Peugeot RCZ GT HDi 163
I became interested in American football when it was first shown on TV in Britain 30 years ago on Channel 4. For no particular reason I chose the Denver Broncos as my team & have supported them through thick & thin in that time. Currently, the Broncos have arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, who goes by the name of Peyton Manning. Indeed this week, he broke the record for passing touchdowns in NFL games at the ripe old age of 38, which makes me like him more ! Three years ago, he had to take a year out of the game to have several operations on his neck & at the advanced age of 35, it was doubtful if he would ever play the sport again, because no one knew if he could throw the football. Fast forward three years & all of this seems a long time ago, as Peyton Manning is playing better than ever, which just goes to show that you should never write off anybody or anything just because that seems the logical thing to do.
I mention this story because from the mid-1990’s two seater sports cars had steadily been on the decline. Then in 1998, Audi launched their TT to both public & critical acclaim. Because it was so popular other manufacturers started to think about making them & in recent years, the Toyota GT 86, Volkswagen Scirocco, Hyundai Veloster & the current Audi TT have all been shining lights, in re-launching what had been a forgotten sector.
Step forward the Peugeot RCZ. Since the launch of the Peugeot 508, a quiet revolution has been going on with all of Peugeots new models, particularly the 2028 & 308, which rediscovered Peugeots old flair, particularly in their looks & their handling. Few new coupes though, look as good as the Peugeot RCZ with Peugeots designers delivering a fabulous looking car with sleek coupe looks. The question was though, is the RCZ capable of matching the class leaders ?
As we at Company Car are a ‘fleet’ publication, the RCZ 2 litre diesel is the RCZ which should appeal most to our readers, so it was this model in striking black & white which arrived with us in October. Visually, the RCZ is stunning, with design details such as the ‘double-bubble’ rear window, an electrically operated spoiler which rises automatically when the cars reaches 53 mph & bare metal roof pillars. Inside, the cabin is great too, particularly the circular air vents, the leather finished & stitched dashboard, chrome door finishes & the lacquered black gear lever surround. My test model was also fitted with Storm Grey Alloys, matt black roof arches, a brilliant black front grille, door mirror covers, & break calipers, all adding to the ambience.
My GT specced model, which is the second model up in the range above the Sport & below the Red Carbon & range topping R, also offers as standard, front & rear parking sensors, a sports steering wheel, a short shift gear selector, cruise control with speed limiter, tyre pressure sensors, automatic dual zone climate control, automatic lights which light up when you approach the car & walk away from it, automatic windscreen wipers, electrically adjusted & heated door mirrors, Peugeot Connect Sound with USB box & Bluetooth.
Climb into the cabin, start the engine & the 163 bhp diesel engine roars into life. With 320 Nm of torque on offer it’s a blast to drive & I was able to try out the mid-range performance whilsy driving through the Yorkshire Moors when overtaking slow moving traffic.Turn into a challenging corner & the RCZ displays impressive composure gripping hard with virtually no body roll. Just be wary of the wet leaves of a British Autumn, because the RCZ loves to slide on these. The suspension helps the ride for the passengers too, because the black leather seats are really comfortable & came electrically adjusted so that it was easy to find the perfect driving position.
The rear seats are a token gesture & you could probably fit two under tens in there comfortably, but not much else. Open the large boot whilst looking at the fabulous bubble rear window & you’ll discover 309 litres of carrying capacity. Fold the two individual rear seats flat & this increases to a very useful 709 litres, large enough for your set of golf clubs or 4 medium sizes suitcases.
The RCZ hits 62 mph from a standing start in a not too quick 8.7 seconds, going on to reach a top speed of 137 mph. However, company car drivers will be more interested in the cars fuel economy, which is a claimed 54.3 mpg on the combined. This is pretty accurate because I managed to get 44.5 mpg in my week in the RCZ. CO2 Emissions are 135g/km, which is good in it’s class but fall short of the game changing sub-100 on offer from numerous manufacturers.
As a family man married with two teenage children & a dog, the RCZ would not work for me. But, if I had the funds I would have no problem driving this car at weekends, because it really leaves you with a broad smile on your face every time you get into it. Also, at £26,350 its well priced particularly when compared to the Audi, although the Audis interior quality is superior to the RCZ.
In conclusion, the RCZ offers you great performance with excellent handling couple with drop-dead gorgeous looks at a knockdown price What’s not to like ! It may lack the finish of both the TT & Scirocco but it is better looking than both. If you are lucky enough to be in the market place for a two-seater coupe as your company car, then the RCZ should be on your hit list.
A 509 passing touchdowns worth 4/5.