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Driven: Peugeot RCZ GT THP200

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Driven: Peugeot RCZ GT THP200 – Out with the numbers in with the letters.

The Peugeot RCZ, first released back in 2010, is Peugeot’s answer to the sports compact market. The RCZ intends to add an edge of exclusiveness to the French designed mass car market. Starting at £26,635 on the road, it has a 1.6-Litre turbo engine, 200bhp, front wheel drive, and has genuine head turning capabilities.

The Design Concept

If I had to plot the fundamental metrics of how a small sporty car should look, it will always come out looking very similar to the concept of the RCZ. It’s a great design. Most people make the assumption that the RCZ is midengined purely from the body shape of the car. In my opinion this is a brilliant misconception by Peugeot, it complements the car well.

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Another impressive aspect of the design is the aluminium arches that run from the A to C pillar. On the model tested they have been dressed in black, but they are a defining feature of the car and really make the RCZ stand out from the other road goers. Between the two arches you will see the, double bubble muscular roof and rear window screen, which from behind give the car great curves, and is a complete unique feature and bold move by Peugeot. It looks great.

All the exterior aspects of the car are fairly smooth and stylish, but subtle and there are few nice touches that take it the extra mile, for example the LED running lights, 18” alloy wheels and dual chrome exhausts that give the car a premium feel.

Interior

There is no doubt it’s a good place to be, it looks better than any other Peugeot that I have ever seen. You sit towards the middle of the car with a tiny rear bench seat behind you. The rear seats do feel like an after thought, but you can get an adult in one of them for a short trip without too much of a problem; or you can just fold the seats down to increase the boots space. The front seats however are very sporty, supportive and really look the part. Being the GT you get leather and aluminium accents on a lot of the touch points around the car; the gear lever, the flat bottomed steering wheel and door cards, all a reminder that you paid a little more for your top end RCZ GT.

Overall the interior of the RCZ matches the well designed and well implemented exterior of the car. It feels more sophisticated and cleanly designed than any other Peugeot I’ve been in. The level of tech isn’t too bad either, you get music straight from your phone using Bluetooth, built in hands free, sat nav and dual climate control. It is all well-packaged, but there is room for improvement; the materials used on the all the buttons and controls to the dashboard don’t feel as solid as the German standards we are becoming used to.

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What’s it like to drive

Getting into the car you’re well aware this isn’t your standard Peugeot, as I said all the GT touches make it feel like a more premium car and you notice this every time you get in. Moving off it feels great, as we have come to expect with all Peugeots it’s nice and easy to drive, it’s light, and it has plenty of power. My only comments for improvements on the car would be to improve the steering feedback and gearshift feel slightly. Apart from that there is nothing not to like about how the Peugeot drives. It’s a great ride.

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Performance

The sports compact has a 200bhp turbo charged 1.6-Litre engine with front wheel drive. When you think about it, basically this is your typical hot hatch spec nowadays, but it looks like a mid-engine sports car. Surely the RCZ is the best of both worlds?!

0 – 60 comes in at 7.6 seconds and the top speed is 146mph, this is double what you will ever need from any car in the UK. It has a wide track, fairly low stance, and a turbocharged engine, but it is still front wheel drive…don’t worry though as this hasn’t spoilt the experience, there is loads of fun to be had in the RCZ GT.

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Overall

The RCZ GT is very impressive, it looks great, the engine and handling performance ticks nearly all the right boxes, and on top of this it has a completely bespoke look; especially from behind. The RCZ is often compared to the Audi TT because of its form factor, but I believe these cars are in two different markets. The RCZ is more fun, it’s quirky and gives you a completely different driving experience than the Audi, and more importantly you’ll see a hundred TT’s a day in any city, where the RCZ is still a pretty rare car!

Specification

  • Price: £26,635.00 OTR
  • Engine: 1.6-Litre Turbocharged
  • Power: 200bhp
  • Torque: 206 lb ft
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 7.6 Seconds
  • Top speed: 146mph
  • Economy: 42.1mpg Combined
  • CO2: 155g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley

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