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TOP OF THE TOWN (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The Peugeot 108 Top! might be an appealing option if you thought you couldn't afford a small convertible. Jonathan Crouch looks at the revised version.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 47
The Peugeot 108 hatch offers a 'convertible' version in the form of the 108 Top! Actually 'convertible' might be a bit of a stretch, as this one has a sliding canvas roof, but it still affords fresh-air fun at prices which start from just over twelve grand.
Backgroundword count: 151
If there's one thing that Peugeot's current range of models tells us, it's that manufacturing cars is often a cyclical business. Wind the clock back just ten years and there was barely a vehicle in Peugeot's range you could wholeheartedly recommend. The underwhelming 307, the over-achieving 206, the tired 406 and the baleful 607 were the backbone of a product line-up that looked doomed. These days, the Peugeot range is stuffed with talent, from the excellent 308 to the perky 208 and the clever 5008, this French company is in a real purple patch. When companies achieve this momentum, it tends to self-perpetuate, with young and exciting design talent queuing up for a chance to show what they can do. Peugeot's 108 citycar looks set to continue this rich run of form and in Top! cabrio guise, it once again demonstrates that Peugeot isn't afraid to do something fresh and funky.
Driving Experienceword count: 230
As you'd probably expect, this Top! cabriolet is mechanically identical under the bonnet to its hard top sibling. That means you get the Vti 72 Euro 6.d-TEMP engine now used across the 108 range, which comes with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a (rather jerky) 2-Tronic semi-auto transmission. The auto variant will certainly suit urban-bound folk, people who'll appreciate the light steering and a kerb-to-kerb 10m turning circle so tight that even if you spot a parking place on the other side of the road, you may be able to throw a quick U-turn to snaffle it. When reversing into a narrow bay, it's almost comical how little car there is behind the rear seats and it's worth remembering that you can afford to leave yourself some breathing room at the back. Parking like this is especially easy thanks to the light power steering that'll twirl you easily into the smallest slot. A lot of work has gone into making the 108 a livelier drive without compromising on quality feel. The suspension has come in for a lot of attention. Where the old 107 was a bit bouncy, Peugeot has tried to engineer in a level of suppleness that's more befitting of a bigger car. To that end, the 108 gets upgraded suspension springs, higher spec shock absorbers and a bigger anti-roll bar to help body control in corners.
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