Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Grand Espace starts one level up from the standard Espace in terms of engines. The base petrol engine is the 165bhp 2.0T, while the smallest diesel is the 150bhp 2.2 dCi. All four-cylinder models come with six-speed manual gearboxes. An automatic transmission is also offered on the 2.2 dCi, and both petrol and diesel V6 models are auto-only. The petrol engines comprise both normally aspirated and turbocharged 2.0-litre units, as well as a 245bhp 3.5-litre V6 - a detuned version of the engine used in the Nissan 350Z.

Changes for 2006 include a new 2.0-litre dCi available in 150bhp and 175bhp versions. The higher power version feels almost as quick as the V6 diesel while the 2.2dCi remains in the line-up fitted with an automatic transmission. The V6 diesel is also upgraded for 2006 with a slight increase in power and torque plus a six-speed automatic transmission.

Although the Grand Espace excels on the motorway, it is not as unwieldy on twisty roads as you might expect. The comfort-biased ride soaks up bumps on all but the worst roads, and the light steering makes it easy to keep the Grand Espace on its set course. There isn't much to delight the driving enthusiast, but it feels safe and composed.