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Peugeot RCZ: Buying guide and review (2010-2015)

Peugeot RCZ: Buying guide and review (2010-2015) Classic and Performance Car
Peugeot RCZ-R Peugeot RCZ-R Peugeot RCZ-R Peugeot RCZ-R Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ
Over the course of its long history, Peugeot has produced some of France’s most iconic and well-loved automobiles. After a slightly dull patch following the highs of the 1990s, the 308 RCZ concept car of 2007 – with its swoopy coupe lines and double bubble roof – showed that Peugeot could still produce a stunning car. Public response for this concept proved to be extremely positive, with the RCZ finally going on sale in 2010, winning praise and awards from journalists, and selling relatively strongly throughout its production run. It was a welcome return to form.

Convertible and hybrid versions were contemplated, but while it was only ever offered in coupe form the RCZ’s unique styling and well resolved handling made it stand out from the competition. Production ended in 2015, and with Peugeot focusing on its core models, a direct replacement is unlikely. But that shouldn’t stop you enjoying a used bargain, and now may well be the perfect time to buy a used example. 

Which RCZ to buy?

The RCZ range was limited to three petrol and one diesel engine option, all powering the front wheels. The petrol versions were equipped with the PSA family of 1.6 litre turbocharged engines, and were initially available in either 154bhp or 197bhp flavours. A notchy but effective six-speed manual was standard across the range, while the lower powered petrol variants could be specified with a six-speed automatic. 

Need a bit more performance? The RCZ-R came along in 2013, pushing an impressive 267bhp through its front wheels, via a limited slip differential. This was a serious performance machine, with 0-62mph dispatched in under 6 seconds – all from a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. 

A 165bhp diesel version was also offered which was actually quicker in gear than the base petrol and offered the best fuel consumption in the range. Specification levels were generous with Sport and GT spec levels available from the outset. Limited editions such as the Asphalt (500 units), Magnetic (170 units) and Red Carbon (300 units) were introduced during production and featured unique interior and exterior trim, drivetrain components remained unmodified. 

Despite the rather ordinary McPherson strut/torsen beam suspension setup that was shared with the 308, a number of detail changes imbued the RCZ with direct and sporty handling characteristics far removed from its stablemates. Larger alloys tend to crash a bit over bumps but ride is generally good for a sporty car. Interior space was great in the front, but extremely cramped for rear passengers, while trim quality was considered adequate but not quite up to the best in class. On the other hand, boot space and fuel efficiency were right up there.

The pick of the range has got to be the 200 THP petrol variant, offering more than adequate performance and excellent handling, you can search for one of the limited edition version for a touch of added exclusivity.

Performance and specs

Peugeot RCZ 200 THP
Engine 1598cc 16 valve DOHC I4 
Power 197bhp @ 5800 rpm 
Torque 203lb ft @ 1400rpm
Top speed 144 mph 
0-62mph 7.6 seconds 
Fuel consumption 40.9mpg 
Gearbox six-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2612mm
Length 4278mm
Width 1845mm
Height 1359mm
Weight 1372kg

Common problems

• The RCZ range has proven to be very reliable so far on the whole. Granted, the oldest cars are only six years old, but thanks to tried and tested underpinnings and running gear, recurring issues are thankfully mostly absent.

• Petrol engines are PSA units, jointly designed with BMW. One potential issue to beware of is a noisy timing chain, caused by a failing tensioner. The problem is well documented, and known to specialists. Listen out for a rattling sound from the engine. If caught early, it’s a relatively simple fix, but it can cause significant damage if left to develop. 

• Diesel engines are tried and tested Peugeot units

• Instrument displays in some cars developed lighting faults, but this should have been fixed under warranty. It’s worth checking if the car you are considering was affected

• Brakes are more than up to the job, however there have been complaints of squeaky units – which are not always easy to resolve

• Electronic niggles were the most common fault mentioned by owners, generally resolved by the dealers but it is worth checking that everything is working – especially as some cars have potentially been out of the dealer network for a couple of years. 

• The Sat Nav came in for some criticism for being difficult to operate and a bit outdated.

• A set of the standard fitment Michelin Primacy 3 tyres can be quite expensive, but most other consumable items are reasonably priced.

Model history

2010: RCZ launched initially available in Sport and GT spec levels with one petrol engine in two states of tune (197bhp and 154bhp) and one diesel engine producing 165bhp. Six-speed gearbox standard across the range with a 6 speed automatic optional only on the 154bhp petrol.
2011: Asphalt specification level introduced featuring unique alloys, sat nav and interior sports kit (500 units built)
2013: RCZ range receives mild facelift, and 267bhp RCZ R goes on sale. RCZ Magnetic edition launched with 170 units built, only available with the 154bhp petrol and diesel powertrains.
2014: RCZ Red Carbon edition launched – 300 units built
2015: Final RCZ produced with no direct replacement planned

Owners clubs, forums and websites

www.peugeotrczforum.co.ukRCZ specific forum
peugeotownersclub.org.ukPeugeot Owners Club

Summary and prices

The RCZ was discontinued in 2015, but there is still a large variety of low-mileage RCZs on the market. Earliest 2010 models starting from around £7000, you can grab a genuine bargain. 

A 2012 RCZ 200 THP 197bhp petrol model will set you back around £11,000, and pricing does not vary much (except the RCZ R) between the diesel and petrol cars, regardless of gearbox or power output. That means that it is only worth going for the 154bhp petrol model if an automatic gearbox is a must, or you need a lower output for insurance reasons. Special editions may command a small premium, and are worthwhile for the additional spec levels they offer. 

The very rare RCZ R starts at around £16,000, rising to about £20,000 for the last low mileage cars. At this price point it makes a lot more sense than it did when new. 

Whichever model you choose, the RCZ is a fantastic little coupe, providing the kind of engaging driving experience that will make you want to take it out just for the fun of it. It also stands out from the crowd, offering a sense of exclusivity that no Audi TT ever could. 

Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 1st Sep 2016
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  • PEUGEOT RCZ 1.6 THP GT 2dr

    £6,945 £6,945

    Type: Used Year: 2010 Make: PEUGEOT Model: RCZ Trim: 1.6 THP GT 2dr Body: Coupe Trans: Manual Mileage: 56000 Engine Size: 1598 Ext Color: Grey

    • Mileage: 56000 mi
    • Engine size: 1598
    For sale
    £6,945 £6,945
    Cottage Car Sales (Hayes)
    02087121879 View contact number