Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

There's a modest line-up of engines, but covers most requirements. The petrol choice consists of a 1.8 and a 2.0-litre with 115 and 138bhp respectively. Manual and automatic gearboxes were offered, and on the bigger engine the manual is a six-speed and the auto a CVT. A 2.2-litre diesel, available from launch with 124bhp, was not a modern engine and was comparatively unrefined.

Its replacement in 2004 was the superior 2.2dCi engine, which with 136bhp gives better performance while still achieving the same level of fuel economy. An LPG version of the 1.8 petrol engine was available in 2003-04. From late 2005 all engines were dropped with the exception of the 1.8 petrol.

The Primera handles well enough, although it's by no means the best in its class. It has particularly sharp steering, but isn't as much fun as a Ford Mondeo or Honda Accord. Early examples were more comfort-biased in their set-up which was sharpened-up in 2004. Stability and traction control which helps a driver to regain control during emergency situations was only available on top of the range SVE and T-Spec models.