When the form does not define the content: is it worth buying a Peugeot RCZ


When in 2007 the French showed the concept 308 RCZ, the public accepted it so enthusiastically, that Peugeot fell for the trick and rolled out the serial version of the coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2009, which completely repeated the concept. But the considerable part of the same public, apparently, has decided that the Frenchmen, who had no and have no rear-wheel drive platform, will snap their fingers and pull a rabbit out of a hat, having created the competitor of Toyota GT86, Mazda MX-5 and Audi TT at once. However, there was no miracle: figures 308 in the name of the concept unequivocally hinted at the fact that the effective coupe will share front-wheel drive platform PF2 with mass hatchback 308. And when the cars went on sale, a simple market truth became clear: those who are ready to pay for the form, which does not define the content, were not enough for commercial success. The flow of beauty lovers went down already in the third year of sales.

In Russia, the model’s popularity was predictably limited, despite its acceptable prices. For 1.35 million rubles, which cost base RCZ in 2010, you could buy those same Mazda MX-5 and Toyota GT86, or prefer them to the front-wheel drive Volkswagen Scirocco. And the $1.5 million asking for the 200-horsepower version of the RCZ brought it very close to the Audi TT. Moreover, in due course the prices even went down: the “base” with mechanics became 1,2 million, and the powerful version – 1,35. However, all this did not help the model: sales numbered in the dozens, and the 2012 restyling did not fix the situation. As a result, in 2014, having sold a little more than 300 cars in Russia, the French removed the coupe from the local lineup. And the car stayed on the assembly line only one year longer – until the fall of 2015. Let’s find out what can please and disappoint a buyer of RCZ today.

The coupe was assembled not at the same plants as usual 308, but on capacities of Magna Steyr in Austrian Graz. However, quality of body metal and coloring is quite similar to other models of the brand: galvanization allows body to hold after minor damages, and the paint is not the softest, though thin. Taking into account, that RCZ is not a passing car, but a favorite toy, it is a little early to speak about body ageing, because it is well looked after and chipped. There is a probability to find small defects only in typical places. Arches collect chips, especially on inner edge, muscular fenders can also get damages from stones, and massive bumper takes upon itself the most part of front bumps. The hood here is aluminum, and it is the only body part, not counting the fixed front struts, which is made of “winged metal”. Accordingly, the chips here do not rust, but over time, they can also corrode. The plastic pads of thresholds are actively sandblasted, so the area behind the front wheels is in risk zone – here you should inspect both the plastic and the metal of the threshold, especially in the seam area. Well, a bottom can suffer not from age, but from operational damages: RCZ with its clearance of 13 centimeters is not well prepared for Russian roads.

Peugeot RCZ ‘2009–12

But the Russian buyer is ill-prepared for the prices of the body parts. The only frankly cheap reminder of the massiveness of the Peugeot brand are the headlights: they are not just similar, but absolutely identical with the optics of the Peugeot 308. Correspondingly, the prices are democratic: you can buy original halogen headlights at 17-19 thousands and non-original ones at 6 thousands. The xenon is considerably more expensive: even the non-original will cost 50k and the original 70k. However, taking into account prevalence of Peugeot 308, it is possible to find cheap optics at a scrap yard and even to put xenon headlights if they were not regular in RCZ configuration. But the taillights for 50-60 thousands without any xenon quickly remind about uniqueness and rarity of the model.

Well and when it comes to body parts, everything becomes absolutely tight. The price list for a hood is six-figure, but if it is still possible to justify its difficult form and aluminium composition, then a bumper (both front, and rear) with the same six-figure price tag is already beyond good and evil. Especially on a background of the fact, that the set of new grilles and deflectors will easily pull for one hundred thousand more. For a tiny front wing, you will have to give 25-30 thousand. Fortunately, there are piece substitutes for windshield – for example, XYG for 15k, otherwise you would have to buy the original for 50-70k. But a curved rear window costs 130-150 thousand rubles, and there are no hints on substitutes for it. And if you think it’s expensive, here’s the final chord: the external roof panel with which the erotic bend starts costs 350-400 thousand rubles. And take-outs, even foreign, in case of RCZ – not always a way out, taking into account circulation in incomplete 70 thousand copies. In general, restoration of a coupe after an accident can appear not simply disastrous, but completely impractical.

Peugeot RCZ ‘2012–15

The commonality of the PF2 platform with the mass-produced Peugeot 308 is both a curse and an advantage of the RCZ. A curse – because the buyers who received the front drive with McFerson up front and a semi-independent beam behind, have not believed that all this can be adjusted for interesting driving. Well, the advantage, as it is not difficult to guess, is that a part of details of the running gear is interchangeable with usual hatchbacks. Telling the truth, only a part: RCZ has the expanded track and the adapted suspension. In addition, in the 200 hp version the front suspension has separate knuckles on ball bearings, as at Peugeot 407, and front brakes are increased up to 340 mm – it should be considered while calculating expenses for maintenance. However, as a whole, these expenses will not be exorbitant, even taking into account different set of “iron”. Is that the knuckle assembly will cost quite a bit – from 25-30 thousand per unit for the original without any alternative. Otherwise the assortment of substitutes helps. Shock absorbers do not flash with wide choice of non-original, but instead of “branded” for 12-15k you can buy Bilstein for 6-7k. Springs are also available for 2-3 thousand instead of 8. Rear beam silentblocks are the same as in 308, and hub bearings are from 407. The front lower arms are suddenly from the Citroen DS5 and cost over 10k, but there are silentblocks for them, including the original ones. Regularly replaceable and inexpensive ball joints, and other trifles like stabiliser struts can be bought even with Peugeot marking – thank goodness the price allows it at about one thousand roubles. So, in general, there is no place to go broke – the hodgepodge of spare parts from other models of the concern turned out to be rather simple.

