One of the great luxuries we have now-a-days is in the refinement of what would be called the “sporty” models.
In the old days if you wanted a “performance” car then you had to deal 24 hours a day with a rock-hard ride, monstrous fuel consumption, and anti-social levels of exhaust noise.
Not so today, cars like the Peugeot RCZ are just so much more “user-friendly”.
What I particularly liked about the RCZ over some other sporty models I have tested out in recent times is there aren’t two different modes to select depending on your frame of mind e.g. a regular and sports mode selection.
That means what the RCZ has to offer is there all the time, but what makes it so clever is the thrill is there only when required.
To put it clearly, keep the 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine under 3000 rpm and it gets around like pretty much any other front wheel drive four cylinder car, but put your foot down and take it past 3000 and you’re in a whole other world!
The official 0-100 km/h time is 7.5 seconds, pretty fast.
But it’s not just the sweet acceleration that leaves you grinning; I don’t think I have ever found a car that handles as well as the Peugeot RCZ, extremely satisfying.
What’s even better and probably more important is that the suspension is also forgiving when you need it to be.
My test car was fitted with the rather pleasing six speed manual, why you would even consider the auto option in a car like this is beyond me.
So what else can I say?, the Peugeot RCZ is an all-round pleasant car to drive.
The external design is a real head turner, which means when you drive down the street you literally get plenty of attention.
Be prepared however to answer questions about the car when stopped at a service station (sometimes this can be fun, at other times when you’re in a rush not so!).
Speaking of service station stops you won’t be making very many, the Peugeot RCZ uses just a combined 6.9 litres per 100 which is just mind boggling (interestingly the 2.0 litre turbo diesel uses just a combined 5.3!!).
So it’s all sounding pretty good isn’t it?
What if I mentioned the pricing was pretty reasonable too?
We are talking about a car which will set you back only about $55,000.
This vehicle, from a driving and performance point of view, is not that far off some other model’s which cost twice that, or more.
Be warned however the Peugeot RCZ isn’t perfect and it’s in the cabin where a few drawbacks can be found.
Firstly it’s called a 2+2 meaning theoretically four people can travel in it, well perhaps that may be the case but your rear seat passengers would need to be absolutely tiny.
Speaking of tiny the glove box is smaller than tiny!
And when behind the wheel you can’t actually see the temperature or fuel gauges without bending your head and neck into an uncomfortable position to see around the steering wheel.
The cruise control and radio/Bluetooth control stalks behind the steering wheel are also completely obscured meaning unless you have pre-learnt what each button does, you will be left fumbling around blindly.
The seats are geared towards sport rather than comfort and I found the seat base bolsters dug painfully into my thighs.
Also you will have to forgo Sat-Nav and a rear reversing camera (which aren’t even available as an option).
But in saying all that there are some nice touches inside, the double stitched leather looks and feels great, the sound system is just awesome, and there are nice chrome surrounds around the gauges.
Leg room in the front of the Peugeot RCZ is pretty good and the boot space is actually surprisingly large.
So in saying all of that the RCZ is an interesting creature, it has its faults (but don’t we all) but for the money I think you will be hard pressed to find as much excitement and enjoyment.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Engine: 1.6 litre turbo petrol producing 115kW and 240Nm or 2.0 litre turbo diesel developing 120kW and 340Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $58,990
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Peugeot RCZ.