Although the existing Peugeot line-up boasts an impressive choice of glamorously-designed cars and a few modernistic ones too, the rather cute-looking RCZ fits a different bill altogether.
As the first vehicle in its range without a zero in its name, the RCZ is a new breed of Peugeot ... it's more compact, sportier and oozes an elegance of its own.
It has already picked up a number of awards including one from Top Gear's 2010 magazine and the coveted Coupe of the Year Award ... and I can see why.
The two things that matter most to many buyers -- price and looks -- are boxes clearly ticked.
It is as good to drive as it is to look at. The exterior has a bold face, a pert bottom and smooth ruby red headlights. And there's that majestic curvaceous double-bubble roof as well.
And underneath the pretty exterior is a nippy 1.6-litre engine that develops 200bhp.
On the road I couldn't help but turn heads, the test car I drove was bright orange! If there's anything more attention grabbing than the paint job, it would be the smooth, sparkling chrome roof rails and the rear spoiler, which descended back into its shell with the touch of a button.
I walked past a group of teenagers admiring the car near the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa ... and trying to act like a 'cool chick', I hopped in smirking at them before embarrassingly spending what felt like ages trying to figure out how to pop open the boot for a mandatory security check. It's actually quite simple, a little lever opens it up.
The inside cabin is seriously up-market with USB and AUX inputs for the stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, electronic climate control and rear parking sensors.
The electrically-operated sport seats and the smell of genuine leather added to the experience.
The front seats are spacious, and the cabin boasts plenty of compartments to place accessories such as mobile phones, bags and coffee cups.
Having said this, if you're planning on squeezing full-sized passengers in the backseat there may be a struggle with leg room -- but it's not exactly a deal breaker for the target market. On the plus side, the rear seats can be folded down to make the boot even more spacious.
The RCZ was smooth on most roads and drove like a decent sporty family hatchback with a balance between sensitive handling and comfort.
It's great fun to drive and with a smaller and sportier steering wheel it was enjoyable to use, especially on the winding roads by the Diplomatic Area.
Compared to many of its rivals, the RCZ is outstanding value, beating them on price and top-notch equipment.
This head-turner has more than enough visual appeal and energetic capability to hold its own in a highly-competitive sports car segment.
The starting price for the Peugeot RCZ is BD12,900.
For more information visit the Zayani Motors showroom or call 17703703.
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