Peugeot RCZ car review
- We like...Looks terrific
- We don't...Lacks bite
Concept cars. They’re shiny things dreamed up to give new models a fresh style direction. They rarely go further than a display stand at a motor show. But the RCZ’s the exception. Spin back three years and it was the T75 concept. Now you can buy what is that car, except for a few detail changes – the repositioning of a door handle here, a change to an exhaust pipe there.
Such a looker of a car is a big change for Peugeot, a company that’s put its energy of late into devising some clever, different but utterly practical cars. The RCZ is, instead, a sporty coupe that’s all about style and image. Though you’d be crazy to buy it for its usefulness, it’s more practical than it looks. At least in some ways. The one thing it can’t do well is carry four people at once. There may be that many seats but head- and leg-room is really tight in the rear pair. Adults will find their heads wedged against the rear screen and even pre-teen kids might struggle once their booster seats are installed.
It’s far better to use this purely as a two seater and leave the rear seat back dropped to extend the already roomy boot. Peugeot boasts that, seat down, you can stash a mountain bike back there. True perhaps – so long as you’re happy to unclip the wheels first.
And the front seats are a treat. Big, well padded and giving you a fine view of this Peugeot’s pronounced flanks and swoopy nose. And if you go for the top-spec GT car they’re leather and heated, though to get the cow-clad dash of our photo car you’ll have to fork out extra. If you plump for the entry-level Sport you get cloth seats and a dash covered in plastic similar to what you’ll find in a 308.
You pick between a 1.6 turbo petrol engine that pushes out 156bhp and a 163bhp 2.0 diesel. The petrol costs less and revs freely if you push it, giving off an engaging blare as the engine speeds rise. But it feels weak from step-off and doesn’t have the edge that perhaps you’d want.
The diesel’s much livelier and while there’s a fait after-note grumble from the exhaust it is smooth and quick. And while the ride in the diesel Sport we sampled felt ‘bonier’ than it did in the petrol GT, the steering had greater feel and precision.
Later this year there’ll also be a 1.6 turbo pushing out 200bhp, which should be quite some car. But the choices for now both leave you feeling that the car could easily handle more.
Still, both motors made for a quiet and civilised car at speed, the cabin filtering out most road noise while the double-bubble roof smoothes air passage over the roof.
Both Sport and GT trims are kit-packed for the price: digital air conditioning, four airbags, alloy wheels and a classy stereo come as standard. Prices at time of writing start at a little over £20,000.
Should you buy one? Why not: it’s a classy act, refined but short of truly exciting. And there’s little else to challenge it at the price – an Audi TT is more upscale but a whack dearer. For us, the way it looks would be enough to have us reaching for our debit cards...
* Insurance rating given below is from the new 1-50 grouping system
- Engines2.0 HDi
- 0-60 mph8.7secs
- Insurance groups30E*
- Seats2 + "
Motors.co.uk value verdict: