Used test – sporty coupés: Mini Coupe vs Peugeot RCZ vs Volkswagen Scirocco

Buying second-hand doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style, as these slinky used coupes prove. But which one delivers the most smiles per mile?...

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What Car? team
30 Jul 2016 06:00 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

Our Verdict

There’s no doubting the financial basis on which the Peugeot RCZ makes sense. Indeed, if you’re looking for the coupé that’s the cheapest to buy and run here, it’s the one to have. Throw in the smooth, peppy engine, attractive dashboard and that nimble, well-controlled chassis and it’s easy to see the appeal.

The problem is, the RCZ has too many flaws to fully recommend it. For starters, there’s that suspension: to attain the level of agility on offer, Peugeot has had to stiffen it up to such an extent that the RCZ verges on the uncomfortable over all but the smoothest of roads, and the steering wheel writhes in your hands if you hit a mid-corner bump. Those rear seats are pretty useless, too.

What about the Volkswagen Scirocco, then? Well, it’s certainly a better bet than the Peugeot RCZ. For one thing, you can actually fit people into its rear seats with reasonable comfort; for another, it rides far more comfortably, while still delivering exciting handling, not to mention thrilling performance.

As good as it is, though, it can’t quite match the Mini for outright thrills, and it doesn’t come cheap, either – not only is the Scirocco the most expensive car here to buy, but also to fuel, service and tax, too. That said, if you’re prepared to pay the premium, it does make a very convincing all-rounder – and if those extra rear seats are a must-have, the Volkswagen is the obvious choice.

If not, though, the Mini Coupé has the edge over the Scirocco. True, you can’t carry as many people in it, but you do at least you get a usefully sized boot.

Besides, let’s face it: these cars are about having fun, and the Mini delivers that in spades. Not only is it fabulously fast, but its scalpel-sharp handling makes it an absolute hoot to buzz along down a back road, without the unpleasant ride quality payoff of the Peugeot. And while it’s not the cheapest thing in the world to buy, it isn’t bad value either, and it shouldn’t cost you too much to run. Throw in its bluff looks, and it’s clearly the most desirable used coupé of the bunch.

Read our review of the new Volkswagen Scirocco

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Also consider:


1st – Mini Coupé

Used test – sporty coupés: Mini Coupe vs Peugeot RCZ vs Volkswagen Scirocco

For Sensational performance and handling; comfortable ride

Against Strictly a two-seater; limited visibility

Verdict Few cars of this age deliver more fun for your money

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full Mini Coupé review

Find a used Mini Coupé for sale in the What Car? Classifieds


2nd – Volkswagen Scirocco

Used test – sporty coupés: Mini Coupe vs Peugeot RCZ vs Volkswagen Scirocco

For Comfortable, roomy interior; vibrant performance; good discounts

Against Not as much fun as the Mini; expensive to buy and run

Verdict An excellent sports coupé, and the most practical here

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Volkswagen Scirocco review

Find a used Volkswagen Scirocco for sale in the What Car? Classifieds


3rd – Peugeot RCZ

Used test – sporty coupés: Mini Coupe vs Peugeot RCZ vs Volkswagen Scirocco

For Smooth, punchy engine; agile on smooth roads; cheap to buy and run

Against Too firm and easily upset by bumpy roads; useless rear seats

Verdict The budget option, and great to look at, but ultimately rather flawed

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full used Peugeot RCZ review

Find a used Peugeot RCZ for sale in the What Car? Classifieds


Specifications: Mini Coupé John Cooper Works

Engine size 1.6-litre petrol

List price when new £23,795

Price today £9000

Power 208bhp

Torque 192lb ft

0-60mph 6.9sec

Top speed 146mph

Fuel economy 39.8mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 165g/km


Specifications: Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TSI 210 GT

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

List price when new £24,705

Price today £10,000

Power 208bhp

Torque 207lb ft

0-60mph 6.5sec

Top speed 149mph

Fuel economy 38.2mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 172g/km


Specifications: Peugeot RCZ 1.6 THP 200 GT

Engine size 1.6-litre petrol

List price when new £25,945

Price today £8500

Power 141bhp

Torque 203lb ft

0-60mph 7.5sec

Top speed 141mph

Fuel economy 42.1mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 159g/km

Price today is based on a 2011 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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