TEST DRIVE | Peugeot RCZ – Audi TT Beater?
Ollie Fletcher Drives The Peugeot RCZ
Few cars look as striking as their concept model. If and when they are eventually released, regulations and local laws almost always evolve the car into a muted impression of its futuristic concept. The Peugeot RCZ retains the beautiful silhouette of the sculpted body and ‘double bubble’ roofline seen on the concept which was released almost 10 years ago. It’s a very refreshing change from the usual drab stuff Peugeot churns out. Can the company finally live up to its “drive of your life” motto?
Unofficially, Peugeot say they hope this car does for them what the TT did for Audi. I’m a big fan of every aspect of the TT but I think the RCZ is more striking than anything similar from Germany. My favourite feature is definitely the double bubble roof and rear window. The roof originates from racing cars where slightly more headroom is required to accommodate a crash helmet.
The long sweeping silver roof bar (also available in champagne gold and a dark grey) gives it a sleek appearance and breaks up the body colour nicely. The 19″ wheels on the GT version suit the sporty looks and give it better handling and grip. The entry 1.6-litre engine (available as 156bph or 200bhp) is OK, but nothing special. If you want something a bit more exciting you’ll have to shell out for the 2.0-litre diesel GT model which gives you quad exhausts and a few more fancy styling features. The 1.6-litre engine achieves a very good 47mpg on a run in the real world though.
With prices ranging from around £22,000 to just over £28,000, there’s a choice of three trim levels – Sport, GT or Red Carbon. Offered in all three trims, the 2.0-litre HDi diesel has claimed fuel economy of 54.3mpg, so it won’t cost you a fortune to run, yet with 163bhp it has enough performance to hit 62mph from rest in a decent 8.7 seconds. All engines are adequate but the solid chassis and the way it drives gives the impression that it could handle a much larger engine. Peugeot’s 3.0-litre V6 would be pretty spectacular in the RCZ!
The gears are long and the engine is torquey which probably contributes to the decent economy. You can reach 100mph in third gear!
The pop-up rear spoiler has two phases. The first is set at 19degrees and deploys automatically at 53mph, retracting again at 34mph. The fully extended position settles at 34degrees and deploys above 96mph. The wing can also be controlled by the driver.
Unfortunately inside it’s like every Peugeot I’ve been in – nothing to write home about. Too grey, dull and plasticky for my liking. Nowhere near as nice as a TT’s interior, which inspired the R8’s.
The seats are comfortable and supportive though and the inside is spacious. There is a bizarre set up in the rear with a bolt upright luggage shelf with two seatbelts, which suggests Peugeot actually think people could sit on this for a journey. It would be quite impossible for any children let alone adults to tolerate a journey on this hard luggage seat.
The boot is a good size for a sleek sporty looking car and that rear bench seat can be folded flat to double the through-loading space.
Hats off to Peugeot for the RCZ. They’ve been brave and made a very striking car and with prices ending where the Audi TT’s start, I would certainly consider it as an alternative to the TT, Toyota GT86 or VW Scirocco. Hopefully we will see many more models like this in the future from the French brand.