Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

The VTS was launched with just one engine - a spirited 1.6-litre petrol with 125bhp that sprints from 0-62mph in a nippy 8.3 seconds. It revs happily and doesn't sound unduly coarse when worked hard, but although the close ratio gearbox is an improvement on the standard five-speed transmission, it's still too vague and not slick enough for a hot hatch.

A 1.6-litre diesel engine was added to the range in 2007 and the 110bhp has plenty of in-gear grunt to make overtaking easy, so although it's 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds is a second slower than the petrol model, it's less tiring to drive in everyday conditions.

The VTS has uprated suspension and a lower ride height than the standard C2 plus the steering has been made more responsive too. It's not quite an overall success - the steering is more responsive, but still lacks feel and feels artificial. But body roll is kept to a minimum and the VTS corners confidently with plenty of grip. The ride quality isn't especially harsh either so it will cope easily with rough roads and speed bumps.