posted 7 years ago

Peugeot RCZ vs. Nissan 370Z

Time to cut through the nonsense. What is the one 'vital' thing the Peugeot RCZ and Nissan 370Z must do?

Time to cut through the nonsense. What is the one 'vital' thing the Peugeot RCZ and Nissan 370Z must do? Handle like race cars, perhaps? Not even close. Make the neighbours' blood boil with envy? Certainly not. Machines of this class must – before anything else - make their drivers grin like a Cheshire Cat. Speed, handling, etc. are bonuses. This 'happiness' factor is often missing from the fastest and best handling cars. Many of these feel soulless, like they were designed by computers rather than enthusiasts.

So, can the Nissan 370Z make you happy? Many motorists leave dull offices every weekday evening, trudge through mind-numbing car parks, then climb into dreary old hatchbacks. Pretty depressing. But imagine walking towards a striking two-door coupé. It illuminates the car park like a lighthouse and its sumptuous interior is a haven from the office politics. Does it matter how fast it reaches 62mph? Probably not, but for the record the fastest 328ps 3.7 V6 GT Pack trim hits the mark in 5.3 seconds. Top speed is 155mph.

This is considerably faster than the Peugeot RCZ Sport THP 200 2dr, which reaches 62mph in 7.6 seconds and is capable of 146mph. Let us be fair though. This 1.6-litre 200ps model only costs £23,595, whereas the high-performance 370Z is priced at £32,450. The price variation certainly shows. The Japanese contender feels sharper, more vibrant, more hard-core than its French rival. Furthermore its reputation, and therefore its driver's happiness, is enhanced even more by the existence of its illustrious predecessors.

Throughout this article we have considered happiness. This is the most important factor in the sector, in the same way that safety is paramount in family cars. The Nissan is the more capable machine in terms of handling, performance, and construction – but irrespective of this it has more 'x-factor'. Even if it handled like a cross channel ferry, the 370Z would make me smile more than the Peugeot RCZ. Logical? Perhaps not – but it is certainly true.