CARS are a staple part of family life for most of us, just like potatoes.
Like potatoes, cars of particular categories do best in some but can be used for more than one purpose depending upon how they are prepared. You can have big ones for large families, medium sized for smaller families or little ones for couples.
The Peugeot 108 falls into the last category as a "micro-car" to use its modern classification and is part of the trio made along with the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo as a joint venture, and they share a range of common components but differ in styling, trim and price range.
The Peugeot is mid-ground in the trio, above the C1 but below the Aygo and its range of ten models with three or five doors, metal or fabric roof, runs from about £8,500 to just over £12,900.
There is a choice of 69ps 1.0 and 82ps 1.2-litre three-cylinder engines with five-speed manual or automatic gearboxes and the 108 comes in grades called Access, Active, Allure and Feline, and we opted for the best selling 82ps 1.2 Allure with Peugeot's PureTech engine.
This engine is a willing performer, spinning away from idle with a busy and not altogether unpleasant note which intensifies further up the rev-range.
The first gear is quite short ratio and you quickly have to move into a longer second gear, upwards to third and then into fourth but fifth really is only for cruising along motorways.
The top gear has little flexibility and most of the time you are directly slotting between three and four, and that happens frequently so the motorway consumption of about 50mpg soon dissolves and you are lucky to get over 40mpg, while we ended up with about 37mpg over some 500 miles over a variety of roads.
There is a long travel clutch contrasting with a stiff throttle and a sharp brake pedal underfoot while the handbrake was effective with only modest application.
Secondary controls are close to the driver, they couldn't be much else in the small cabin of the 108, and work well with modest sized and marked gauge showing speed and small fuel indicator built in with tacho to the left and some wasted spaces to the right. Obviously these blanks perform different tasks on alternative trims and models in the trio.
Heating and ventilation is easy and worked well with powered windows in the front.
Oddments space was modest and compartments small for a family car, but possibly adequate for commuting. The boot had a high sill to access items and the capacity ranged from 196 to 868 litres with the rear two seats down but not completely flat and level with the boot-floor.
With four small doors the access was fairly easy but in the rear even some teenagers would struggle with space and the cloth-covered seats were not very well shaped or supporting but were comfortable and had fairly good front adjustment.
Visibility was good throughout with low waistline, all corners in sight, very good wipers and adequate lights for the car's modest performance.
It was slow from standstill, you had to carefully consider overtaking opportunities to ensure you were in the best gear but it did easily hold the motorway limit. Performance went down when laden.
Off the main roads the very good turning circle was a tremendous asset in town and its lightness and size made it easy to park in tight spaces without being twitchy on more flowing roads.
Ride quality was reasonable. You felt bad bumps and heard how it coped with others and it rolled a bit around corners although the handling was predictable and safe.