Sometimes it takes one car to redefine a brand. The 1997 Ford Focus was labelled as the car that ‘saved’ the company from mediocrity and the Focus remains a best-seller to this day.
Similarly, the Renault Megane, when introduced on 1996, brought the idea of the MPV into the consciousness of European buyers, and delivered a big boost to the French marque.
Which brings us to the Peugeot RCZ. Let’s not exaggerate – the Peugeot CRZ is a nice car, but to suggest it will provide the same sort of impact as the Focus or Megane is getting ahead of ourselves.
However, the Peugeot RCZ takes the French marque on a welcome change of direction, and could signal a new era for the brand.
Favourably compared with the Audi TT in several major motoring magazines since its introduction at the Geneva Motor Show, the Peugeot RCZ has a personality of its own, separate from the rest of the Peugeot range.
For a start, the RCZ is the first Peugeot for nearly two decades to move away from having two numbers separated by a zero as a name. The design is new too – unique and stylish in equal measures.
The 2+2 coupe is in some way a return to the roots of a brand famous for excellent coupe cars like the 401 model. In many other ways, it’s a new, fresh move for the brand.
A revised 308 front end morphs into a clamshell bonnet and double ‘bubble’ roof and gives the coupe a strong personality and stylish look.
Above all else though, the Peugeot RCZ is a very good driver’s car. In fact, it is probably the best drive from a Peugeot car for many years.
Coming in at around £20,000, the Peugeot RCZ is exciting. The newly designed Lion badge needed a model to kick-start what could be the rebirth of the French brand after a decade of underachievement. The RCZ could be that model.