Test drive: Peugeot RCZ GT HDi 163
The TotallyMotor Verdict
We’re starting to get used to the sight of Peugeot’s RCZ coupe on our streets – although I still received two compliments from petrol station passersby for the bright white test car RCZ GT, during our week together – although that particular RCZ is surely more sensible than its rolling curves and huge alloys would suggest…
Shock, horror! It’s a diesel. That’s right, it's powered by the firm’s 163bhp, 4-cylinder, 2-litre turbodiesel motor, through a 6-speed manual gearbox. Outrageous, I know.
Peugeot will tell you that this HDi RCZ will hit 53.2mpg on the combined economy cycle, while emitting a quite tree-friendly 139g/km of CO2. Performance-wise, it’ll still stomp to 62mph in 8.7secs, topping out at a very naughty 137mph.
All of this for £25,395? Surely, it’s too good to be true…
Test drive: Peugeot RCZ GT HDi 163
I say we’re getting used to the RCZ, and they’ve built 30,000 of ‘em, but you still don’t see that many of these curvy coupes on UK roads. And that makes them interesting to car fans. On two separate occasions I was complimented on “my” white RCZ and twice the interest and attraction was strong enough to prompt further questioning on price, performance, running costs etc.
So, I guess as first impressions go; the RCZ makes a good one. Especially in the wicked white TotallyMotor test car colour – my automotive colour of choice – and rolling on big 19-inch alloys. The double-bubble roof, framed by swooping alloy pillars, also looks delightful in black against the white body.
Either you’re a fan or you’re not, but the decision is surely made in an instant as the RCZ makes its styling case hard and fast. I mean, come on, what’s not to like?
Into the interior:
There’s nicely-stitched black leather as far as the eye can see inside this GT-spec RCZ; drenched over the handsome sports seats, dashboard and touch-surfaces. There’s also a completely clutter-free steering wheel with not a button in sight. This must be a driver’s car, then.
But it’s inside that my issues with the RCZ begin. Yes, it’s all nicely put together fit- and finish-wise but, for me, it’s just a little bit too low. At 6’ 4” I get almost zero wriggle room between the top of my fresh crew cut and the roof-liner. Shame.
It’s no so tight that I can’t drive and enjoy that car, but the black roof in close proximity does start to feel a little claustrophobic and I felt more cramped for legroom that I have in any other Peugeot recently. I guess it’s a case of one size doesn’t fit all, especially when it’s a design and style treat like the RCZ. I blame my parents!
I really enjoyed my recent week behind the wheel of the Peugeot RCZ THP 200 1.6-litre petrol-turbo; the fastest RCZ. The 200bhp petrol-turbo RCZ will hit 62mph in 7.6secs compared to this diesel’s 8.7secs sprint time.
The petrol feels quicker too, thanks to its at-the-top power delivery, and I found it thrilling to floor it through the six gears, with the turbocharger pulling hard. I even managed 35mpg in the petrol RCZ – with plenty of spirited driving – whereas this diesel tester showed me 44mpg at best during our week together; dipping to around 40mpg with heavy right foot application. Power-to-weight-ratio geeks note that the diesel is over 50kg heavier than the 200bhp petrol model.
Both cars handle hard and flat through the bends and encourage excitement, without ever getting unruly and scary. The front-end is quick to bite and turns fast, and while the harder, sports-flavoured suspension can get a little overwhelmed over choppy surfaces, in general the RCZ rides respectably.
This HDi 163 RCZ is a fun and torquey driving choice with enough spunk to blast off the lights and attack your favourite bends with gusto. Throw in the usual stonking Peugeot brakes, a slick 6-speed manual ‘box and a generally easy-to-drive character, and you’ve got a very liveable everyday sports car that can take the rough and tumble of every day commuting, and after a quick wash and polish, still be up for a bit of weekend posing around town.
Ten second sum up:
Peugeot should be commended for their RCZ; a car with fun embedded in its character, and not too precious to be unable to handle the stresses and strains of real-car-life. And this more frugal HDi motor could well be the final little extra excuse you needed to buy one!
Prices and availability:
The Peugeot RCZ range starts at £21,210 for the THP 156 Sport, rising to £29,995 for the THP 200 Asphalt. Price as tested, £27,295, for the GT model, including optional 19-inch alloys, pearlescent white paint and pumping JBL hi fi. Available now.
By Daniel Anslow
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