Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

The Matrix is available with two petrol engines and a diesel. The 1.6-litre petrol with 102bhp feels lethargic, especially when the car is fully loaded, so the better choice is the 121bhp 1.8-litre, although this does become raucous when pushed on A and B roads. The diesel is a 1.5-litre CRTD unit but with three-cylinders it's not especially quick or smooth and gets coarse a higher revs.

In May 2008 this was replaced by a vastly superior 1.5-litre CRDi diesel with 109bhp and a 0-62mph 14.3 seconds. It's far quieter and better to drive, plus returns 53mpg.

Few people carriers are great to drive, but the Matrix is very dull from behind the wheel. The vague steering is off putting and there's excessive body roll in bends which makes twisting roads far from enjoyable. It's good round town where a tight turning circle and compact dimensions (for a people carrier) make it simple to park but the ride lacks polish on rough roads and feels bouncy over bumps.

It's better on the motorway, but overall the Matrix is showing its age and feels dated to drive.