The Insignia marked a kind of D-Day for Vauxhall when it was launched in 2008. It was the point at which design and interior quality came together to signal the start of a new era.
No longer would Vauxhall dealers be resigned to heavy discounting to meet their sales targets; no longer would short-term rental dominate the fleet sales figures.
In the event, it took a little more steel from Vauxhall to overcome those twin ills, but there’s no doubting the impact that the Insignia had in giving company executives the courage to see through their strategy.
Take 2012: year-to-date Insignia registrations are down by a third overall, but 35% in fleet – from 35,593 to 22,912. Much of this reduction is from removing low-profit sales to the short-term rental market.
However, the Insignia is also coming under increasing pressure from newer rivals, particularly those from South Korea. That it continues to hold its place in the market is partly thanks to an enduring design which gives the car real presence on the road. Fleets report that drivers like this car.
Inside, the tactile buttons/switches and pragmatic layout retain their appeal, although the control knob and buttons in front of the centre arm rest are superfluous: they simply duplicate what’s already available on the dashboard.
This year Vauxhall has given the Insignia a major fleet fillip with the corporate-flirting Tech Line trim.
This adds sat-nav, 17-inch alloys, mobile phone system with Bluetooth, USB conection and cruise control – a package worth around £2,000 – at no cost. It gives company car drivers many of the features they desire without impacting on their tax bill.
Our Tech Line car is the 2.0-litre 160bhp diesel Ecoflex with start/stop which returns 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km of CO2 (a full-size spare wheel has added extra weight and 5g/km to the homologated figure).
Vauxhall says this model saves drivers £1,092 based on 40% BIK over three years.
After a couple of thousand miles, we’re averaging a little over 53mpg, still someway off the official figure. We’ll tee up some eco driving to see if we can get this figure up.