Peugeot RCZ THP 200 (2013) Review

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We drive the top of the range Peugeot RCZ THP 200 coupe. If its looks are anything to go by, this is one very special car. But what's it like to live with for a week? David Taylor found out.

Clearly Peugeot is jealous of the success by Audi's TT sportscar. So much so, the French engineers were commissioned to create their own definition of what a sporty, two-door coupé should be. The results are outstanding. Visually, the Peugeot RCZ THP 200 is gorgeous and eye-catching. There's a retractable boot spoiler as well as daytime-running lights, which add to its nice dynamic look.

Everywhere I went, people ogled the car and I'm sure pics of the vehicle found their way onto social media. This car made quite an impact and a great moment occurred as I parked outside by local coffee shop one morning. 'Nice Porsche, man!' came from an onlooker.

Peugeot RCZ THP 200 Engine

That's a good start then, a Peugeot being compared to Porsche! Underneath that sculpted body has to be a performance engine, no ifs or buts. No hybrid nonsense allowed here. Peugeot has equipped the RCZ with the top-of-the-range THP200 motor. This 1.6-litre turbocharged four pot is the same motor as found in the Peugeot 208 GTI, Citroen DS5 and last-generation MINI Cooper. It has 147 kW and 275 Nm - enough to give the Peugeot RCZ a pleasantly sporty demeanour.

If the sportiness doesn't make you smile, the fuel economy will. Despite my enthusiastic driving on the beautiful fuel economy route to Cape Point, the car returned figures of 7.5/100km - astonishing given the nature of the car. Finally there's a sportscar which you can drive hard and not suffer abysmal fuel consumption.

Ride and handling

While it's not breathtakingly fast, it has sufficient performance to make for an exciting drive. There's a delicious induction noise under hard acceleration and the revs scream right around the dial freely. As for that sportscar freedom feeling, the Peugeot RCZ has it in droves. Due to its shape, the Peugeot RCZ THP 200 sticks to the road and is a joy to throw around bends. It'll take a lot of unnecessary effort to unsettle the RCZ, by which time you're bordering on careless. Despite its sporty nature, the ride isn't hard and punishing - a quality which makes this tick the box for being a great daily driver.

The driving position is good. You sit quite low down and there's a heavy-duty six-speed manual gearbox to your left. It feels like you're sitting in a low-slung sportscar, which is lovely. The clutch action is simple and shifting gear feels very manly. There's an automatic gearbox option too, but you'll have to accept a detuned motor.

Standard full-house specification

Unlike its German coupe rivals, everything except for paint options is standard. You're getting plenty of toys and comfort features. Let's start with those seats. Embossed with the Peugeot lion logo, these leather-clad seats offer electrical adjustment and are even heated, making winter mornings less unpleasant.

There's satellite navigation, cruise control as well as Bluetooth/USB connectivity. The infotainment screen pops out from the centre of the dashboard and while it is quite far from the driver, is still easy to read. The satellite navigation isn't the most intuitive, but after taking the time to learn its interface, it becomes straightforward.

Summary and conclusion

While the Peugeot RCZ THP 200 is undoubtedly one of the finest vehicles I've ever had the chance to evaluate, all this loveliness comes at a price. Import duty and the Rand's freefall against the Euro have both combined to destroy any chances of major success for the Peugeot RCZ. R350 000 would be fair for this sexy and sporty coupé, but sadly that's a fantasy price.

The car retails for over R500 000, which'll make many of you wince. It's not all doom and gloom though as over 450 South Africans have ignored the price tag and followed their hearts by purchasing an RCZ. When you're buying something this good and different, it's probably worth it. Interestingly, an equally-specced Audi TT goes for R576k and that's after ticking a few option boxes for features which come standard in the Peugeot RCZ THP 200.

Peugeot RCZ THP 200 Price in South Africa

R524 000 gets you the Peugeot RCZ THP 200. This price includes a three year / 100 000 km warranty and a five year / 100 000 km Premium Plan (Maintenance Plan). Roadside assistance is also thrown in.

Peugeot RCZ THP 200 Quick Specs

Engine  1.6-litre four cylinder turbo petrol
Power  147 kW
Torque  275 Nm
Transmission  Six-speed manual
Wheels  19-inch alloys
0-100km/h  7.5 seconds (claimed)
Fuel economy  6.7 l/100km (claimed)

We like: . A viable alternative to the Audi TT . Fun to drive, yet frugal . Pretty looks . Huge boot

We dislike: . Rear seats are best used for luggage . The exchange rate which has made the RCZ a little pricey

Also consider: . Audi TT . BMW M235i . Volkswagen Scirocco R