Strange how the charms of a five-year old design suddenly become beguiling when it becomes your constant companion for a week. Take a bow the Peugeot 307 SW.

I remember road-testing Peugeot’s family wagon a couple of years ago, when ‘mini-MPVs’ were the hottest thing, and wondering where the 307SW fitted in. Now I know.

Roomy, quiet, crisp-steering and with a usefully flexible interior, the 307 SW fitted a family holiday around Tuscany last week like pesto matches trofie pasta. Hertz rented us a 1.6-litre HDi diesel in five-seat configuration, leaving a huge boot that swallowed four big bags and a McLaren buggy, all below the load bay cover – important for security.

Our kids had as much legroom as in our Volvo V70, the front seats had fold out tables, and better still the rear seat backs reclined. Forget engineered-in refinement, because as any harassed dad will tell you the biggest improvement possible in cabin refinement are sound-asleep two- and four-year-old boys.

At times like this you wonder if a 90bhp diesel is the perfect everyday motor. Often we were the fastest car on the road, despite averaging nearly 50mpg over 900km, while the HDi lugged admirably up the hilly E45 through the Tiber Valley.