As a rule, I dislike making the obvious choice. It’s much more interesting to do something a bit unexpected, particularly when buying stuff. At home I run Windows on a Mac, I bought a PS3 at a time when all rational folk were buying Wiis and X-Boxes and my company car (mostly used for long-haul motorway driving) is a pick-up truck.
With the exception of the latter, these choices have all come good. The Mac is stable, fast and switches easily between Vista and OS X. It serves all the media throughout the house without complaint. Sony have finally won a format war after 30 years of glorious failures and have continuously updated the PS3 to the point where it does absolutely everything I could want (OK, a proper music library and slightly less fussy MP4 playback would be nice).
Even the truck, a stinking pile of unreliable Japanese tat that will be subject of a future article, has done what I asked it to – that is, get me from where I am to where I’m going (and usually, but not always) back again for £500 tax including fuel in Year 1 and £1400 in Year 2. But the 2 years are up and it’s time to change. So I’ve been looking for an interesting car – something that can quietly match the undoubted quality of the BMW 5 and Audi A6 without being the default choice.
The bad news is, there is only choice for any sane company car driver. It is cheaper to run as a company car than any competitor (and by a country mile), is faster, handles better and rides comfortably. If it had the seats from a Volvo V70 and the leather didn’t look so plasticky (so much so that I’ve chosen cloth) then it would probably be utterly faultless.
So if you want a exec company car but don’t want a BMW 5 Series I’ve got bad news. Whatever you do choose is going to be more expensive, slower and handle worse than the car you should have bought. And unless you buy the V70, it will be less comfortable too.