Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

The entry-level LS model is only available with a 2.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine which provides adequate performance. 0-62mph comes up in 9.9 seconds but the 141bhp unit is neither refined nor punchy plus the five-speed manual gearbox is vague and there's a lot of travel when changing gear. The 2.0-litre turbodiesel, which is also used in the Captiva 4x4, is a better bet.

It has similar power to the petrol (and a slightly faster 0-60mph time of 9.7 seconds) but with more pulling power it offers a good combination of decent in-gear performance and relaxed cruising, plus you can opt for a six-speed automatic gearbox.

While it rides comfortably the Epica is poor through corners with excessive body roll and slow, lifeless steering. Even at a moderate pace the saloon feels large and cumbersome and it's far from enjoyable to drive. It's slightly happier cruising on the motorway even though the steering feels dead on the straight ahead and it wallows over bumps and dips.

Around town it deals well with potholes and uneven road surfaces.