Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

The Viano was originally available with a 2.2-litre CDI diesel along with a V6 petrol. The CDI has 150bhp and decent pulling power, but it isn’t especially quiet or refined and it’s obvious this is a van engine. 0-62mph takes a respectable 13 seconds – not bad for a vehicle weighing more than two tonnes while fuel economy is a useful, if not spectacular, 33mpg.

The petrol is a 3.2-litre V6 with 218bhp, but while smooth it lacks the low down grunt of the diesel, so feels harder work, especially in town. An average economy figure of 23mpg is another reason to avoid it. This was quickly replaced by a 3.5-litre V6 with 258bhp and a 0-62mph time of 9.3 seconds but it fares little better in terms of efficiency and returns just 24mpg.

Aside from the original 2.2-litre CDI there is also a 2.8-litre CDI with 201bhp and a fuel economy of 30mpg while the top diesel is the 3.0-litre CDI with 204bhp and a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds. The most economical engine however is the 2.0-litre diesel. Originally offered with 109bhp, in late 2006 it was replaced by a 116bhp version. It’s not quick, taking 17.3 seconds to reach 0-62mph while top speed is 98mph, but it can return 33mpg.

A smooth, if not especially quick, five-speed automatic gearbox is standard, except on the 2.0-litre CDI and 2.2-litre CDI models which have a rather clunky six-speed manual transmission.

The biggest challenge when driving the Viano is parking or tight manoeuvres. It’s sheer length (extra-long models are more than five metres long) but even the shortest models are still awkward when negotiating city streets or supermarket car parks. It’s far happier on motorways where it cruises along with minimal fuss, especially the larger diesel models, thanks to an excellent ride.

It can be a little rough on poorer surfaces and over potholes in town though. The steering isn’t especially sharp either, but it’s exactly what you’d expect on a large people carrier like this – predictable in corners and light at lower speeds.