Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The range was launched with just two engine options, a 1.4 petrol with 95bhp and a 1.3 Multijet diesel with 70bhp. The petrol engine offers the most performance, but the Multijet diesel is more torquey and consequently more relaxing to drive. It's also super economical, making the Idea a very sensible little car. From 2006 a 90bhp version of the Multijet was added to the range with the potential for even greater economy in out-of-town driving.

A six-speed manual gearbox was fitted to the petrol engine on all but the most basic 'Active' trim level. An automated clutchless manual gearbox was available on all models, giving the potential for fully automatic or sequential gearchanges without the higher fuel consumption normally associated with conventional automatics.

It's easy to drive and the ride is quite soft, which is good news for comfort levels. Combine this with a fairly tall body however and it means there's a fair bit of roll during corners, although to be fair this isn't the sort of car that is expected to deal with high-speed cornering antics. During normal, around-town and open road driving it feels perfectly happy and a button on the dash lightens the steering further for parking if needed.