat legroom is very limited and the boot small. Plus points include a willing engine, brilliant fuel economy and low road tax and insurance costs.

In whatever specification, the Peugeot 107 is cheeky and cute and fulfils the function of getting from A to B in a stylish and fuel-frugal manner. So while there are now cheaper competitor models in this sector, most are more functional than sexy and none seem to match the fuel economy of the 107 under real life motoring conditions. — David Miles

Peugeot 107 Verve 5-door
| 9,195
Maximum speed: 100mph | 0-62mph: 14.2 seconds
Overall test MPG: 67.1mpg | 68bhp | 69lb ft | CO2 106g/km