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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.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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