Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The 1.6-litre petrol engine struggles with anything other than town work. It has 120bhp, a 0-62mph time of 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 119mph, though in reality feels much more lethargic – especially when laden. Most of the power is only available at the top of the rev range, which means it needs to be worked hard to make fast progress and lot of gearchanges are required to maintain momentum – especially evident when tackling hills.

The 1.6-litre diesel, in contrast, is a strong and willing engine with an excellent spread of pulling power. Two power outputs are offered: 89 and 113bhp. The higher output engine is smooth, refined and has little diesel clatter. It’s equally happy cruising the motorway as it is in town. All 1.6-litre cars have a five-speed gearbox and a four-speed automatic is optional on the petrol.

The most powerful unit is the 2.0-litre diesel with 138bhp which is quiet enough on the move, although can clatter at high revs.

The Cee'd SW offers a comfortable and relaxing, if unexciting drive. All cars have power steering, which makes it a breeze to drive around town, carry out three-point turns and park. The downside is that it feels light and rather vague, especially on twisting roads. That said, it is still comfortable when driven quickly on B-roads and country lanes - there's plenty of grip and it corners crisply.

The ride is a little on the firm side, though not intolerably so. Facelifted models from 2009 have revised suspension which helps the Cee'd be more involving to drive.