Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Peugeot RCZ: Desirable French maid proves a dream

The Peugeot RCZ R sports coupe
The Peugeot RCZ R sports coupe

I am usually a firm advocate of the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ but I have to admit a discrete nod of approval to Peugeot’s designers and engineers for their upgrading of the perky little RCZ sports coupe.

With these tweaks, they have changed a good car into a brilliant one.

Of course, it isn’t in the supercar league but neither is its price tag, which ranges from £22,000 at entry level to £32,000 for the all-singing, all dancing R model. And surely 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds and a potential 146 mph top speed are sufficient for most of us in this increasingly speed camera surveilled world.

Looks wise, it’s as stunning as a concept car, with the unique doubled-bubble roof and rear window making it stand out from the crowd while a rear spoiler that rises automatically from the boot signifies its serious intent.

With a beefed up suspension it handles like a dream when pressing on but, not surprisingly, the price to pay is a hard ride. This one doesn’t like bumps, ridges and potholes.

Power comes from a 1,598 cc four cylinder lump mated a slick six-speed gearbox that together serve the RCZ’s sporting pretentions admirably.

There are high sills, which make entry and exit a bit of a struggle but once inside there’s a welcome sense of spaciousness and I can’t fault the styling and lay-out of the dashboard and controls – though a proper footrest for the left foot would be welcome. Nor did I like the odd locking arrangement of the petrol cap – standing on a wind-blown filling station forecourt late at night, it baffled my lady friend, a white van driver, two lorry drivers and myself. Eventually, the cashier left his post and 10-minutes later cracked the riddle.

And, oh yes, the character-laden RCZ proved to have a nasty bite for next morning the big, wide-opening passenger side door swung shut, trapping my hand. I was stuck there for five minutes until a couple of passing cyclists were able to fish my keys from my pocket. The remote would not function but the old school door key did the trick.

The rest of my week behind the stylish, leather-clad steering wheel was, thankfully, nothing less than joyous. The capacious boot, with a handy mesh net to stop luggage rolling about, swallowed our needs for a week of fun motoring.

In its element out on the open road, this desirable French maid proved a dream – and it was just as adept tootling round town and coping with the rush hour commute.

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