Our grammar has went all funny. Punctuation has also suffered severe interruption. Apostrophes either arent where they should be or pop up all the time whe’re theyre not neces’sary.
There’s obviously been lots of irrigation going on too because colons have largely disappeared, taking their semi brothers with them. Is it important to have a question mark at the end of every ‘asking’ sentence (?)
Well yes, because the whole point of punctuation is to aid understanding – to make the meaning perfectly clear. But try telling that to the texting generation and they’ll respond with a blank look, puzzled no doubt by the term itself.
In the car business though, punctuation is enjoying a revival. First off the mark was VW with their up! (lower case plus exclamation mark). Now the French have followed the Germans with Peugeot’s new baby 108 . . . and the open-roof version, the TOP!
It’s a cracking wee lightweight car with a choice of two three-cylinder engines for great economy and sub-100 g/km emissions. As with the rest of the Peugeot range there’s a choice of four spec levels from the basic Access through Active and Allure to the top-of-the-range Feline.
Most of the 21,000 annual sales after it appears in showrooms this month will be of the standard hatch in either three or five doors. But around 20 per cent of them will be the wind-in-the-hair version, the TOP! (block capitals plus exclamation mark), which for £850 more than the hatch comes with an electric sliding fabric roof which you can have in either black, grey or purple berry. They call it a cabrio model but strictly speaking it has just a big sunroof.
I couldn’t quite establish the need for the exclamation mark, or the capital letters, but I’m sure some marketeer deep in the heart of Peugeot would be able to come up with some convincing explanation about how it gives the car a clear identity alongside a powerful statement of its intentions . . . or something along those lines.
Far be it for me to say they’ve simply pinched the idea from VW whose up! is in direct competition (you can also get one of those with a glass sliding roof) at around the same price but with more standard equipment in the Peugeot. All of that apart, the 108 is a quirky little car with a lot of personality, character and “connected” technology, accessed through a seven-inch touch screen in all but the basic version, which centrally controls all the functions and leaves the dashboard clear of clutter.
The level of equipment is impressive for what is a basic city car and until recently would only have been seen in more upmarket and expensive cars. Even at this entry level it is a crucial part of Peugeot’s policy of moving upmarket, especially in the UK, which is the company’s third largest market. Peugeot is enjoying improved fortunes – sales are up more than 17 per cent and the latest 308 mid-size hatch is this year’s European Car of the Year.
There are great hopes that the 108 will follow on from the previous 107, which was the best seller of the partnership trio of the Citroen C1 and the Toyota Aygo. I haven’t driven the latest versions of the offerings from Toyota or Citroen but the general view was that the Peugeot came out on top as the best-looking and stylish – even if it didn’t come with the satnav of the others.
It’s reckoned that around 60 per cent of buyers will be women and no doubt with that in mind, the designers have focused on personalisation packages for customers who want something different to express their own individuality. Not surprisingly for a French car, the menu is “a la carte” with seven theme “kits” of interior and exterior decals, door mirror covers, carpet mats and even the cover for the key fob. In the test car it was dogtooth “Dressy” but equally it could have been Diamond, Tattoo, Barcode, Sport, Dual two-tone paint, or vaguely tartan-themed Kilt for the market up here. It is very much a question of taste, which I worry can change quickly and may not suit subsequent owners and so limit resale value.
The car drives very well but needs the larger 1.2 engine as the 1.0 litre with only 68 bhp struggled a bit on the hills. Leg and headroom is fine at the front but understandably limited for rear seat passengers and the boot space is handy for a couple of small bags or shopping but not much more.
Peugeot’s own highly competitive finance deals mean you can pick up the keys for the new 108 for just £89 a month and even the top seller works out at only £2 a month more than the existing model.
Like the car itself that’s impressive and well worthy of some exclamation !!!!!!!
PRICE £12,245 (£13,090 as tested)
ENGINE 1.2l, 3 cyl, 82bhp, 116Nm
PERFORMANCE Top speed 106 mph. 0-62 mph 11 secs
ECONOMY 65 mpg combined
CO2 EMISSIONS 99 g/km