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Which? - review if Peugeot RCZ

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Post Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:45 pm
tianorth User avatar

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Posts: 1785
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Location: Fareham, Hampshire
Launched Jan 2010, Reviewed Jan 2010

Price from £7,264

Which? verdict

Looks brilliant, drives well 56%
Good handling, powerful R, great looks, some versions relatively economical
Useless rear seats, tricky to get in and out
Combined mpg (best measured)

Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 41.5
CO2 emissions (best measured)

Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 158

Competitively priced, and holds value well, so should prove cheap to run by class standards - despite some high fuel consumption.
Ride quality
3 out of 5

Seat space
2 out of 5

In standard form, the suspension set-up is sporty, but nowhere near as rock-hard as in lots of rivals.
3 out of 5

Boot space
2 out of 5

Near-zero rear passenger space really does limit the RCZ's appeal as anything other than a strict two-seater.
Read the full review

Peugeot brand overview
4 out of 5

The Peugeot RCZ, launched 2010, is a curvy, stylish, highly striking-looking and sporty 2+2 coupé, with its sights set on the Audi TT. It's cheaper than its German rival, but is it as much fun to drive? And could you live with it on a day-to-day basis? Read on for our full review.

Good handling, powerful R, great looks, some versions relatively economical
Useless rear seats, tricky to get in and out

The Peugeot RCZ is a great-looking, affordable alternative to the Audi TT and Volkswagen Scirocco. It's fun to drive, particularly in 266bhp R guise, and its eye-catching design means it stands out for all the right reasons.

2018 update: we’ve just added the latest reliability information from the 2018 Which? Car survey to this review. As a result, the score of this car has changed in line with our current recommendations.
What is it?

Peugeot celebrated its 200th birthday in 2010, and to mark this, it launched a batch of new cars. And the RCZ is a stunner: clearly designed to take on the Audi TT, it nonetheless has clever details to make it stand out in its own right, in particular the aluminium roof pillars and 'double bubble' rear screen.

Engine options live up to the looks, there are the turbocharged 1.6 THP petrols: 155bhp, 197bhp plus the 266bhp R, launched 2013. There's also the 161bhp 2.0 HDi diesel.

A 2013 refresh brought a new nose and bumper design, plus upgraded interior trim.

What's it great at?

For many, the overriding reason to buy will be those overtly curvaceous looks, while it also happens to be significantly cheaper than an Audi TT to buy new. The RCZ also has reasonably affordable running costs. And yes, it's fun to drive - especially in R form.

What's it like to drive?

Performance in the smooth 155bhp THP is good - its acceleration might not be breathtaking, but it has plenty of power for overtaking and motorway cruising. It only gets a little noisy over 5,000rpm.

The 266bhp RCZ R has loads of power directed through its front wheels: expect wheel spin, even in second gear. Also expect very fast acceleration (0-62mph in 5.9 seconds), and strong in-gear pull.

The six-speed manual gearbox has a fairly smooth precise action. A short-throw shifter comes with the sports pack, standard in the R with very close-stacked gear ratios - at 80mph in sixth, the engine spins at 3,400rpm (vs 2,700rpm in the 155bhp THP).

Standard suspension is sporty, but not rock hard. Bumps are well absorbed, though rutted surfaces can shake passengers. The R has much harder settings.

There's almost no roll when cornering, and it feels really stable when accelerating or braking: only slightly jittery at high speeds or on uneven surfaces.

Steering is responsive, conveying good feel and unfazed by sudden changes of direction. In the R, you may experience tug at the wheel during acceleration, and steering is much more aggressive.

The standard RCZ scored well in our obstacle avoidance test, displaying strong understeer (where the car turns less sharply than intended) and barely needing stability control to navigate our swerve test.

The R features a mechanical limited-slip differential; it's exceptionally stable and capable of very fast cornering speeds, but watch out for oversteer (where the rear of the car starts to push out, turning the car more than intended) at throttle lift-off in corners. Brakes are really good; the pedal has good feel and responsiveness.

Noise at motorway speeds is acceptable; there's barely any wind noise. The 197bhp and R have a sound generator to amplify engine noise inside the cabin for a sportier experience; it's artificial, and can become irritating.

Despite niggly small buttons and controls, the cockpit is fairly easily understood. The steering wheel and front seats are multi-adjustable, the gear lever easily reached, and the pedals nicely placed - though our testers found the brake pedal moves slightly when you step on the clutch.

All-round visibility is average. Wing mirrors could be better, and the low seats and roofline do mean a significant blind spot. The wipers (on opposite sides of the windscreen) are really effective, though a wiper for the curved rear window is not fitted.

The sloping front and rear ends make obstacles easy to spot, but the parking sensors are handy. The 11.6-metre turning circle is wide, with fairly heavy low-speed steering.

How reliable is it?

We have not heard from enough owners to rate this car’s reliability, but we have rated Peugeot as a brand.

The cars that roll out of Peugeot’s factories are to be generally trusted – at least until they hit their third birthday.

In our survey, over three quarters of Peugeot owners with a car aged three years or less had absolutely no faults with their car in the past year, which is impressive and earns the brand four stars out of five for reliability.

But owners of cars aged three to eight years old have a different story to tell. Now 40% of them have suffered some sort of fault in the past year, and nearly 8% have had to deal with their car breaking down completely (only Nissan has a higher breakdown rate for the same age group of cars).

Common problems reported by owners concern the fuel system and the suspension, both of which can be costly, serious matters. Slightly less common are issues with the air-conditioning and engine management system.

On average, owners of faulty Peugeot cars spend two days per year without the use of their car while it’s off getting repaired.

It’s a poor show for Peugeot’s older cars, and the brand is deserving of its lowly two out of five star rating for its 3-8-year cars.

How comfortable and spacious is it?

There's generous headroom and width up front, even if it feels less spacious due to the proximity of the roof pillars.

The front seats are well shaped and very supportive, especially in the RCZ R. Rear seats are really only for shopping bags - even small children will find the low roof and minimal legroom too tight for comfort.

Getting in and out is tricky. The sills are low, but the low seats are set quite far in to the cabin. What with its roof line, the RCZ may not suit tall people.

For a sports car, the boot is a respectable 315 litres. Folding the single-piece rear seat is cumbersome, but expands capacity to 530 litres (to the window line).

There's a bit of a sill, so very heavy items might be tricky to load. Lighting isn't great, but the boot is very flat and deep. A cargo net helps keep smaller items in place and there are a few cubbies in the front, though none big enough for a large water bottle. The glove box is a decent size.

Automatic dual-zone climate control is standard; it's good, both in the front and rear.

How economical is it to run?

Fuel efficiency isn't quite the RCZ's strong suit; the average 34.5mpg in our tests of the 155bhp petrol model is disappointing. We actually got better figures with the 266bhp RCZ R, which averaged 41.5mpg in our testing, versus the claimed 44.8mpg - not bad for a sports car.

If you want frugality at the pumps, the 2.0-litre diesel is claimed to do 54.3mpg.

CO2 emissions in the current new line-up range from 130 g/km (2.0 HDI 163 manual) to 168 g/km (THP 168 auto); the THP 200 emits 155g/km, reasonable by sports car standards.

How safe is it?

Electronic stability control and brake assist are standard, as is tyre-pressure monitoring, and front and thorax/side airbags are fitted. Front headrests offer whiplash protection only for people up to 5ft 6in (1.7 metres) tall; rear headrests are too low and ineffective.

The front passenger airbag deactivates for the installation of a child car seat, but there are no Isofix attachments up front, and the rear seats (which do have Isofix) are too tight to fit many child seats.

Is there anything I should look out for?

The standard RCZ isn't quite as involving to drive as it could be. Steering can be rather light and vague - not helped by the oversized wheel.

Despite the new leather and piano black trim from the 2013 facelift, there are still patches of cheap-looking plastic that preclude a premium effect.

Should I buy it?

To get a RCZ that goes as well as it looks, we'd opt for the punchy 197bhp 1.6 petrol in GT trim, which will still undercut almost the entire Audi TT range on price. Sports car fans will find the 266bhp RCZ R a surprisingly effective tool.

Which? test scores
Tested Jan 2010
What makes up our test scores?
Ease of driving

3 out of 5

Smoothness of power delivery
4 out of 5

Driving stability
4 out of 5

Cabin layout
4 out of 5

How we test ease of driving


5 out of 5

5 out of 5

How we test performance

Comfort & practicality

Entry and exit
2 out of 5

Seat comfort
3 out of 5

Ride quality
3 out of 5

3 out of 5

Seat space
2 out of 5

Boot space
2 out of 5

How we test comfort & practicality


Which? safety
3 out of 5

How we test safety


Brand reliability 0-3 years
4 out of 5

Brand reliability 3-8 years
2 out of 5

On sale date 04 January 2010

New price-
Used price £7,264 - £12,897
Availability Used only

Fuel type Petrol/Diesel

Exterior size
Length (mm) 4,290 - 4,294
Width inc mirrors (mm) 2,107
Height max height (mm) 1,352 - 1,362

Number of seats 4
Folding rear seats
Isofix attachments

Boot space
Boot space with seats up (litres)
All tested models: 315
Boot space with seats down (litres)
All tested models: 530

Combined mpg
Combined mpg (best measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 41.5
Combined mpg (all measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 41.5,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 41.54
Combined mpg (all claimed)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 42.1,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 44.8

Urban mpg
Urban mpg (best measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 32.5
Urban mpg (all measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 32.5,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 33.23

Urban mpg (all claimed)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 30.3,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 33.6

Extra Urban mpg
Extra urban mpg (best measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 53.3
Extra urban mpg (all measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 53.3,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 48.7
Extra urban mpg (all claimed)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 54.3,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 55.4

Motorway mpg
Motorway mpg (best measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 38.7
Motorway mpg (all measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 38.7,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 36.22

Electric cars: tested range
Electric cars: tested range-

CO2 emissions
CO2 emissions (best measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 158
CO2 emissions (all measured)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 158,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 187

CO2 emissions (all claimed)
Petrol 1.6THP (155bhp) manual 3-door - 155,
Petrol 1.6THP R (266bhp) manual 3-door - 145

Information with thank to Which?

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
Tia2 is a 2013 RCZ Magnetic in Black with a 2litre diesel engine
Upgraded Peugeot sat-nav now has 7 digit postcode, safety alerts and updated maps
Other mods include door catch covers, rcz puddle lights, quad exhaust tips
Tia3 is a 2015 RCZ-R in Mercury Grey with a 1.6litre petrol engine, oh and 270 bhp
Other mods include door catch covers, rcz puddle lights
Both have dash cams front and back

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