The Insignia Sports Tourer has no trouble chewing through hundreds of motorway miles but alternatives are slightly quieter
You can get the Insignia Sports Tourer with three petrol and three diesel engines and with either front or four-wheel drive.
Pick the 1.5-litre petrol with 165hp if you spend most time driving around town. It’ll only set you back a few hundred pounds more than the 140hp model but it’ll sprint from 0-62mph a whole second quicker in 8.6 seconds. It’ll be pretty cheap to run, too – Vauxhall claims it’ll return 46mpg and you can expect to see around 40mpg in real-world conditions.
If you’d prefer a frugal diesel, there’s a 1.6-litre engine with either 110hp or 136hp but both are quite noisy at slow speeds and have to work hard to keep up with fast-moving traffic. The 170hp 2.0-litre version isn’t quite as efficient but it’s the pick of the range if you do lots of motorway miles. It’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds and returns a claimed 56mpg – although you’ll probably see a figure in the low forties in real-world conditions.
The Insignia Sports Tourer’s an absolute doddle to drive on the motorway but squeezing it through tight backstreets can be an unenviable challenge
A worthy upgrade is the eight-speed automatic gearbox you can get in all but 1.5-litre petrol models. It’ll set you back an extra £1,600 but it really helps take the stress out of long journeys. It changes gear quickly and smoothly and doesn’t lurch at slow speeds like the DSG automatic you can get in the VW Passat Estate and Skoda Superb Estate.
Pick a top-spec 260hp 2.0-litre petrol model and you get both the automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard. Together, these help the Vauxhall sprint from 0-62mph in just 7.1 seconds. Unfortunately, this range-topping Insignia Sports Tourer won’t be cheap to run – even with a gentle touch on the accelerator you’ll struggle to better 25mpg in normal driving conditions.
The Insignia Sports Tourer is far from the largest car on sale but it still feels ungainly and somewhat out of its depth in tight city streets. Its steeply raked windscreen stretches way out in front of you and makes judging exactly where the car’s front wheels are slightly tricky.
Sadly, you don’t get parking sensors as standard – they’re a £460 option on all but Tech Line Nav and Elite models – but at least the steering is light and the pedals are nicely spaced. The suspension does quite a good job ironing out potholes too, even without the optional £800 FlexRide adaptive suspension upgrade. The pillars between the doors and the windscreen don’t create any particularly large blindspots either, so you can easily spot approaching cars when you’re pulling out of junctions.
Head out onto a motorway and the Insignia Sports Tourer comes into its own – especially if you pick a 2.0-litre diesel model. You’ll hear barely any noise from the engine and there’s almost as little wind noise as in the library-quiet VW Passat Estate.
Unfortunately, you’ll hear a little more tyre noise at speed than in the Passat Estate and adaptive cruise control – that’ll maintain a safe distance to cars in front before returning to a preset speed when the road’s clear – costs an extra £480 across the range.
Thankfully, all models come with lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking (that’ll try to stop the car as quickly as possible if it detects an obstacle in the road ahead) as standard. Neither the Insignia Sports Tourer estate nor Grand Sport saloon has been assessed by Euro NCAP yet but these features should help them score highly when they’re put to the test.