Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

With just 109 bhp on offer, the 1.6 can feel underpowered and it feels strained, especially when fully loaded. 1.8 and early 2.0 models are adequate, but won’t inspire; the Mitsubishi-developed 1.8 GDI engine is quicker and more economical. Sporty models kick off with the swift 2.0T, which is well suited to the V40/S40 body. The range-topping 200 bhp T4 is manic but great fun to drive.

Four 1.9 diesel engines are available: 1.9 TD (1997-99), 1.9 D direct injection (1999-00) and 1.9 common rail (102 and 115 bhp, from 2000 on). Later models are preferred – they’re less workmanlike and more economical than the older Renault-developed diesels.

The standard V40 models are well suited to refined cruising; they offer a reassuring driving experience rather than an involving one. Turbo-powered 2.0T and T4 models spice up the offering and are more dynamic with a tauter (though unforgiving) chassis. Ride is suited to motorway work; it's rough when it comes to A and B roads, especially on older models.

These are sporty-feeling estates