Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Two petrols are available in the C5 - a 1.8-litre with 127bhp and a 2.0-litre with 143bhp. Both are adequate but the 2.0-litre was replaced in late 2009 by a 1.6-litre THP petrol which uses a turbocharger to produce 155bhp. Despite having more power and a quicker 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, it's also considerably more economical with an average 40mpg.

Lower CO2 emissions mean it's cheaper to tax too. However, the petrols are upstaged by the very impressive diesels, of which there are several. A 1.6 HDi (110bhp), a 2.0 HDi (138bhp), 2.2 HDi (173bhp) and a 2.7 V6 HDi (208bhp). The 2.0-litre has more than enough punch for most buyers and is economical too, returning around 47mpg. Unsurprisingly it's the most popular engine and is a great choice for motorway driving, where it's refined and has good reserves of power for easy overtaking.

The 1.6 HDi is incredibly frugal with a fuel consumption figure of 50mpg, but it can feel a little sluggish, especially at higher speeds. The top of the range 2.7-litre V6 diesel is wonderfully smooth, but only comes with an automatic gearbox. In mid-2009 the 2.7 HDi was replaced by a 3.0 HDi unit and the newer V6 offers plenty of power with 240bhp on tap.

0-62mph takes 8.0 seconds but it's the effortless nature of the engine which impresses. Although it's more powerful, economy is actually improved with 38mpg achievable compared to the 34mpg. CO2 emissions are also lower at 195g/km, meaning it is cheaper to tax. In November 2009 a new 2.0 HDi with 160bhp was added to the line-up, replacing both the previous 2.0 HDi and 2.2 HDi units.

It manages the 0-62mph sprint in 9.1 seconds while economy is an impressive 50mpg.

The ride is good on whatever model you choose, though the C5 is unique among large family cars as there's the option of two different suspension systems. Most C5s are conventional, but top-spec cars and automatics have a 'hydropneumatic' suspension system designed to give added comfort. Most buyers will be hard pushed to tell the difference though - all C5s are both supple and comfortable.

Out on the road, the C5 leans a little through bends, though grips and corners surprisingly well. It may be a large car, but around town it feels supple with light steering for easy parking, while it's relaxed on the motorway and an ideal car for soaking up the miles.