Text: Inigo S. Roces / Photos: Inigo S. Roces | posted March 21, 2013 15:29
The Regal Route
The new Peugeot, under the Eurobrands Distributors Inc. is certainly making waves these days and one of the cars heading the charge is the halo sports car, the RCZ. This stylish coupe, based on the RC Diamonds and RC Spades concept cars from 2002 gives a little nod to the Audi TT’s design and takes it a couple of steps further.
The RCZ adds some variety to EDI’s current line of family oriented diesel vehicles and is easily the one we wanted to drive first.
It carries the Peugeot family face rather well and looks the fiercest in the whole stable. Broad fenders are filled in nicely by 19 inch wheels. Hiding behind that silver roof arch is a glass roof that forms a double-bubble behind. It ends on a rear deck that mirrors the front, save for a bump in the center for the spoiler. That pop-up rear spoiler comes up in two stages. It deploys automatically to 19 degrees at 100 km/h and an even sharper angle at 34 degrees at speeds above 155 km/h. It can also be manually controlled by the driver.
Inside, the RCZ features a decadent interior with a stitched leather dashboard and leather bucket seats with the lion logo tastefully embossed. A multi-info displays crowns the center stack, while the analog clock blends in nicely with the air con vents. On the driver’s side, there’s intricate detail on the dials. There’s even a seatbelt reminder at the center of the ceiling.
This diminutive coupe is strictly a 2+2. Don’t even bother trying to fit anyone in the back seats. Its trunk is deep and rather narrow but should accommodate for more than your average sports coupe. More space can be had by folding down the trunk wall. It’s tight and slightly claustrophobic confines though for your average adult Filipino and even more so for taller individuals.
Hauling all of this along is a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine paired to a 6-speed automatic with manual mode. Power is delivered to the front wheels held aloft by fully independent suspension all around.
The twin-scroll turbocharger delivers power in a smooth and linear way, almost making you forget it’s a turbo with the virtual absence of turbo lag. It picks up speed quickly and rockets to overtaking speeds with little effort. Noise isolation is top notch, doing well to mask the bumps on the road and how fast you’re actually going. The ride is expectedly firm and handling similar to most front-drive coupes. There’s a great deal of understeer on normal mode. Yet a quick press of the sport mode button, dramatically improves this, returning more neutrally balanced cornering. Its braking is quick and reassuring, thanks to massive discs hiding behind those wheels.
The RCZ certainly draws attention, it tempts with its plush interior and eye-catching styling. It’s high quality interior, fittings and feel can even put some luxury supercars to shame. Though, overall, it still feels more like a grand tourer than a sporty coupe. The best use for the RCZ is in the city, drawing stares at gala openings and red carpet events. It’s a showstopper, and is guaranteed to pull cameras in your direction.
Driving wise, it won’t disappoint with its smooth power and will take on most driving roads with ease and pleasure. It will even return some decent fuel economy at 10.5 km/L out of town, without even trying.
It might even keep pace with Mini’s Coupe on a straight or on twisties. Though for sheer excitement, I’d rather go for the latter. Indeed, it’s a pleasurable drive, but seems more in its element as a cruiser rather than bruiser.