Combining antagonist/partial agonist activity at dopamine D2 and agonist activity at serotonin 5-HT1A receptors is one of the approaches that has recently been chosen to develop new generation antipsychotics, including bifeprunox, SSR181507 and SLV313. There have been, however, few comparative data on their pharmacological profiles. Here, we have directly compared a wide array of these novel dopamine D2/5-HT1A and conventional antipsychotics in rat models predictive of antipsychotic activity. Potency of antipsychotics to antagonize conditioned avoidance, methylphenidate-induced behaviour and D-amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion correlated with their affinity at dopamine D2 receptors. Potency against ketamine-induced hyperlocomotion was independent of affinity at dopamine D2 or 5-HT1A receptors. Propensity to induce catalepsy, predictive of occurrence of extrapyramidal side effects, was inversely related to affinity at 5-HT1A receptors. As a result, preferential D2/5-HT1A antipsychotics displayed a large separation between doses producing 'antipsychotic-like' vs. cataleptogenic actions. These data support the contention that 5-HT1A receptor activation greatly reduces or prevents the cataleptogenic potential of novel antipsychotics. They also emphasize that interactions at 5-HT1A and D2 receptors, and the nature of effects (antagonism or partial agonism) at the latter has a profound influence on pharmacological activities, and is likely to affect therapeutic profiles.