Vauxhall Insignia review
Vauxhall Insignia: what would you like to read next?
The interior of the Insignia is a huge step forward compared to the old Vectra. Material quality and the overall layout have been greatly improved, but it still falls behind the Volkswagen Passat and passenger space isn’t as generous as you might expect.
The Insignia is a very capable motorway cruiser. The ride soaks up bumps and imperfections nicely and hardly any noise filters its way into the cabin at speed. It won’t entertain the driver the way a Mondeo will, but after a long drive in the Insignia you never feel tired or worn out.
The Insignia is a decent value family or company car – but there's a new one on the way
The 2.0-litre diesel is the best choice of engine. What impresses the most is the pulling power at low speeds and its hushed nature on the motorway. Some of the petrols are faster, but none can match the low fuel consumption of the diesels or the 1.6-litre model’s free road tax.
Equipment levels are good and every Insignia comes with climate control, DAB digital radio with Bluetooth phone connectivity, automatic lights as well as cruise control. See the paint shades available for the Vauxhall Insignia and check if it’ll fit into your life with our dimensions guide.
The Insignia is still overlooked by some people on the basis of its predecessors’ reputation rather than its own. It may be the successor to the little-loved Vectra, but this is a different car built on a global platform that sells in big numbers all over the world.
It might not be the very best car in its class, and it’s already faded into the background on the roads, but if you buy the right model it can be great value and is well worth recommending for that reason alone.
As with the interior, the driving experience has improved immeasurably over the old Vectra. It’s not as highly rated as the Mondeo, but then little else in the class scales those heights either, and Vauxhall appears to have got the basics right.
The Insignia was born to transport executives up and down motorways – and it does it incredibly well
The Insignia comes with a wide selection of engines, ranging from a frugal 1.6-litre diesel to a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol that propels the Insignia VXR to an impressive top speed of 170mph – making it one of the fastest hatchbacks on sale.
The cheapest petrol engine on offer is a 1.8-litre unit that has been around since 2005. It produces 140hp, takes a leisurely 11.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62mph with combined fuel consumption of 38.7mpg and annual road tax costs £205. In this era of frugal turbocharged and downsized engines it simply doesn’t stack up to rivals in terms of performance or economy.
Costing around £800 more, the turbocharged 1.4-litre is well worth the premium. It improves fuel economy by more than 10mpg compared to the 1.8 and road tax is £95 cheaper, yet it is also quicker than the 1.8-litre model with 0-62mph taking 10.9 seconds.
The range-topping 2.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 is only fitted to the Insignia VXR SuperSport. It catapults the heavy family car from 0 to 62mph in around six seconds and is something of a cut-price Audi S4.
At the end of 2015, the Insignia diesel range was revised and simplified and now has only two choices – a 1.6-litre with 136hp or a 2.0-litre with 170hp.
The 1.6-litre is an all-new engine – part of Vauxhall’s Whisper range. It’s decently quiet on the motorway, but during hard acceleration becomes quite noisy – it is reasonably quick, though, with 0-62mph taking 10.9 seconds and a 236lb ft torque figure translating into strong in-gear acceleration. Go for the EcoFlex model with a manual transmission and 72.4mpg fuel economy is possible, while annual road tax is free because of CO2 emissions of just 98g/km. Go for the automatic and the 0 to 62mph time remains the same, but you get poorer fuel economy (56.5mpg) and a £110 annual road tax bill.
If you spend most of your time driving on the motorway the larger 2.0-litre is the best choice. With 170hp and even more pulling power (295lb ft) available over a wider rev range, the larger engine is popular with critics. Get it with a manual transmission and combined fuel consumption sits at 62.8mpg – just 6mpg less than in the Ford Mondeo 2.0-litre diesel – and road tax costs £30 per year. Specify the automatic gearbox and fuel consumption drops to 50.4mpg, while annual road tax rises to £145.
The Insignia’s ride quality is impressive, and it soaks up bumps and road imperfections without problems even on the largest 18-inch wheels. It’s also a refined companion on the motorway, with little wind and road noise making it into the cabin. It’s never going to set the world alight in terms of driving fun, but it grips well and the steering is accurate enough to place it confidently in corners.
The Insignia’s interior is one of its real star attractions. Its swoopy curves and high standards of build quality are fab, it’s superbly comfortable and everything is easy to use.