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Journeys : Feb March 2011
February / March 2011 35 Life on the move 6446 The 200-year old French manufacturer Peugeot is on the march with a range of new models released into Australia in the last few months. This time, it’s their hero sports car, the RCZ. The RCZ first came to light at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007 as a show car – within three years it went on sale as a full production vehicle. Unlike a lot of show cars the RCZ stayed very true to the original design when it moved to production, including such features as the double-bubble roof and rear-screen design and the aluminium arches that stretch along the roof line. The ‘occasional’ rear seating is just that – about five minutes is enough, even for a child. The other annoying factor is access to the rear seats – the electrically-driven front seats move for ward painfully slowly. On the positive side, both rear seats do fold to make a decent-sized boot area. My advice is to think of it only as a two-seater. The leather-clad front seats offer good support, but I found the dr iving position not quite right. Mechanically there are three variants. The 1.6l 147kW direct-injected petrol w ith twin-scroll turbo (shared with BMW/Mini) is mated to a six-speed manual. As you’d expect, this combination offers the best drive. The small capacity engine loves to rev, making all the right noises from under the bonnet, thanks to some additional induction tuning work. Despite a long clutch pedal, shifts are short and precise once under way. Almost as quick from a standstill, the fat torque of the diesel 120kW 2.0l turbo goes equally well, but you lose a little of that sporty nature w ith a lower-revving diesel. It does however offer better economy if you like to look sporty and remain frugal. The 118kw petrol auto offers a different dr ive, and while it doesn’t quite provide the forward propulsion of the other two, the niceties of the automatic box give you a more rounded exper ience. Only when pushed does the weight over the front wheels induce understeer. Other wise, cor ner ing grip levels are high, w ith little body roll and precise, forgiving steering. Ride is firm but never uncomfortable. Safety is taken care of by multiple airbags ESP, ABS, EBA EBD and as usual, the list of acronyms goes on. If you want a car that gets noticed (trust me, you’ll get plenty of looks), is sporty and fun to drive and isn’t too harsh on the environment, then the RCZ might be just what you are looking for. The biggest dilemma might be which variant to buy – they’re all priced identically at just under $55,000 (plus on roads) and each has its ow n appeal. Darren Moody writes “My credibility is shot to pieces ... ... I never thought I would say it about a French car, but I would nearly own one of these.” Life on the move
Apr May 2011