The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Peugeot RCZ’s stunning coupe body gives it instant appeal. It offers more than just good looks, however, being great to drive and affordable to run.
Reasons to buy:
- Great looks
- Surprisingly practical
- Pliant ride
How good does it look?
The last really exciting Peugeot was the 406 Coupe, which was styled by Ferrari designer, Pininfarina. But this time it has all been done by Peugeot in-house. While the RCZ is similar in size and style to the Audi TT, it has a bolder design thanks to its wide grille, polished aluminium roof bars and swollen wheel arches. The roof is its biggest success, the ‘double-bubble’ rear canopy is claimed to give more headroom, but it also looks very special.
What's the interior like?
The 308 hatchback-based interior might not be quite as exciting as the exterior, but it’s still pretty good, with a pleasingly simple architecture. Passengers sit very low down so rear visibility can be an issue, but to the side the view is fine thanks to the long window. In GT trim the seats are opulently trimmed in black leather and embossed with Peugeot’s Lion emblem.
How practical is it?
As sports coupes go, the RCZ is one of the most practical. Its boot measures an impressive 384 litres, and with the rear seats folded down there’s 760 litres of luggage space. The rear seats are tiny though, with just enough room for kids or a few soft bags. It has a reasonably sharp turning circle and enough ground clearance to tackle speed bumps without grazing its nose.
What's it like to drive?
The ride is firm with very little body roll, but it’s also comfortable and offers relaxed cruising – soaking up bumps better as speed increases. The only fly in the ointment is the steering, which does little to convey the large amount of grip on offer. You have to learn to trust the car will really hang on in bends. The 200bhp petrol model is fitted with suspension tweaks, to improve response and agility.
How powerful is it?
It might surprise some that the biggest engine available is a 2-litre diesel. We tested the 163bhp diesel, which has a 0-62mph time of of 8.7 seconds and feels responsive and quick to rev. The six-speed manual gearbox is less fun to use thanks to a lever which feels too far forward and that has a relatively slow action. The petrol RCZ gets a turbocharged 1.6-litre with either 156 or 200bhp. It’s also worth noting the high-powered RCZ has a much rortier engine sound, thanks to special acoustic tuning by Peugeot.
How much will it cost me?
Thanks to its sensible engines, the RCZ is one sports coupe which won’t hurt the wallet. The diesel averages a brilliant claimed 53.2mpg, a figure easily matched during road testing. It also emits just 139g/km of CO2 so it’s cheap to tax, and insurance group 30 compares well with the Audi TT TDI, which is two groups higher. Petrol RCZs manage between 42.1 and 40.9mpg and emit 155 to 159g/km of CO2, so they are also very affordable to run. Insurance groups of 28 to 34 compare well to rivals.
How reliable is it?
While the Peugeot RCZ may be a step in a new direction for Peugeot, mechanically it relies heavily on parts from the Peugeot 308. Peugeot has a good reliability record according to the Reliablity Index.
How safe is it?
Driver, passenger and side airbags are standard, as are an electronic stability programme (ESP) and ABS. It also features an active bonnet, which pops up by 55mm in a collision to provide a cushion in case a pedestrian is hit. The Peugeot RCZ hasn’t been crash tested by EuroNCAP yet, but Peugeot expects it to perform as well as other models in its range, and its 308CC scored the full five stars.
How much equipment do I get?
The RCZ is available in Sport, GT and Asphalt trim levels, the first offering 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air-con, rear parking sensors, alarm and immobiliser and a black roof panel. Upgrading to GT brings leather upholstery, electric and heated front seats, carpet mats, front parking sensors, auto dipping door mirrors, auto wipers and lights, 19-inch alloy wheels and sports seats. Top-of-the-range Asphalt trim features unique sports seats, Xenon directional headlamps, an interior sports kit, Peugeot’s Connect Media Navigation system with USB connectivity and a matt grey paint scheme with a contrasting black roof.
The RCZ is undoubtedly the best-looking Peugeot for years, and also the most fun to drive. Only time will tell if it has the same impact as the successful Audi TT.