Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The 407 SW has the same engine line-up as the standard 407 saloon which means a good range of both petrol and diesel engines. It starts with the entry-level 1.8-litre petrol with 125bhp which is a decent unit but can get a noisy when worked hard or at motorway speeds. There are two larger units – a 2.0-litre and a 2.2-litre (with 143bhp and 163bhp respectively) both of which offer good performance although they aren’t particularly economical, while the top of the range petrol unit is a 3.0 V6.

The latter is available with an automatic gearbox but while it is smooth and quiet it’s also very thirsty, averaging just 28mpg. The diesel engines suit the 407 better and even the 1.6-litre HDi with 110bhp offers decent poke (and impressive economy), however it’s the 2.0 HDi which is the pick of the range thanks to strong in-gear performance along with good levels of refinement and a fuel economy figure of 48mpg.

In September 2008 this was updated to 2.0 HDi 140 which is more economical (50mpg) and has lower emissions. In 2006 a range-topping 205bhp 2.7-litre V6 diesel was introduced which is powerful and smooth (although more of a relaxed cruiser than a hot diesel saloon) but it’s pricey new and suffers from heavy depreciation. A better bet is the 170bhp 2.2 HDi, launched in 2007, which uses a refined twin-turbo system to deliver excellent pace and mid-range performance.

The smaller petrol and diesel engines are fitted with five-speed gearboxes, while the 2.2-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel are both fitted with a six-speed box. Neither transmission is particularly good however with a flimsy action and a springy clutch not helping matters. A six-speed automatic gearbox is available on the larger engines (the 2.0-litre petrol is available with a four-speed auto) but it’s more relaxed than urgent.

The 407 SW is a competent cruiser and can effortlessly eat up motorway miles thanks to its relaxed nature. On more demanding roads it lacks the polish and poise of rivals like the Ford Mondeo but it is fairly easy to drive around town and thanks to the light steering, three-point turns aren’t difficult. The ride is excellent and soaks up all but the harshest lumps in the road but the downside is that the handling isn’t as sharp as it could be – it rolls through corners and has remote steering.

Unique to the V6 petrol and diesel models is a different steering system which feels a little more responsive and an electronically controlled damper system to give added poise to match the extra grunt available.