Just occasionally, it’s a good idea to consider a used car that’s a slightly worrying prospect. It focuses the mind and might send you back towards something trustier.

The Citroën C5 is a case in point. The less than brilliant original saloon/estate was revamped in 2004 with added complexity (lane departure warning, xenon headlights and a speed limiter) and size.

There’s bags of room, like in the last one, and seven airbags, so it’s as safe as houses. Oh, and there’s a 1.6-litre diesel engine with 52mpg potential. It’s great when it all works, a nightmare when it doesn’t.

Automatic gearbox failure isn’t good, while the clutch on the manual can be a bit weak and fail sooner rather than later, never mind the sealed suspension going on the blink.

The 2008 C5 was remade for a new era, but buyers were even more difficult to convince in the face of more dependable Germans.

It looks a bit different from before and has some big modern diesel engines that are wonderful. The C5 has always been great to drive and soaks up everything a potholed British road can throw at it. Those are the reasons why buyers should at least consider one, as well as the favourable value-for-money angle.

Petrols are rare things (the 2.0-litre is best to move it all around), so the default buy is a diesel (again, the 2.0-litre is the smarter way to travel).

Basic SX trim has everything you need: climate control, cruise control and electric windows. VTR+ gives you alloys and automatic lights and wipers and shouldn’t cost much more.

Like before, though, the complexity could destroy any budget, mostly in the electrics and suspension. The shortcut is: if it bangs and crashes or there are warning lights and buttons not working, walk away

Ones we found

03 Citroen c5