My car history part 16: Ooo la la

I’ve owned Leona, my ten year old Seat Leon 1.9TDi, for a couple of months now, and, perhaps predictably, I’m bored.

It was a good choice and more or less meets my requirements for a daily commuter, but I’ve decided to treat myself to something a little flasher.

I’d considered the Audi TT and A5; the Merc CLC or a Jag XF. I’d ruled out the Hyundai Coupe and the Honda CRZ. A GT86 would be great but I will have to be patient until the price drops somewhat.

One day, I was sat in Leona with my 6 year old daughter, waiting for her to finish the snack we’d just bought at the supermarket before setting off to visit a relative. A car pulled into the space in front of us.

I asked her what she thought of it.

Her response was simple: Buy it.

And I’m seriously tempted to take her advice.

There’s one problem…it’s French.

A Peugeot.

A true petrol head can’t own a Peugeot, can they?!?

But this is no ordinary Peugeot – it’s the stunning RCZ.

It’s sleek sexy lines and unique double bubble roof are captivating.

The Peugeot RCZ
The Peugeot RCZ

But did I mention it’s French?

And that it’s a Peugeot?

I’d already suffered with the unreliability and expensive servicing of the Peugeot 306 I had owned for three years. Did I want to go down that route again?

I started to do some research. No doubt the engine options were rubbish, and they were terribly unreliable.

I was suprised to find that this isn’t the case.

The engine options (aside from the top of range and expensive RCZ-R model) are a 2.0 litre diesel or a 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engine in two different guises. Dismissing the diesel, I looked into the 1.6 petrol option – surely that would be too small and underpowered? My 306’s 1.6 engine only produced 90bhp.

But that was back in 1993, and it was a natural aspirated engine.

This turbo charged unit produces either 156bhp or 200bhp.


Assuming at the time that the 200bhp engine would be horribly inefficient – ‘better’ (sorry Peugeot) car makers typically struggling to better 35mpg with a 200bhp engine – I considered the 156bhp option. Would that be enough power?

The car is pretty light, and reading the official as well as owners reviews, it sounded sufficient – and promised an excellent 44mpg.

That’s about what I’m getting when driving the Leon, erm, ‘enthusiastically’.

So perhaps the 200bhp option wouldn’t be so bad… I guessed 36mpg.

The official combined figure is 42mpg.

That’s impressive. Go Peugeot!!

But how realistic is that claim?

I checked the owners reviews.

A Peugeot RCZ in grey
A Peugeot RCZ in grey

The more I read, the more I fell in love. The RCZ sounds perfect for me. It’s fast enough, makes a nice noise, is spacious (at the front – rear is for children only, which is fine), and is surprisingly efficient.

Some people were only getting 32mpg, but they weren’t even trying. I read that most people doing regular ‘motorway speeds’ were getting around 40mpg, which I’d be very happy with for a 200bhp petrol engine. Revs at 85mph in sixth gear were reported to be 2,500rpm – that’s the same that Leona achieves at that speed (apparently, of course), and that’s a low revving diesel. So it’s comfortable & quiet & economical at those speeds.


Hang on hang on hang on.

I’ve been down this road before.

I always buy a car and then get bored or realise it’s not suitable in some way or another after 2 or 3 months.

Won’t this be the same?

Well, in this case, I won’t rush into it. I can’t – I don’t have the money to.

So I will take my time and read more information, check out potential problems etc, and try and go for a test drive in one.

And so what if it’s a Peugeot? It’s a RCZ. It’s still special.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t have special needs, like most of my previous car choices.

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