THE last company car I ran was a 2.0-litre diesel Vauxhall Insignia hatchback and it provided reliable, comfortable transport for almost four years.
It also looked good and only required a service once every year. It never developed annoying squeaks or rattles and to my surprise I grew to like it a lot.
Although I no longer run a company car, the Insignia is still a favourite with fleet markets and the all-new version which arrived last year is proving to be very popular.
It is more sleek and stylish and is an attractive alternative to the current raft of SUVs especially in estate form.
I got the chance recently to sample the slightly more rugged 4x4 Country Tourer version which offers all the practicality of the normal Insignia estate but with a few extras.
The looks are more muscular thanks to the plastic cladding to the wheel arches, lower fascia and lower body. The car also gets skid plates along with smart 18-inch alloys, a powered tailgate and Matrix LED headlights.
Internally it mirrors the other estates and the interior can easily accommodate five adults and boasts a boot that can take between 560 and 1,665 litres of luggage depending on the seat configuration.
Priced at £27,865 my car was powered by a 2.0-litre 170ps diesel engine mated to a nice eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It reached 60mph in 8.8 seconds and is capable of 135mph if you can find anywhere legal to do it.
The Insignia delivered its power smoothly and there was always bags of grunt when you needed it most.
And for high mileage business users the economy is really impressive with a claimed combined figure of 47.1mpg and emissions of 157g/km.
The Insignia Country Tourer is a substantial vehicle and requires a decent size parking space but it is easy to manoeuvre and is fairly agile on the open road. It is ideal for long distance motorway travel and its 4x4 system means it always feels well planted.
It is a very quiet car and there is little wind or noise road inside meaning that you can enjoy your music as you munch the miles.
Visibility is good and it easy to select a comfortable driving position. There is a host of on-board technology to explore including a seven-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-inch colour touchscreen and three driving modes called Standard, Sport and Tour to adjust the car's driving dynamics.
The car features all the latest safety features and boasts the top NCAP rating.
In addition the car also featured a number of optional extras including full leather trim at £1,155, Matrix LED headlights at £1,010, power tailgate with sensor at £380 and a winter pack at £440.
From behind the wheel you can also connect to Vauxhall's brilliant OnStar service which puts you through to a real person based in Luton.
A trained advisor will take your call any time day or night and it's like having your own personal assistant. The service is accessible via a button in the car or a smartphone app and takes seconds to connect.
There are also safety benefits to OnStar. For example, it can diagnose technical and maintenance issues with the vehicle and its location feature is invaluable in the event of an accident where the airbags are deployed. The emergency services are contacted and your exact GPS position is given.
If you get low on fuel, it will send directions direct to the sat nav guiding you to the nearest garage and the engine can be immobilised should the vehicle be stolen.
Even if you are travelling in Europe your calls will still be answered in English and the service is well worth having.