Review: Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015)
A revelation on the road with superb handling. Great styling with double bubble coupe roof. THP 200 engine is the pick of the range. Available with HDi diesel.
Lower powered version of 1.6-litre THP engine lacks zest. Notchy gearchange. Pointless back seats. Production ended late 2015.
Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015): At A Glance
The recent styling of Peugeot models hasn't been much to write home about. Models like the 407 and 3008 could be considered borderline ugly. But the RCZ is different. This sleek and stylish coupe really stands out from the rest of the Peugeot range, hence the special name without the usual '0' numbering system. This is also the first special car from the French brand with more due in the coming years.
The design is clean and unfussy with smooth lines combined with sculpted sides. The double-bubble roof is the real highlight and also a feat of design. Along with the silver roof arches and the rear spoiler that pops up at 53mph it makes the RCZ feel special before you even get inside.
The interior doesn't fill you with the same excitement as the outside but the quality is good with a solid feel to the fit and finish. The driving position is low down and the seats have plenty of support which adds to the sporty feel plus there are even two small rear seats, although they're really only useful as an extra place to out bags. That's not really a problem though as the RCZ has an surprisingly big boot with 384 litres of space.
Engines start with the 1.6 THP petrol with 156PS but it does seem a bit lacklustre especially compared to the excellent 200PS version of the same engine. This is the real pick of the range and feels very much like a Golf GTI engine. There's also a more sensible choice in the shape of the 2.0 HDi with 163PS which averages a claimed 53.2mpg.
The good news is that the RCZ has the handling to go with the looks. There is plenty of grip, it's very reassured and confidence-inspiring in corners and the steering is nicely weighted too. The ride is pretty stiff but that adds to the sports car feel. Overall, the RCZ is a great coupe that has plenty going for it. If you're after an alternative to something like an Audi TT, this could perfectly fit the bill.
What does a Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015) cost?
Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 309–760 litres
While the outside of the RCZ looks great, the interior isn't quite a match. It's not dull but it's nothing out of the ordinary either. There are some nice touches like the three circular air vents in the centre of the dash and the sports seats, which comes as standard, are good too with decent side support. They're good in bends, holding you in place, yet still comfortable on long journeys. We also like the piano black finish around the stereo and air conditoning controls.
But overall it doesn't have the sporty feel you'd expect from a coupe of this ilk. The dash is rather flat and far away the driver so it doesn't create that 'cockpit' feel around the driver like an Audi TT does (although the two do look strikingly similiar). On the plus side the quality is impressive and it feels like a well finished cabin, especially so on top models with the leather upholstery which goes across the dash top.
There's plenty of room too and a good driving position, even for taller drivers. Those rear seats are more of a token effort rather than a serious place for passengers, although it does at least give you the option of giving an extra passenger a lift if it's not too far. They're useful as somewhere to out bags too.
Equipment from launch (June 2010):
Sport is the entry-level and comes with cloth sports seats, a folding rear bench seat, alarm and immobiliser, ESP stability control, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, electric windows, rear parking aid, 18-inch 'Original' alloy wheels, black panel roof, active rear spoiler, twin sports exhaust, USB connection and a CD stereo.
GT adds leather upholstery, electric and heated front seats, carpet mats, front parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, 19-inch 'Sortilege' alloy wheels, sports leather front seats, automatic dipping door mirrors (when reversing), automatic follow me home lights.
Asphalt (from June 2011) gets special branded leather upholstery, an interior sports kit (standard on the 200bhp model), xenon headlights, Telluric matt greay paint, 19-inch 'Solstice' black alloy wheels, black brake callipers, sat nav and a JBL Hi-Fi system.
Child seats that fit a Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015) like to drive?
The RCZ has a simple engine line-up. There's one diesel - the strong 2.0 HDi with 163bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox. It has plenty of pulling power with 340Nm of torque and is also the most economical version of the RCZ with a claimed average of 53.2mpg along with CO2 emissions of 139g/km. It's a good rival to the Audi TT TDI and considerably cheaper too.
There's one petrol engine in the shape of a 1.6-litre THP. This turbocharged direct-injection petrol comes in two versions - a 163PS and the top 200PS model. Co-developed with BMW it's the same engine that's used in the MINI range and the excellent Citroen DS3. It's a gem of an engine too and one that is perfectly suited to the RCZ.
The less powered 163PS model is good enough but compared to the top 200PS version it feels a little lacklustre. Thanks to the twin-scroll turbocharger it has plenty of urgency when you ask it to accelerate, so you don't have to rev it hard to access the power. As a result it really sparkles with great power across the rev range and genuine pace. It's very much like a Golf GTI engine - happy to be revved, smooth and with a nice boomy exhaust. The sound is helped by a new acoustic sound system which creates an 'enhanced' sound in the cabin.
The 200PS model accelerates from 0-60mph in 73 seconds but a more real world gauge is its 50-75mph time of 6.5 seconds. It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox which is positive enough but quite notchy, although it's not bad enough to take the shine off the driving experience. The 200bhp model also gets a lower bracing bar along with tweaked front suspension designed to make it even more agile and stable.
The RCZ is hugely enjoyable from behind the wheel with great poise in corners. It's very nimble too so you can nicely flow from bend to bend. True the steering could do with a little more feel, that's especially noticeable in the wet, but the RCZ grips well and gives you plenty of confidence to go that bit quicker. Forget the usual Peugeot handling, the RCZ is on another level. It's one seriously good car. The ride is pretty firm but not uncomfortably so while on the motorway there's very little wind or road noise.
If you want an automatic version there is one available, although only on the 1.6 THP with 163PS. It's a new sequential six-speed auto which is not only more economical than the existing (and woefully dated) Peugeot automatics but also has faster changes. That said it's still less economical than the manual with consumption dropping from a claimed 44.1mpg to 38.6mpg. Plenty of modern automatics from other manufacturers are actually more efficient than their manual equivalents.
24-1-2014: Peugeot RCZ-R driven both on track and on the road.
On the flat surfaces and long straights at Bedford Autodrome the car handled nicely and predictably with understeer well controlled by the stiffer rear end. It doesn't have a spine-tingling exhaust note, but the Torsen diff means it puts its power down without any wheel scrabbling and on the long back straight it was easily pulling 120mph before braking for the chicane (other, better and braver drivers were pulling 130).
However, as Christian, my instructor pointed out, a flat circuit like Bedford Autodrome does not give a true impression of the car on the road.
So we took it out on the road, and that's where both the strong 330Nm from 1,900rpm and the easy going flexibility of the motor were best appreciated. Also, despite 235/40 R19 tyres and the stiffer rear suspension, the ride was far from bone jarring. Obviously it isn't compliant, but it doesn't rearrange your internal organs either, as early examples of Mk II Audi TTs with non magnetic ride Sport suspension with 19" wheels did.
And, of course, the RCZ-R is aimed squarely at the 272PS Audi TTS which has magnetic ride as standard and 350Nm from 2,500rpm, but costs from £35,665 and is now heading for run-out with a new TT waiting in the wings.
You don't get Audi status with the Peugeot RCZ-R. But you do get a more interesting looking car you can use as a daily driver and take to the occasional track day.
|1.6 THP 156||44 mpg||8.3 s||149–155 g/km|
|1.6 THP 156 Automatic||39 mpg||9.0 s||168 g/km|
|1.6 THP 200||42 mpg||7.6 s||155–159 g/km|
|1.6 THP 270||45 mpg||5.9–6.1 s||145 g/km|
|2.0 HDi||53–54 mpg||8.7 s||130–139 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Peugeot RCZ (2010 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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