Parkers overall rating: 2 out of 5 2.0

Two petrols and one diesel. 1.5 petrol is the most popular - fast enough for owners' expectations and 42mpg. Original 2.2 Di diesel is underpowered and not economical enough, but the latest 2.2 dCi (borrowed from Renault) has much more pulling power. The dCi is available in 112 or 136bhp versions. The 136 is particulary nippy and delivers good economy at just under 50mpg.

Almera is competent, but in this cut-throat market it's not good enough. Surprisingly nimble for a hum-drum car. Light steering, grippy handling, feels safe and inspires confidence. Reasonable ride quality (apart from in town where it's a bit rough) and not too much noise.