With the brakes everything is simple too: the construction is traditional and the consumables are inexpensive. Extended front brakes with 340 mm discs are not much more expensive to maintain: if a “normal” disc with 302 mm diameter costs 8 thousand for the original and from 2 for analog, the increased – is 10 thousand for the “company” and from 4 for substitutes. In general the part of decent quality in any case will cost 5-6 thousand, and the rear discs are half as cheap. By the way, front mechanisms regardless of diameter of a disk remain usual single piston, with a floating bracket – it is one more plus from the point of view of cost of service, but a minus for those who counts to go out on track days. Steering with electro-hydraulic power steering is less controversial: it’s a joy to drive with variable steering effort, and not too troublesome to maintain, as long as it doesn’t come to repairs. Usually, there are only unpleasant trifles: damages of wiring to the pump and leaks, especially at infrequent oil changes. The electric pump itself should be checked especially attentively: it costs about 50 ths rubles, which suggests the reasonability of repair. But the rack from 308 and comrades-in-arms is not difficult to repair and inexpensive to replace: a restored one can be bought for about 30 thousand rubles.

Peugeot RCZ ‘2012–15

Despite all its driving ambitions, RCZ did not offer a full drive even in the most charged version R – there appeared only self-locked Torsen on the front axle. Thus, you will have to choose only a gearbox in transmission, but there is a choice between manual and automatic here. The mechanical gearbox on petrol cars is six-speed MC family, and there are minimum questions to its “iron”. At checkup, it is traditionally worth to listen to it on an elevator, to make sure that there is no tar with shavings instead of oil, and also to estimate work of synchronizers. But people service RCZ usually with understanding and love, so it is improbable to meet horrors. Even the double-mass flywheel is not so nightmare: the original costs 22-25 thousand, as well as analogues. Even the clutch will not frighten: the set of non-original will cost 10-12 thousand, and even the hydraulic clutch is rather cheap in service.

Automatic transmission in RCZ is six-speed TF72SC, younger sister of popular TF80SC, on the base of which it is based. As TF80SC, the box is quite successful and with good service and quiet driving can please with a resource up to 200-250, and even more thousand kilometers. However, features of modern boxes in the form of aggressive adjustment of torque converter lock-up and fast contamination of oil at rough driving are actual here in full measure. The box is able to support driver’s excitement, but in such case it is better to change oil even often than in 40-50 thousand km, and not to count on mileage records. When buying, it is worthy to take time for diagnostics and road test to be sure of absence of jerks and bumps at least. A standard heat exchanger is another point of attention: firstly, it can let antifreeze into oil and vice versa with time, and secondly, active drivers can replace it with something more productive. But in general, it is better to buy RCZ with mechanics – thank goodness, there is such possibility, and many do exactly that.

Peugeot RCZ ‘2012–15

Motors are one more, besides a simple platform, a reason to be upset for fans of driving actively, a lot and for a long time. It is not difficult to guess that the same story is approximately the same here as with other French beauty – Citroen DS5. Formally, RCZ has a very good choice: turbocharged petrol motors with 156 and 200 horsepowers, and also 163-horsepower diesel engine. But if a diesel engine is a good unit of DW10 family, the petrol engines are, as all have already guessed, derivatives of Prince family. The 156-horsepower EP6CDT/EP6CDTM was the base one, and the more powerful variant is the 200-horsepower EP6CDTX with a different piston and a more productive twin-scroll supercharger. At the top of the engine range in 2014 came the EP6CDTR on the RCZ-R version: here they took 270 horsepower off the same 1.6-liter displacement! However, in our country such cars, as well as diesel ones, were not sold. However, today it would be a nontrivial task to keep such forced unit of Prince family 6-7 years old because even “usual” motors here like attention and care.

It should be noted that many owners who are aware of the peculiarities of motors give them this care: they replace the chain at 50-60 thousand miles, pour good oil, keep the cooling system clean, set the thermostats to open at 75-90 degrees, regularly clean dirty valves from sludge and periodically de-scrape the piston rings. It allows appreciably prolonging life of the engine and postponing its invasion into the purse, because actually all these measures are not excessive concern, but the only way to the resource of 200 thousand kilometers and more. We wrote in details about the problems of Prince family motors in a separate article, which is worth to read for those who seriously fell in love with RCZ. In fact, in the case of this model, there is still a chance to find a car that was the second or third in the family and little drove, which will allow you to take the “reins” in their hands and do maintenance as needed, rather than as written in the manual.

Well and now, when we have found out what test RCZ is made of and what it is possible to expect from it, let’s try to form the portrait of an optimum copy. This task is not so simple, as it seems: firstly, different drivers will like different combinations of motors and boxes, and secondly, search of the necessary power unit will be complicated by extremely scanty assortment on the secondary market. For example, those who expect from coupe drive, it is necessary to search the car on the mechanics – it is better with a motor in 200 hp, but also the base 156-powered motor will be enough for someone. It’s better if it will be well-groomed car from the first owner with run about 100,000 km – for example, such one. And if Autotech confirms the mileage, number of owners, and absence of accidents in history, the purchase can be considered successful.

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