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The upper medium sector usually has 'company car' written all over it, and few models scream that more than the Vauxhall Insignia.
It first arrived in 2008 as a replacement for the Vectra and has now been updated specifically to tackle the fleet market. Tweaks to the engines and aerodynamics, among other areas, have brought the car's headline emissions down to 99g/km and official economy to 76.3mpg, which is comfortably low enough to put it at the top of the upper medium class. That figure applies to the 2.0-litre CDTi engine with either 120hp or 140hp (yes, they're both 99g/km) and it's the latter that Vauxhall expects to take the lion's share of sales.
Changes have also been made to the spec and equipment levels in the name of reducing costs and generally making the car more appropriate for business operators. Wheels, for example, can now be specified as 16-inch items, which are cheaper and have a knock-on effect on SMR values. The firm claims these efforts to chip away at costs have resulted in an average £750 boost to residual values along with a reduction in employer national insurance payments and insurance groups.
All that is rounded off with some minor styling changes, most notably the new headlamps, grille and tail-lights, along with a general tidying up of the cabin, which also includes new tech updates and options.
There are four power outputs for the standard 2.0-litre CDTi engine, and while the 163hp variant is obviously the most powerful, it isn't poles apart from the least powerful 120hp unit. There's also the 195hp BiTurbo diesel. The ride is noticeably more comfortable on models fitted with the smaller 16-inch wheels, and the gearing, for economy purposes, is very long, so you sit at 70mph at a leisurely 1600-1700rpm.
Refinement is good with the exception of a little wind noise at speed and a racket from the diesel engines if you really wring them out. Though tweaks have been made to the suspension and steering among other areas to improve the drive, keen drivers will still have a better time with an equivalent Ford Mondeo or Mazda 6.
The Vauxhall is significantly more affordable than its closest competitors and just about every area that matters to fleet operators. BusinessCar even ran further cost comparisons against other key upper medium rivals, none of which could touch the Insignia on price or running costs. In short, it's a brazen shot at the core company car market, the result of which is a model that would struggle to be more fitting for your typical, average-to-high mileage employee.
Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi Ecoflex 140 SRi
BIK 20/40% per month
100,000 mls (first owner)
Trounces rivals on costs and suitability for business users