By Patrick James on 2013-08-25 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Peugeot RCZ Sport
FANCY a stunning looking coupe with blistering performance that won't cost and arm and a leg to buy and is reasonably cheap to run?
Then look no further than Peugeot's ultra-chic RCZ, a car that begs to be noticed and loves to be driven.
It is simply a stunning looking car, particularly after a recent facelift. All power bulges and curves and with its innovative double bubble rear screen and striking alloy wheels, it looks better than any competitor in its price range and a match for anything out of it.
It has an impressive choice of engines, with choice of two different powered 1.6-litre petrol engines and a two-litre diesel unit. All perform well but the turbocharged 200bhp petrol is a real firecracker.
The RCZ has a powerful, almost menacing stance, sitting low to the road and recent revision include a smaller grille and central intake with satin chrome bars.
The grille is accentuated by a lower air intake which is extended on each side by a LED light signatures. The double bubble roof also gets the treatment with two carbon options while there are 10 alloy wheel design options.
The already classy interior now features an acoustic windscreen which deadens exterior noise and a visibility pack consisting of automatic wipers, automatic headlamps, electrochromatic interior mirror, guide-me-home lighting and approach lighting on unlocking.
The central seven-inch touch screen controls navigation where fitted, telephone and music functions and includes MP3 and CD capability even if it is a bit fiddly at times to use.
The seats are comfortable and supportive and multi-adjustable while the sporty steering wheel - which features radio controls - and short shift gear stick feature brushed aluminium finish. Dash and doors have a classy looking leather finish.
Nominally a four seater, the rear pair will only suit small children, otherwise, for the front seats occupants leg and surprisingly, headroom, considering the coupe styling, is good.
Also surprising is the amount of boot space, with 309 litres available while the back of the rear seats can be folded for extra capacity, increasing it to 760 litres.
This is no sheep in wolf's clothing. It looks like it can move a bit and it can, especially the 200bhp version I tried.
The engine rockets the car from 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 146mph. Mated to the slick six-speed gearbox and nicely weighted steering it is a delight to drive.
A rear spoiler which deploys into two positions, depending on speed, also adds to the fun as does the sound from the exhaust has also been enhanced via an accoustic system to give an extra sporty rasp under hard acceleration.
The low slung stance and sporty suspension means that it clings limpet like on corners, with masses of grip.
The harder suspension does have a downside on potholed roads with lumps and bumps sometimes, crashing through, but generally it is a comfortable and refined ride.
Excellent performance and the economy isn't bad either with a claimed 42-ish mpg and reasonably low CO2 emissions, attracting a benefit in kind tax rate of 23 per cent which would not necessarily put you off choosing it as a company vehicle.
Safety features include multiple airbags, ABS and stability programme and a host of standard gizmos and goodies make this a real value proposition when up against it rivals. But outstanding looks are surely the clincher.
Peugeot RCZ Sport 200 THP
Mechanical: 200bhp, 1,598cc, 4vyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 146mph
0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
Combined MPG: 42.2
Insurance Group: 34
C02 emissions: 155g/km
Bik rating: 23%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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