Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Both models have a wide choice of engines, ranging from economical 1.2 82 bhp units – to a Golf GTi-rivalling five-cylinder 20-valve 2.0 litre. The smaller Bravo has the edge over the heavier Brava, but both are engaging to drive with torquey engines that pull through all gears.1.4 and 1.2 16v engines make willing runabouts; the more powerful 1.6 and 1.8 will satisfy keener drivers.

Turbo-diesel 1.9 TD75 and 1.9 TD100 units offer similar economy (44.8 and 44.1 mpg) but the latter gives the best performance. Refined common-rail JTD units were introduced in 1999; they're nicer to drive, with slightly more power and far better fuel economy – 8 mpg more on the old Combined test. Brava 1.6 SX was launched in June 1996; four-speed automatic gearbox was only available on 1.6 SX from October 96.

All are front-drive with disc/drum brakes and independent suspension. Italian panache: perky engines, smooth gears, agile handling, responsive brakes; solid enough to feel secure and stable, yet lightweight enough to be fun; Bravo is sharper than Brava.