Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

406 is a large car and needs a big engine to really perform. The 1.8 petrol unit tends to struggle and requires a lot of gear work. The 2.0 is better, but still doesn't react quickly enough for some drivers. The 2.0 Turbo is a zippier proposition, although it gives four or five miles per gallon less than the 2.0. Those who can afford to run the thirsty 3.0 V6 enjoy smooth, sparkling performance.

Diesels are strong sellers and provide the obvious choice for the higher mileage driver. The 1.9 TD is plodding but returns over 40mpg. The 2.1 TD is easier to drive, although less frugal. More recent 2.0 HDi common rail units put out 90 or 110bhp and are faster and more economical than the older diesels. The latest 136bhp 2.2 HDi was fitted to GTX and Executive versions from October 2000.

Never less than a great drive, with good grip and a well-controlled ride. Despite its size, 406 feels agile and is enjoyably fluent. Sophisticated suspension soaks up bumps and holes in the road and is well honed to motorway cruising.