At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, it was all about the city car. Among the hybrids, supercars and out-of-this-world concepts were the latest breed of city cars. 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the city car.The Peugeot 108, Toyota Aygo and Citroën C1 are coming here later this summer. All three cars share the same underpinnings, but each will be wearing a different set of clothes to distinguish them from eachother.

The Renault Twingo is also arriving this year. The big surprise with the Twingo is that it’s going to have the engine in the back rather than the front. This seems radical for a city car, but Renault is promising more fun and agility with this configuration.

I am VERY excited to drive some of these new city cars. In the meantime, it’s always interesting to get an insight into the design process of a modern city car.

Ahead of the arrival of the Peugeot 108, the Design Director for the new 108 has been speaking about how the 108 begins a fresh chapter in Peugeot’s small car design story. The 108 is the next car in the “1-oh” series , carrying on from the 106 of the 1990s and the 107 of the Noughties.

The new 108 is longer, lower and more aerodynamic than the 107 it replaces. “The 107 had a very cab-forward ‘mono-volume’ silhouette, which at launch in 2005 was very modern,”  says Ivo Groën, Peugeot 108 Design Director. “We wanted to reduce the glass and increase the sculpting of the body, and at the same time give it a timeless elegance.”

The new 108 has a more premium and sophisticated feel to help differentiate it from its siblings from Citroën and Toyota, and to complement Peugeot’s intent to move the brand upmarket. It has its own interpretation of Peugeot’s ‘floating grille’ and lion claw effect rear lamps that can be seen on other Peugeots in the range like the 208 and 308.

Peugeot is also responding to the needs of the smartphone generation with a 7” touchscreen on all but entry level 108s that millenials are sure to love. “Connectivity was a key point for 108, which wasn’t the case with the 107 because no one had a smartphone. For 108 it’s about your smartphone but in the middle of the dashboard,” says Groën.

With options for personalisation, the 108 is following the trend for fun city cars like the Opel Adam, MINI and Fiat 500, that can say a little bit about your taste and personality. This is great but approach the options list with caution. The two tone paint finish on our pictured 108 might be a step too far!

Peugeot 108
Peugeot 108

Caroline Kidd