Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

The C5 from October 2004 has a simplified engine line-up with three petrols and three diesels. The 1.8 16v starts the petrol range with 117bhp and a top speed of 122mph. The mid-range 2.0 has 143bhp and a top speed of 131 mph. The 3.0 V6 has 210bhp, but feels much lazier and is rather thirsty. Diesels are the 110bhp 1.6 HDi (which has also been used in the Xsara Picasso and Ford Focus C-MAX), 138bhp 2.0 HDI, and 136bhp 2.2 HDi.

Five speed manual gearboxes are offered as standard on petrol models, with a four-speed auto offered as an option on the 2.0; V6 has a six-speed auto as standard. Diesels have six-speed manuals, except the 2.2, which has a four-speed auto. A six-speed auto was added to the 2.0 HDi for 2006, replacing the 2.2 HDi auto. Summer 2006 witnessed the launch of a new range-topping 173bhp 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel.

It’s a smooth and powerful engine that’s well suited to what C5 does best – cruising the motorway.

Feels sharper and more surefooted than the 2001-2004 C5 and makes the driver feel a little more involved. However, it’s still some way off the drives on offer from The Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord and Mazda 6. A cruise control/speed limiter system is fitted to most models. Emergency brake assist (EBA) helps bring the cart to a stop under hard braking – the hazard warning lights are activated to warn drivers behind.

Top models have a suspension function to stiffen the suspension and give better cornering. Notchy manual gearchange has been carried over from the previous model.