2009 Peugeot 107 Verve 1.0 3-cylinder petrol from UK and Ireland
Cheap, cheerful, fun and practical little motor
When I first got the car, there was an issue with water ingress around the driver's door. Dealer quickly admitted that this was a known fault, and an upgraded seal kit was fitted, which did away with that problem. Also significantly reduced wind noise from the door, which was an unexpected bonus.
At about 10K miles the ABS light started to come on intermittently. This was sorted under warranty, and was apparently just some gunk on the sensor - they replaced it though as a precaution.
For the first few months of ownership, there was a tendency for the car to stall completely at random when stopping at junctions. It would always start straight up again without difficulty - but it was rather unnerving. The dealer couldn't find anything wrong - but the engine management software was updated at the first annual service, and the problem has never resurfaced, so we're guessing it was a firmware bug.
Only other faults have been a side indicator repeater that had to be replaced due to water ingress (£7.50 from the dealer) and a dust cap that disappeared from the rear windscreen wiper of its own accord somewhere on the M1. Again, a dirt cheap clip on part, so I'm not too worried there.
Final fault is actually more of a niggle, and has been there since I got the car - the mesh grille (dealer fit option) has never been seated properly on the front of the car, so the offside top corner sits slightly proud. Despite several requests of the dealers to sort this at service time, it's never been done. Now the car's out of warranty, I plan to sort it myself - sadly the whole bumper looks like it has to come off to do it properly, so it's likely to remain on the "to do" list until next spring when the bumpers are coming off when I fully rust-proof the underbody. This is down to a badly fitted dealer part though, not the car itself as it left the factory, so I don't bear any grudge against the car for it.
It's a cheap and cheerful little econobox, and does what it says on the tin.
They seem to have done a very good job here of designing a cheap car, rather than making a car cheaply. Rather than skimping on build quality, they've actually chosen materials carefully and designed in economy. Still seems well enough put together.
Styling is actually pretty distinctive for a tiny little box. Paint quality seems to be pretty good for a cheap car, and it looks pretty smart, especially with some of the dealer fit cosmetic accessories. In the case of my car, this included the twin headlamps, stainless steel mesh grille and the rear spoiler. The twin headlights actually do a very good job of getting extra light onto the road, so aren't just cosmetic (especially once I adjusted them properly - when I got them fitted by the dealer, they were pointing skywards).
In recognition of the fact that this is a model that a lot of people are likely to buy as their first car - hence are likely to have a few bumps and scrapes in, pretty much the entire nose of the car and about half the rear of it are encased in large plastic bumpers. While these are no doubt far from cheap to replace, no doubt they would be cheaper than actual bodywork repairs. I've not actually had them off, yet it doesn't look like they're hard to remove/fit, so at least you shouldn't be too hard hit by labour costs if you do need to change them. The panels unfortunately are made of the typically paper-thin metal common to all modern cars, so they do dent easily. I seem to have picked up a few dings on the rear quarters courtesy of errant shopping trolleys in supermarket car parks. Being a black car in this case as well, they are quite obvious, and there's not really much that can be done about it unfortunately.
Rust protection seems to be about average for a cheap car. After three years there are just a few bits of light surface rust starting to become visible in a few places under the car (bearing in mind that this lives in Scotland, about half a mile from the North Sea as well, where they salt the roads very heavily in winter) after three and a half years. I'll be investing a couple of hundred quid next year I think to have it professionally treated to keep it good for the next few years. Probably a sensible decision if you're buying a used one.
Interior is quite spartan, but "funky" I think would be a fair term. The trim is all grey plastic with a fine square pattern, and feels very solid, rather than flimsy as many competitors tend to. The dashboard in particular is a huge grey expanse in front of you (which makes reaching the bottom of the windscreen to clean it a nightmare!), which is partly because it's symmetrical to allow left/right hand drive cars to use the same parts, just with the steering column (which has the instrument cluster attached to it rather than the dashboard) and pedals switched to the other side. The only other control which needs to be moved for LHD models is the headlight level control, which trades places with the passenger airbag override, and the seats are also identical, so only one type needs to be made. Clever bit of cost saving engineering there. On the doors there are large portions of metal visible, so the interior can look really quite fun with the right cloth choice if you've picked a bright exterior colour like red or yellow. Carpets and seat cloths are all pretty basic, but thus far have proven durable. The seats are a smooth cloth, which helps make them easy to clean as well. Even cat hair seems to come off them without too much of a fight, and that's saying something.
The instrumentation again is pretty basic. You've got a speedometer, switchable digital odometer/tripometer, digital fuel gauge and a rev counter (which is optional on the base model, but standard on the middle trim level or above and most of the special editions like the Verve I have). The speedo is a big, clear circular affair with black text on white, and the warning lights clustered in the centre of it. The fuel gauge and odometer tucked away in the 4 o'clock position. The rev counter is a bit odd, in that it's attached to the top of the main instrument pod at around the 2 o'clock position. While it does initially look like a bit of an aftermarket add-on, sprouting out the top of the instrument panel like some alien's third eye, it actually works well. It's right there in your eye line where you're likely to want it. Illumination is good and clear as well, in a fairly standard amber colour. The only gripe I have with the instrumentation is that the digital fuel gauge really could (as with many I've seen) do with higher resolution. There are only 6 bars between full and empty, and it's decidedly non-linear (about 100 miles on the first bar - then the remaining five disappearing in 200-250). It's a niggle though to be honest, and doesn't really cause any issues for me in day to day motoring.
Heating and ventilation controls are very simple with air distribution to the left, fan and fresh air/recirculate controls in the middle, and temperature to the right. Air con on/off switch is mounted separately on the central console up by the stereo. The heater controls do bear a mention here for a bit of stylistic distinctiveness as well, in that they're mounted on a white plastic section on the otherwise grey dashboard. This glows a gentle amber at night and is quite a nice fun touch. I was initially worried that this might be distracting at night, but experience has proven that it's not, and it actually works very well.
