The Peugeot RCZ enters the brand’s Australian line-up as an affordable and wickedly-styled alternative to the popular Audi TT - and even the Nissan 370Z. But there is more to it than simply eye-catching curves.
- Quality: Material quality and fit is excellent. The sharp interior styling is highlighted by a combination of leather and stitched ‘Nabuck’ imitation leather and subtle chrome highlights, with a cheap-looking centre console its only drawback.
- Comfort: The race-style leather seats are well-bolstered and supportive, without being too tight for comfortable casual driving.
Front leg room is ample, however the ‘occasional’ rear seats are not suited to any but the smallest of bodies or as a glorified parcel shelf.
- Equipment: Cruise control, six-speaker stereo with CD, USB, auxiliary and Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate, rain and light sensors, front/rear parking sensors.
- Storage: A lack of storage options in the cabin, even for a sports car. The centre console offers a small armrest cubby, with two shelves in the centre stack and small document pockets in the doors. The glove compartment is tiny, shared with the car’s fuse box.
Rear luggage storage is excellent, with 384 litres in the boot expanding to 760 litres with the rear seats down.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The RCZ auto isn’t brimming with power (with 32kW less than the petrol manual version), however acceleration is swift to around 70km/h. A very lively drive, it’s only in overtaking that the RCZ’s lower output is an issue.
The six-speed auto will automatically hold a lower gear during spirited driving, and slotting the gear selector over to Tiptronic mode gives manual control.
Whether in day-to-day or spirited driving, the automatic transmission is a smooth shifter with a quick response time and intelligent gear selection.
- Refinement: Wind noise in the cabin is very low even at high speed. The optional 19-inch wheels produce some road noise, but the refined engine and quiet exhaust (compared to the throaty note of the manual) make the cabin a quiet environment.
- Suspension: MacPherson struts up front and torsion-beam at the rear. Set up more for the daily commute, the softer suspension of the RCZ auto ensures a more comfortable ride in town than the stiffer settings and heavier bracing of its manual siblings.
- Braking: With the 19-inch wheels, our test car featured larger 340mm ventilated discs up front and 290mm solid discs at the rear. Pedal feel is good, and the brakes are up to the job in spirited driving without feeling harsh in the city.
- ANCAP rating: The RCZ has not yet been tested by ANCAP.
- Safety features: Electronic Stability Program including CDS stability control, ABS, Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Traction Control and Hill Assist.
Two front airbags and two side airbags, along with four three-point seatbelts with force limiters and seatbelt alarms.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: three-year / 100,000km warranty.
- Service costs: Service intervals are every 12 months or 20,000km. Minor services are priced at $475, major services at $761.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Audi TT 2.0 litre automatic ($74,784) - It’s quicker and more powerful, but the auto TT is also $19,794 more expensive than the auto RCZ. On price and power alone, the TT manual 1.8TFSI is closer at $64,500 and 118kW.
- Nissan 370Z automatic ($70,990) - Nissan’s Z is vastly more powerful than both the manual and auto RCZ, along with being a rear-wheel-drive two-seater. However if style is at the top of your list, the Peugeot is a solid alternative - and far cheaper. (click to see 370Z reviews)
Note: prices are manufacturer's list price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
While the manual TT and RCZ models are a closer comparison, the French carmaker may just have the upper hand with the auto. Cheaper by nearly $20,000 than the most affordable auto TT, the RCZ A is every bit as appealing.
The RCZ is a genuine head-turner, and with a well-equipped cabin, lively engine and advanced automatic transmission, it’s a bargain at $54,990.
Gallery: manual model shown.