Time to say a fond farewell to our Peugeot RCZ. Sue Baker looks back on a sporty summer, autumn and winter with the svelte 2+2 Pug.
Back then, it was fresh from a recent revamp that had given it a new nose and an upgraded cabin. ‘Our’ car, the GT model, came with a classily chic two-tone leather interior and charcoal grey paint, with the car’s signature roof arches in anodised metal. Some RCZs now have painted arches, but to my eye the unpainted ones adorn the car better and draw the eye to its distinctive silhouette.
In nearly a year as a Diesel Car long-termer, the RCZ has behaved pretty flawlessly, while the odometer has steadily clocked round past 12,000 miles. The PSA Group’s excellent 2.0-litre, 161bhp turbodiesel engine in this car is a very solid performer, making it capable of nearly double the legal UK limit, but much more importantly delivering a sub-nine seconds 0-62 mph acceleration time. Yet its fuel consumption during its time with us has consistently been in the mid-to-upper 40s mpg. With careful eco-driving we have sometimes managed to push it past the official combined figure of 53.2mpg, but in the normal scrum of hurry-somewhere daily driving it has consistently delivered a respectable 45 to 47mpg.
There have been long trips and fun times with the RCZ. Last summer it soaked up the miles on an outing from Kent to north Wales and back, a round trip of 600 miles in a couple of smile-inducing, distance-munching days. Then a few weeks later the car came under attack back home on our driveway on the north Kent-south London border, when a cheeky cock pheasant strayed across from a nearby nature reserve and took exception to the sight of another cocky bird viewed in the RCZ’s shiny front wing. It was his own reflection, of course. Happily no lasting damage was done to the car, but it was a nerve-shredding moment for its custodian.
Late summer saw us on a pilgrimage to Gloucester, to visit the factory where the RCZ’s distinctive roof arches are manufactured. It seems to surprise many people that a French-designed car, built in Austria, is equipped with roof adornments made of cast aluminium alloy produced in Sweden, that are cut, pressed, polished and anodised into the finished product here in Britain. Such is the international nature of the modern motor industry.
Last autumn took the RCZ and me on a gallop to Yorkshire, where a crisp evening in Barnsley found me reaching for the seat heater switch to activate the cosseting electric blanket built into both the car’s front seats. One change I’d like to make is to move that switch to somewhere more accessible, but it’s a small point in a generally well-conceived car that has proved far more practical to live with than its svelte sporty styling would suggest. Yes, the dinky little pair of back seats are small, really suited only to small children or for use as stowage for daily paraphernalia. But having a +2 is occasionally handy and makes the car more practical than a pure two-seater. Cleverly, Peugeot’s designers have also accommodated a decently sized boot under the low-sweeping philtrum rear screen, and we have been consistently pleased with how much can be fitted into it
On the way back from Yorkshire, the RCZ took on a cavalry role as ‘Rescue Car Zippy’, when the editor’s car suffered an electrical breakdown on the M1 and we back-tracked to give him a lift home. Someone dubbed the Pug and me as the ‘fifth emergency service’ from that episode, which is a nice accolade to remember it by.
What I won’t miss from our time with the RCZ is its flaky Bluetooth, which was all too often inclined to drop out in mid-call, and then slow to re-sync. Driving as many cars as we do, Diesel Car testers tend to be Bluetooth connoisseurs, and the Peugeot set-up for phone connection is not the best of them. Nor will I miss the obscured rearward view in heavy rain, when water cascades down the philtrum groove in the rear glass, with no wiper to swish it away.
What will I miss? The eye-catching look of the car seen reflected back from shop windows as you drive down a nighttime High Street, the sporty behaviour on a twisty road, the cosseting feel and cool design of the cabin, the elegant little jewel of a clock, and the positive peer appraisal of what we’ve been driving. Goodbye RCZ. It’s been fun.
|Whats Hot:||The sensational looks of this RCZ, with its voluptuous shape and swooping roof arches.|
|Whats Not:||The temperamental Bluetooth mobile phone connection that disconnects mid-conversation all too often makes chatting on the move a real problem.|
|Date arrived:||8th April 2013|
|Mileage to date:||12,495 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||53.2mpg (official combined)
45.6mpg (on test)