The heating and ventilation system itself I've found to be very effective, even if the fan is a little noisy at higher speeds. The small engine means that the heater warms up pretty rapidly, and is searingly hot at full pelt. Conversely in the summer the A/C is one of the most effective systems I've come across in a small car.
Other controls are laid out sensibly, such as they are. The stereo is mounted high up on the middle of the dashboard, with the rear window heater, hazard light and A/C switches just below it (note that neither the rear window heater or A/C switches are lit - the hazard warning light switch is though, and it's right in the middle of the three, so they're easily found). Headlight controls are on the end of the indicator stalk, and rear window wash/wipe controls are on the end of the wiper stalk. The headlight levelling control is buried down by the driver's right knee, but let's face it, that's not a great hardship.
The stereo is probably the biggest weak point of the interior, as it's let down by pretty terrible speakers. Upgrading is hampered somewhat by very limited space behind the standard 50mm recess, so a careful choice has to be made regarding getting upgraded speakers with drivers that will actually fit. The 2012 version of the 107 has iPod connectivity on the stereo, the 2009 version here though has to make do with an aux in port.
The seats aren't the most comfortable in the world, with very firm bases and no real lateral support to speak of. They're not *uncomfortable* - but do belie the car's city-commuter nature rather than as a long-distance cruiser. Space in the back is pretty limited too, but is fine for short trips. Bear in mind though that it's strictly a four seater, there is no centre seat belt in the back. Forget having conversations with anyone in the back too - the growly, raspy, three cylinder exhaust note makes itself very well known in the back seats.
On the road it's good fun to be honest. The only real gripe is that the gearchange is rather vague and notchy, and really isn't a fan of being rushed (especially when cold). Handling puts you in mind of older cars like the Minis and Metros, which you can chuck around town or a twisty B-road with a surprising amount of precision, though understeer does tend to be the order of the day at higher speeds through the bends - at least with the cheap, low rolling resistance tyres it came with as standard. Something slightly stickier will be going on there once these are due for replacement.
While the power unit isn't the most powerful or torquey unit out there, it's a joy to use. All the power's up above the 3000 RPM mark - and between there and the 6000 RPM limiter, it has a truly lovely throaty growl to it. In terms of soundtrack it actually sounds more like a boxer engine than anything else. There's a nicely raspy exhaust note to go along with the thrum from under the bonnet as well - though sadly you can't hear that so much from the front seats. I never realised how addictive a sound it was until I was a passenger in the back of my own car for the first time. While also on the subject of the rear of the passenger cabin, it is worth noting that the boot is tiny. You'll probably be just about able to fit a week's shopping for two in there - anything beyond that you'll be looking to fold down the (split) rear seats most likely. With the seats down, you can actually get a surprising amount of stuff in the back - but beware of the high boot lip and relatively narrow opening if trying to shift anything particularly bulky or heavy.
On the motorway, you do have to use the gears a lot to maintain speed on anything resembling an incline, especially if you've got a headwind. Let's face it though - this isn't a car that was designed with 400 mile all-day motorway treks in mind - it's designed to nip around locally, and it's perfectly capable for that. While overtaking on single-carriageway roads requires a bit of advance planning and skilled use of the gearbox, there's more than enough power for day to day use there.
Economy. Now let me get one thing straight here - the 70 odd MPG that Peugeot quote in their marketing bumph is utter nonsense. In the real world you're looking at an average that will probably come in somewhere between 45 and 50 MPG. I've got mid 50s out of it on a couple of occasions, but that involved consciously driving like my grandmother (I'm not exactly the most exuberant of drivers to start with), and probably annoyed every other road user out there at the time. I was to be honest quite disappointed in the economy more than any other aspect. I was getting better MPG out of a 1981 Austin Metro several years back. Still, it doesn't break the bank to run anyway. Most people likely to buy a car of this class aren't likely to be doing interstellar mileages, so the fuel costs based on these numbers aren't going to make a massive difference in the yearly running costs.
It's a fun little car, and I hope to have it for a good number of years yet.
I did look at most of the equivalent cars when I bought this, and while a couple of the competitors might have had slight advantages in some areas, none seemed at the time to be as well rounded a package. Also, none came close in terms of just being a fun little car that would make me smile. Let's face it - when you're committing to owning a car for several years, that is worth more than a lot of people might at first think.
The car overall seem to be well put together for what it is. Despite three years of use now, the rear parcel shelf excepted, which has rattled since the day I got the car, the interior is astonishingly free of squeaks and rattles, and everything still works. The pretty basic nature of the car I think may work to its advantage in the future, simply by virtue of there being less things to go wrong with it. I generally do my own servicing, so will be doing so from the next service (now that the car's out of warranty) will be doing that myself. Thus far I've not found anything to scare me too much. Access around the engine doesn't look as bad as on many cars, albeit probably partly due to the diminutive dimensions of the engine itself! Given that the power unit itself is made by Toyota (as are several of the vehicle systems), hopefully reliability shouldn't be too big a problem.
Overall the 107 is a well thought out package. Peugeot (and Citroen with the C1 and Toyota with the Aygo, which are all the same cars under the skin) have figured out exactly what their target market need, and have put it together in one car. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of some of the competitors now, and is looking like it may now need an update (especially in light of tumbling prices from a number of competitors as well), but back in 2009 it was hard to beat.
For day to day motoring now though, it's definitely a good bet I say. Given the competition now from the new market and how plentiful the 107 seems to have become, I imagine that there are a lot of good used bargains to be had.
Would I buy another one? Yes, I probably would actually.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th November, 2012