2013 Peugeot RCZ review

* Face-lifted Peugeot RCZ driven * Updated looks, but no mechanical changes * On sale now, priced from 21,595...

2013 Peugeot RCZ review

The Peugeot RCZ has been on sale for less than three years, but this Audi TT rival has already been revised.

The biggest changes are on the outside, where a smaller grille, sharper headlights and LED running lights give Peugeot's coupe a sportier look.

Two new alloy wheel designs and exterior colours join the options list, but the trims (Sport and GT) and engines are carried over unchanged.

This means there's a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol unit (available with either 154bhp or 197bhp), along with a 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel. We tried the diesel and the more powerful petrol.

What's the 2013 Peugeot RCZ like to drive?
Exactly the same as it was before. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is smooth and delivers impressive real-world pace thanks to its massive mid-range torque. However, it runs out of puff higher up the rev range, whereas the 197bhp petrol continues to pull strongly and feels hot hatch-fast.

Ride quality is less impressive. The RCZ struggles to settle on typical British road surfaces, and tends to crash over bumps in town, although the car's stiff suspension does keep body roll to a minimum in bends.

Not that this makes it particularly fun. The heavy steering is a little nervous at higher speeds and is inconsistent in its weighting and response, particularly when you're cornering quickly.

Overall, the RCZ is an approachable and unintimidating coupe, but dynamically it falls well short of the benchmark set by the Audi TT.

What's the 2013 Peugeot RCZ like inside?
Virtually unchanged, which means you it has a solid, plush-feeling cabin that's also rather impractical.

The rear seats are out of bounds for anyone but small children, while visibility is also poor due to the thick, raked-back pillars and narrow rear window.

Still, these are issues suffered by many coupes, and the RCZ redeems itself with a big boot and a long list of standard equipment.

Entry-level Sport models come with automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, a USB connection and 18-inch alloys.

For an extra 2400, GT trim adds electrically adjustable and heated leather seats, front parking sensors, a smaller steering wheel and a short-throw gearbox which makes gearchanges more satisfying.

Should I buy one?
The Peugeot RCZ is available with some fine engines, and blends style with low running costs if you go for the diesel version.

So does an Audi TT 2.0 TDI, though, plus its much better to drive and has stronger resale values that offset its higher price.

Alternatively, a VW Scirocco offers more space and a more comfortable ride for similar money, so you'll need to really love the RCZ's looks to justify its flaws.

What Car? says...

Audi TT
Volkswagen Scirocco

Read the full Peugeot RCZ review>>

Specification 1.6 THP 100
Engine size 1.6-litre turbo petrol
Price from 23,980
Power 197bhp
Torque 206lb ft
0-62mph 7.6 seconds
Top speed 146mph
Fuel economy 42.1mpg
CO2 emissions 155g/km

Engine size 2.0 diesel
Price from 25,830
Power 161bhp
Torque 320lb ft
0-60mph 8.7 seconds
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 53.2mpg
CO2 139g/km

By Vicky Parrott and Steve Huntingford