The Peugeot RCZ is a sports compact launched in 2010. Officially introduced in 2009 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the RCZ is available in nearly 80 countries as of 2013. The 50,000th RCZ produced was made on February 14, 2013. It was painted Moroccan Red, a new shade part of the facelift given the RCZ. Originally meant to be just a concept car, the RCZ received a lot of positive feedback as it captured the imagination of both consumers and professionals. When the car moved to production, Peugeot took care to stay as close as possible to the concept so as not to disappoint the RCZ’s fans. The resulting RCZ was also well-received, gaining recognitions like the Auto Express Special Design Award and the Top Gear Coupe of the Year Award, both for 2010.
If there was a car that could live up to the French car manufacturer’s claim in the past for offering “the drive of your life”, it would be the Peugeot RCZ. It’s the first of Peugeot’s line of special cars aimed at adding an edge of exclusivity to a brand that is well known for selling smaller cars. Peugeot takes inspiration from what the TT has done for Audi and came away with a design success. For starters, the RCZ is wider than your standard 308 hatch by 30mm and lower, and features tracks that are 44mm wider in front and 63mm wider at the back.
The supercharged 1.6-litre engine will respond cleanly even with low revs, offering minimal lags even at peak power. It takes 8.4 seconds to go from 0 to 60mph. The range-topping 197bhp engine will give you a brisker ride, of course. A six-speed manual gearbox complements engine performance for a better ride.
The Peugeot RCZ had to make compromises if it was going to make something radical-looking on the outside work while sticking to costs at the lower end of £21k. This was done on the interiors as well as the use of the platform where the Peugeot 308 was based. As a result, it’s like you’re in the 308 inside an RCZ, with general architecture and some details taken straight from the hatchback. This isn’t really a bad thing but this won’t do if you’re set to compare the RCZ with the Audi TT.
There’s also not much to be expected when it comes to room in the rear. The RCZ is a 2+2 coupe. As such, it’s tight to get to the rear and when you do finally get to squeeze your way in, it’s not going to be very accommodating. Think of a small squab and an upright backrest. Little grooves in the roof help to add a bit of headroom but it will offer very little comfort, if any at all. If you’re headed for a long trip, don’t even think about sitting at the back of an RCZ. More problems at the back include a boot whose volume may be increased by folding down bench backrests but remain less practical compared to the Audi TT or the Volkswagen Scirocco because it is enclosed.
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