Still one for the

reps but the game

has changed

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, side, static
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, side, action
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, rear, static
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, rear, action
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, dashboard
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, controls
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, interior
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, boot

IF you woke up one morning to discover that your company car was a shiny, big as Cheshire, hatchback two things may have happened.

One is that you are the superstar of selling for CheeseySnack-Sack products, plying the highways and offloading boxes at sweet shops and independent grocers throughout the land.

The other is that it is actually the mid-70s because I don't think anyone sends out a bloke in a kipper tie any more to flog their wares from the boot.

More likely this is done from a computerised shed in Scunthorpe.

Not many remain who can choose the Little Chef menu as their specialist subject on Mastermind.

So if you drive a Vauxhall Insignia the chances are that you are either a taxi driver with a nice trade in airport transfers or the bloke who tells his call centre teams that they have missed their frozen chicken target for the month, fleet users are the main market but there is a subtle difference.

The result is that thesecars are no longer just about how many boxes of quilted super soft you can get in them but how acceptable they are as a quality drive.

They are certainly of very little interest to the average family.

The tourer version will be, but domestic bliss is now dependent on one of those formulaic, makes you quite cross-overs.

Even the small hatchback is now the preserve of young things with inkings and the budget of a rough sleeper.

Which is why Vauxhall has aimed at premium badges with the Insignia Grand Sport rather than simply reinventing the repmobile.

The question is does it make the cut?

Whichever way you look at it the Grand Sport offers value for money with even the range topping Elite automatic costing just £27,000.

Today's specimen, however, is the 1.5-litre Design Nav with a 138bhp turbocharged petrol stop start engine and six-speed manual gearbox.

Now clearly because this car is as big as Norfolk the 1.5-litres is not exactly going to produce the driving experience of a lifetime.

Top speed is 130mnph and it takes 9.3 seconds to haul to 60mph.

That said over 47mpg has been recorded and emissions are 133/g km if you are interested in anything Sadiq Khan has to say.

Importantly this will cost a shade under £18,000 for which you get a fulsome package.

Remember this is not far from the entry level model yet comes with navigator, air-con, cruise control, keyless operation, full connectivity and all available via an eight-inch touchscreen.

Sure the only leather is on the steering wheel but even options like a heated front screen do not carry the Dick Turpin style costs applied by some in this segment.

If you have driven a latest model Astra the interior will hold no surprises, finish is better than good and fit matches the lauded Skoda Superb.

Who ever thought they would write that sentence?

No matter what Vauxhall hopes the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series will always be perceived as better quality but then that's badges for you.

Right, hit the road Jack and here is a world of revelations.

The ride is smooth, yes in town you are aware of the size but then that also mean cavernous passenger and luggage accommodation.

Compliant suspension keeps things happy in the cabin and an excellent driver position with nothing illogical to upset makes for effortless long distance work.

Not least because there is virtually no engine noise at motorway speeds which is crucial to fleet users.

Surprisingly, if you decide to throw a few shapes, this cruiser is responsive and fun with a bit of body roll but nothing excessive.

If there is one driving shortfall it is that the gearbox could be slicker.

This model comes with OnStar, Vauxhall's app based connectivity package so you can be all wi-fied up via a smartphone.

Meaning that if you order your fishy nachos online we'll enter you in our draw for an all-expenses paid week in Cleethorpes with £15 spending money and tickets to see Cannon and Ball.

Oh the days.


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