Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi FAP

Price: £22,250

Top speed: 137 mph 0-62mph 8.8 seconds

Consumption: 53.2mpg

CO2 emissions: 139g/km

Best for:
Returning Peugeot fans

Also worth considering? Audi TT, Renault Megane Coupe, Volkswagen Scirocco

Peugeot's new RCZ coupé enjoys an unusual distinction: its door mirrors offer a more pleasing outlook than those of just about any other mass-produced car on the market. That's because they provide the best view of one of the RCZ's most appealing features, the voluptuous curves of its rear-side bodywork, which recall the similarly attractive flanks of Volkswagen's 1955 Type 14 Karmann Ghia.

It's probably worth pointing out two other notable aspects of this car's design: the striking single-piece aluminium roof arches, and the arresting "double-bubble" contours of the main roof panel and rear window. Both features, apparently, are difficult to implement in a production car, but I think Peugeot was right to make the effort. Only the RCZ's frontal treatment has a hint of the open-mouthed "fish-face" look that mars some of the company's recent mainstream models, but the overall result is still very impressive.

The great reflected view of the RCZ's rear bodywork isn't the only pleasure available to the occupant of this new car's driving seat. Peugeot's popular cars of the Eighties and Nineties offered exceptional ride and handling, and even the company's slower models had an appealing agility and subjective eagerness in those days. Unfortunately, the zip later turned to stodge and Peugeot's 21st-century products generally haven't had the same charm – until now.

There have already been encouraging signs of a return to form with the understated 5008 seven-seater but the good news is confirmed by the RCZ, which showed quite a lot of the old Peugeot spirit on the demanding hairpin bends of the Basque mountain roads on which I tested it. But there is one area in particular in which the RCZ impresses. Older Peugeots were always excellent at suppressing road noise. Here, too, the company has rediscovered its old touch and the RCZ rides very quietly, a trait shared with the recently launched DS3 from Peugeot's corporate sister, Citroën.

The RCZ is available with both diesel and petrol engines. The diesel probably provides the best balance of performance and economy but the most powerful turbocharged 1.6 litre petrol option is also worth a look – or more accurately, a listen – as it is one of the few modern four- cylinder engines that sounds good when it is working hard. On the evidence of the RCZ, it looks like Peugeot is back. Let's hope it's here to stay.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture