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French Elegance : Peugeot RCZ

The Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu is a fine 5-star example of traditional Newari style of Nepalese architecture. Set on a massive 37 acres of landscaped grounds, no expense has been spared on the superb palace-style buildings of this luxury hotel, from the dramatic entrance of Newari water tanks to the modern Malla-style architecture. I am not really capable of going into the depths of architecture, but from what I see, I can tell that it is a marvellous display of lavish smart architecture and design. And parked right ahead of its fantastic main building is the Peugeot RCZ Sport we have brought in. The only one of its kind in Nepal. It’s not even been a while since we started photographing the RCZ coupe around the fitting hotel premises and every passer-by can’t help but take a double look at this French beauty and interrupt our photo session with a barrage of questions. So obviously, there must be something to the Peugeot RCZ when one can’t help but take notice, even in the presence of the alluring elegance of the Hyatt Regency.

 

STYLING

Well, the Peugeot RCZ is the latest launch from the Peugeot brand here in Nepal. This is the first of Peugeot’s new range of special cars, meant to add an edge of exclusiveness to the French marquee. The RCZ was originally planned as a concept car at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2007, but with appreciation coming in from all quarters, Peugeot took the leap and came out with this actual production model which looks very close to the original concept. The Peugeot RCZ is beautifully proportioned and looks racy from whichever angle you look at. Gone is the bulbous bug eyed caricature of the old Peugeot’s and in comes the new face. A low and heavily muscled aerodynamic stance at the front and a unique matt black finished double bubble roof gracing towards the rear gives the RCZ a very sporty look. The shiny double bubble roof extends into a uniquely curved rear window. The 19-inch sleek alloy wheels do a good job of filling out the wheel arches, while the xenon headlights with the protruding rear view mirrors give the RCZ a more sinister appearance. Other notable exterior features include a dual chrome-plated exhaust pipes and an active rear spoiler that can be both manually and automatically raised and lowered according to the speed. This is a proper show-car with supercar like stance and balance. No wonder the RCZ was well received when it was launched, gaining the Top Gear ‘2010 Coupe of the Year’ award and the Auto Express ‘Special Design Award 2010’.

 

INTERIORS

 

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Open the wide doors and you come across a real nice interior. The black dashboard is covered in a cross-stitched faux leather called ‘Nabuck’ and it looks terrific with an appealing quality-feel. Much of the interior switchgear and layout is borrowed from others in the Peugeot range, but with the chrome instrument bezels, piano-black surfaces, brushed alloy trims, a retro analogue clock and soft-touch controls, there is a premium feel throughout. The metal-cased sports dials in the instrument panel too, back-lit and etched for a carbon-fibre look, add to the sporting appeal. Standard features include cruise control/speed limiter, six-speaker AM/FM radio with MP3 capable CD player, Bluetooth compatible hands-free kit, USB connector, an Aux-in socket and audio streaming functions. Other features include electro-chromatic auto-dipping rear-view mirror, dual zone climate control air-conditioning, rain and light sensors, remote headlight beam adjustment, front and rear parking sensors and sports-style aluminium footrest, pedals and door sills. There is also electrically-adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors with courtesy lights. The RCZ is fully featured for safety with ABS, Stability Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Hill Assist.

 

 

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The hip-hugging race style leather seats are sports-car low and both front seats has a three-way electric adjustment option for height, slide and recline, with manual lumbar adjustment and seat heaters. The driver’s seat comes with a position-memory function that can save the adjustment level for regular drivers. The multi-function chunky steering wheel too is adjustable for reach

and rake. Though the RCZ come with a 2+2 seating configuration, it’s best that you don’t even consider using the upright back seat, unless you have a hobbit in your company. But they do fold forward, increasing the 384 litres of boot space to a volume of 760 litres.

 

PERFORMANCE

 

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The RCZ is powered by a 1.6 motor that is capable of producing 156 bhp of power and 240 nm of torque. As you set off from idle, there isn’t any extraordinary throttle response and the RCZ rather gets moving in a cool and composed manner with the six-speed automatic, further making city driving an easy affair. The steering has a nice weighty vibe to it and the engine feels very refined. But it’s surprising that there is hardly any highly exhilarating off-the-mark peppy character in this sports coupe. It is only after you slot the gear selector over to Tiptronic mode for manual control and rev it hard, the scenario changes. The manual mode is precise with a short perfectly weighted throw and once you give it the pedal to the metal, there is some lively performance and it is past the mid-range rpm that this lion-badged coupe begins to shine. However, even as the car speeds through the rev range, there is very less audible bark from the exhaust. With the limited time available, we could not take the RCZ towards mountain roads to try some corner carving on this sports coupe. But this is a car that sits almost flat on the ground, and with the sporty suspensions and massive tyres, it should go about enthusiastically just past any kind of corners. The MacPherson Struts up front and torsion-beam suspensions at the rear are also soft enough to ensure a comfortable ride around town and the 340mm ventilated discs up front and 290mm solid discs at the rear are up to the mark for efficiently bringing the RCZ to a halt.

 

VERDICT

 

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First of all, as one would expect from the sporty styling, the Peugeot RCZ is not a blindingly fast car. So if you are the hard-core enthusiast and are looking for that initial push-you-back into your seat power, you might be in for some disappointment. Nevertheless, for those with the need for speed, Peugeot also has a RCZ R option which is one of the most powerful road-going car in Peugeot’s extensive history and capable of producing about 270bhp of power. But, the RCZ Sport that we test drove is still a car that is fun to drive and which can also be deceptively quick when given the open road. Looking beyond the power aspects, the one thing that the RCZ has way over every other vehicles available in the country, is gallons of style. This genuinely hot coupe never fails to turn heads! Even if it’s just for the style and dynamics, the Peugeot’s RCZ is a stunning sports coupe to buy if you can afford it. It’s quite a shame though that this car which cost just around Nrs. 30 Lakhs in its country of origin has ended up costing upwards of Nrs. 1.06 crore after our insane taxation system. So quite like the Hyatt Regency, the Peugeot RCZ Sport is a coupe that boasts of a gamut of impressive features, but comes at a heavy price for the 5-star experience.

 

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SPECIFICATIONS

Engine Type: 4 Cylinders, 16V DOHC

Displacement: 1598cc

Fuel Type: Petrol

Maximum Power: 156 Bhp @ 5800 rpm

Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1400 rpm

Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic

 

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT

Length: 4290 mm

Width: 1845 mm

Height: 1362 mm

Wheelbase: 2612 mm

Ground Clearance: 142mm

Tyre Size: 235/40 R19

Suspension Front: McPherson Independent

Suspension Rear: Deformable U-shaped Cross Member

Brakes Front: Ventilated Discs

Brakes Rear: Discs

Curb Weight: 1424 kg

Fuel Tank: 55L

 

PRICE: Starting from NRs. 1,06,00,000/-

 

CONTACT:

Kishore Gears Pvt. Ltd

Ph No: 4371104 4379072

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