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.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
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

    Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

    High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

    £70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

    Teaching Assistant

    £50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

    Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments