In-depth Reviews

Peugeot RCZ coupe (2009-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

The Peugeot RCZ is brilliant fun to drive thanks to sharp handling and eager engines

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.4 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

The RCZ was Peugeot’s most fun-to-drive car for years. With precise steering and very little body lean in corners, it’s a great-handling car that’s enjoyable without being uncomfortable. It turns into corners really quickly and there’s lots of grip, while the front wheels have a decent amount of traction when you accelerate out of a corner.

The 200bhp petrol version is even more entertaining – with suspension more focused on driving excitement and a smaller steering wheel to offer a pointy feel. The suspension is quite firm, which, combined with the 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to GT models, makes the RCZ a bit harsh over bumpy roads.

The manual gearbox has a decent shift action, although the clutch pedal has a high biting point, which can leave you with leg ache in stop-start traffic. For those seeking the last word in driver involvement, the rear-wheel-drive Toyota GT86 will be even more fun and satisfying, but for day-to-day driving, the RCZ’s punchy engines make it the better all-rounder.

Peugeot RCZ petrol engines

If performance and a tuneful exhaust note are bigger priorities than fuel economy, we’d recommend finding a petrol RCZ. The 1.6-litre turbocharged engine was offered with either 156 or 200bhp. Both versions still feel fast today, accelerating from 0-62mph in 8.3 and 7.6 seconds respectively. Regardless of power, the 1.6-litre engine has the same spirited nature. There’s a decent response when you press the accelerator, but power builds all the way to maximum revs. The exhaust note is rewarding and the engine seems happy to be worked hard. Choosing the automatic gearbox numbs the sporty character of this engine somewhat, while it’s also a bit noisy when it kicks down gears or holds on to a gear under hard acceleration.

Diesel engine

Stylish coupes with diesel engines are not uncommon these days, even if they raised a few eyebrows when the RCZ first arrived. The diesel engine makes 163bhp and gets the car from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds, with lots of low-down power when you need to overtake or accelerate onto a motorway. We think it’s a great choice as a used buy. There’s more noise than the petrol, but the amount of diesel rattle inside the car isn’t too bad. The diesel engine is heavier than the petrol, though, so keen drivers will notice the handling isn’t quite as precise.

Most Popular

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
22 Jun 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Fiat 500 e front corner
Deals
24 Jun 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022
2021 Citroen Ami
Best cars
16 Jun 2022

Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022