Long Term Test Report: Peugeot RCZ GT HDi 163
There is a saying that all good things come to an end – something James Folkard found out this month when he said goodbye to his lovely RCZ.
I’ve been running the RCZ since last November, and in that time I’ve had the chance to experience it’s performance in virtually all weather conditions that we may expect to have in the UK. It performed admirably during the pre-Christmas snow, finding the ice and white fluffy stuff much less of a challenge than many more suitable looking vehicles.
The warm weather in May gave a good opportunity to go out and play, and to push the handling of the RCZ a bit. I find it always good fun to push the grip of cars when going around roundabouts, and during a day of summer sun beating down on the tarmac the smile the RCZ brought to my face says it all. The firm suspension, the wide stance, the chunky low profile tyres and low centre of gravity (there really isn’t much of the car above waist height except glass and the feature aluminium beams) is an ideal setup for minimal body roll and a quick corner. Of course a four wheel drive system would improve an already great setup, and Peugeot has been teasing us with the idea, since it showed the RCZ HYbrid4 concept last year, using the same set up that is found in the 3008 HYbrid4 and the upcoming 508 RH.
Having not kept record of brim-to-brim calculations when filling up the RCZ, I’ve been relying on the RCZ’s fuel computer to do the maths for me. It has steadfastly told me that I’ve bene achieving 42.7mpg – is it really possible that I have been that consistent as a driver? With journeys varying quite a lot from month to month, I would have expected a bit more variation. A couple of glitches with the electrics in the cabin have made me wonder whether there is something amiss. The satellite navigation screen tidies itself away neatly when exiting the car, but when starting up has been a bit more of a palaver. It seems to nod up and down, then up, then down, before coming to rest at the open position. At first I thought it was just a blip, but it has been doing it more regularly of late. And then there’s the audio system, which at times doesn’t seem to recognise the USB stick I have plugged in. Occasionally it will play the radio first for a while before it will fire into life with the MP3 tracks I have on the stick – maybe it has something against Clapton, or maybe there are a few gremlins buried in the electrical system somewhere – sporadically showing themselves.
The RCZ is definitely the most fun I have had behind the wheel of a Peugeot – at 32 I’m a few years light of having had the opportunity to own a 205 GTI during its heyday, and the 306 GTi-6 would probably have cost me the same again to insure when they were a-plenty.
Extremely well equipped, the capabilities and practicalities of the RCZ have really surprised me. My main concern before picking up the car was the size of it. Not the width, but the internal capacity. It doesn’t look like a particularly practical car, and when it comes to carrying passengers it isn’t always. It’s a two-door, and the front seats don’t flip forward to assist passenger access – moving them forward is a slow process using the electric seat motors. At best, the RCZ is a two-plus-two, and really only useable by children, as the rear seats aren’t particularly deep and there’s not a lot of legroom, especially if the front driver is tall. It hasn’t presented a problem for us though, as the back seat has been ideal for Billie, our Chocolate Labrador, and she has enjoyed the sticking her head out of the passenger window to do some serious ear flapping in the wind.
The size of the boot has come as a great surprise to everyone we have given a tour of the car to. At 384 litres it is much bigger than it looks from the outside, and is plenty big enough to hold a major grocery shop, baggage and ridge tent for a weekends camping, or a Christmas worth of presents for the family. I’ve also found that fitting in long lengths of timber isn’t an issue, either – much to my surprise – a task that would defeat most hatchbacks.
So the ultimate question as the RCZ heads back to Peugeot’s headquarters in Coventry – would I buy an RCZ to live with on a day to day basis? The answer of course is yes, but there’s one proviso. With the lifestyle that I lead, I couldn’t run an RCZ if I didn’t have access to another car. Quite often I need to carry four people, and the RCZ wasn’t designed to carry four in comfort. It’s been fun – I’ll really miss it – what’s next? All will be revealed in the next issue…
Peugeot RCZ GT HDi 163
|Price when new:||£24,550|
|Price as tested (including options):||£27,430|
|Optional extras:||Alloy wheel upgrade – Sortilege midnight silver, black brake calipers, black door mirrors, black front grille, full integral leather upholstery, JBL Hi Fi, Peugeot Connect media navigation|
|Engine:||1997cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel|
|Power output:||161bhp at 4,000rpm|
|Maximum torque:||236lb ft at 2,000rpm|
|Maximum towing weight:||0kg|
|Fuel consumption:||53.2mpg (official combined)
42.7mpg (on test)
|CO2 emissions (Taxband):||139g/km (E)|
|Benefit in kind tax liability:||20%|
|Size (Length/width with mirrors):||4,290/2,107mm|
|Boot space (Minimum/maximum):||384/760litres|
|EuroNCAP safety rating:||Not yet tested|
|Date arrived:||1st November 2010|
|Mileage to date:||7,375miles|
|Costs to date:||£285 for replacement tyre|
|Faults to date:||Rattle from overhead console, satellite navigation screen malfunctioning.|