Peugeot RCZ

PEUGEOT RCZ Red Carbon LE in Nera Black-54638 lr



With pic

By Tim Saunders

It has become apparent that sports cars are a young person’s game.

I draw this conclusion after my time with the magnificent Peugeot RCZ GT, the iconic roadster with the bubble roof.

When I first sit in it I find myself quite taken a back. I feel out of my comfort zone. Is it middle age creeping in? Have I become too comfortable in a middle of the road hatchback? There’s a car behind and I try and find the bite of the clutch and it is far higher than I am used too, which results in the car rolling a little too near for my liking. But I find it eventually and all is well. The handbrake is quite high up too and it’s going to take me a while to become accustomed to the height of that steering wheel.

I first drove the Peugeot RCZ in 2010 when it launched. Being back behind the wheel of this facelifted version is like being reunited with a long lost friend.

After all it’s a stunning sportscar and one that makes a significant birthday treat for my wife.

The 1.6-litre 200bhp engine can be quick if required. The low ride height and the hard suspension all combine to make it feel like you’re travelling even faster. Even just a quick glance at the wing mirror is a joy for the driver who cannot help but noticing the bulging rear haunches of this beast.

Although it does have rear seats these are almost completely impractical. I know. Against my better judgement I install my daughters’ car seats in the rear and find that the front seats have to be pushed so far forward that my knees are pushed up against my chin. I’m not that tall either. I am no designer but I am surprised at the capacity of the boot compared to the size of the interior.

We leave our daughters with their grandparents for the weekend and we’re able to really the RCZ through its paces over my wife’s birthday weekend by taking it on a trip to Bath. As a two-seater there is ample room for driver and passenger and there are all the luxuries you would expect from electric and heated seats to electric windows, air conditioning and cruise control and limiter.

This is not a vehicle where you watch the economy, it is a car for driving pleasure. And with its notchy six-speed manual gearbox it is a delight. When it is revved at a certain point there is a raspy note to the exhaust that makes you want to put your foot down continually. It is a more than capable over taker and this machine certainly puts the joy back into motoring. Dual carriageways allow the driver to really open her up and she is certainly responsive.

After a few hours with the RCZ I can report that the driving position is just right but I would still prefer the steering wheel to be lower and I cannot work out how to adjust it. This results in my hand mistakenly sliding onto the horn on a couple of occasions and embarrassingly tooting the car in front. Sticking at the ‘ten-to-two’ position avoids this problem.

Arriving on Bath’s cobbled streets judders the back a bit but it’s a good massage and we find a tight parking space in the Royal Crescent. Annoyingly the RCZ does not fit in perfectly on the first attempt but it gets in. The housekeeper at No. 1 Royal Crescent is watching and as I get out to ask about parking charges, she says: “Two other drivers have tried to get in there and they couldn’t so I am very impressed you managed it in that car.” The rounded design of the vehicle certainly helps when reversing but it is a bit tricky to gauge quite how much space there is at the front. The front and rear parking aid beepers are certainly helpful.

Facts at a glance

Top speed: 146mph

0-60mph: 7.6secs

Power: 200bhp

Economy: 44mpg



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