ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: PEUGEOT RCZ
Looking like it has escaped from a motor show stand, wheelworldreviews editor DAVID HOOPER says that if you like to stand out from the crowd, this RCZ is the car for you.
EVERY now and again, concept cars sneak off the motor show stands and appear in our showrooms.
Peugeot’s stunning RCZ is one of those cars, and when it was first displayed in September 2007 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, people said it could never be mass produced because of its fantastic double bubble rear window.
Considered too costly and technically difficult to put into production, people thought the concept car, as it was then, was just that and would never grace a Peugeot dealer’s showroom.
Ever resourceful though, the French giant overcame the challenges of producing what it has to be said is a pretty unique car and now you can drive one away from your nearest Peugeot dealership.
Now, I can hear you thinking that it must be expensive. How could such a sleek, beautifully proportioned and apparently fairly exclusive car, not be very costly? The cost of making that rear glass alone must have pushed the price into territory that is beyond most mere mortals?
While you could easily be forgiven for thinking that, you’d be wrong to do so. Most folk I’ve discussed the car with, and there have been many, have compared it immediately to the Audi TT, which is perfectly reasonable. Then, when they’ve admired the stitched leather topped dashboard, the folding sat-nav display and the beautifully designed dashboard – which now comes as standard in any 308 model – they have mostly resorted to chin stroking and head scratching as they’ve tried to put a value on the car.
Only one person got anywhere close to the true price range, and I suspect they had some inside knowledge.
I bet you will be surprised to learn that the top of the range model costs just £24,550, while the entry level version costs just £20,450.
There is even an active rear spoiler which deploys at higher speeds to improve the car’s aerodynamics, or it can be operated by pushing a button on the centre console, which just helps to make it feel that bit more special.
The design doesn’t stop on the outside either, the sports seats are beautifully sculpted and are very supportive, and I loved the Peugeot Lion logo embossed on the leather.
The downside is that although there are four seats, this car is really a 2+2, and while I did manage to squeeze myself into the back of the car, any further than around the block and I’d have been getting cramp and finding out if the rear window could be used as an escape hatch! Small children, though, would be fine, and the boot is a useful shape and a decent size, so carrying a sensible amount of luggage won’t be a problem. I even managed to put a cool box in the boot.
Buyers have a choice of familiar petrol and diesel engines from the Peugeot line-up. This particular car was fitted the 163bhp HDi engine which is an impressive performer, despatching the 0-62mph benchmark time in 8.7 seconds and providing a potential top speed of 134mph. So frugal are these latest engines, that achieving in excess of 50mpg on a motorway trip is not a problem, I actually saw 53.5mpg on a trip up the A1 to Croft race circuit – and its impressively low C02 emissions figure of 139g/km means it only costs £110 per year to tax.
I have no complaints about its road manners. It drives well and despite the large glass area is quiet enough at motorway speeds, but even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t care.
There is one problem to report though. If you don’t like being noticed, then this isn’t the car for you. It turns heads wherever it goes and at the moment, while it is still new, I think the RCZ could rival the most exotic of supercars for head-spinning ability. I even had a truck driver nearly drive into the side of the car, so busy was he admiring it as he leaned across his cab to give me the thumbs up!
I think Peugeot is to be congratulated for building a beautiful looking car for a very sensible price. Depending on your choice of model, most of the mod cons people often pay extra for come as standard and it will cost no more to run than any other model in the 308 range on which it is based.
If you are one of those people who think all new cars look the same – then think again.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Peugeot 308 RCZ Sport HDi 163.
PEUGEOT RCZ RANGE: From Sport THP 156 (£20,450) to GT THP 200 (£25,050).
ENGINE: 1997cc, 163bhp four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 139g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 134mph. 0-62mph in 8.7 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 41.5mpg. Country: 62.7mpg. Combined: 53.2mpg. Fuel tank: 55 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 30.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.