First DriveInsignia gets new 'Whisper' 2.0-litre diesel, which promises better refinement and company car-friendly figures
First DriveThe refreshed Insignia is a capable all-round machine with notably better driving dynamics
What is it?
The version of the Insignia that really matters in terms of sales - the 128bhp diesel in fleet-friendly Exclusiv trim. This is the version that has to topple the mighty Mondeo if it wants to rule the outside lane.
Exclusiv trim is the cheapest way into an Insignia, and Vauxhall's aggressive pricing is coupled with generous standard spec including 17-inch alloys and climate control.
What’s it like?
At first, disappointing. At idle and town speeds it suffers from diesel rattle, and from low revs it feels a touch sluggish.
But appreciation builds with miles, which prove that the power delivery is linear and that the Insignia is willing to be revved surprisingly hard.
In give-and-take motoring the Insignia feels no slower than the Mondeo. At motorway speeds the engine quietens significantly and the Insignia is impressively free of wind and tyre noise.
The Insignia's real talent is its damping and ride comfort, particularly in the case of this base model - which does without the adaptive dampers that Vauxhall offers further up the range.
Around town there is more firmness than expected but excellent control, meaning the car is displaced by bumps, but the resulting movement is controlled so cleanly and effectively that it could never be described as anything but comfortable.
Cross-country the Insignia demonstrates a surplus of grip and an impressive ability to change direction the car seemingly pivoting around its driver.
The disappointment in the dynamic makeup is the steering. The Vauxhall’s hydraulic system is accurate and reasonably weighted (if a touch light) but not blessed with feel.
Elsewhere the Insignia impresses with its bold styling and interior ambiance. Despite a few disappointing material choices, the Insignia’s cabin possess a cosseting upmarket feel well above that delivered by its major segment rivals.
Should I buy one?
Yes you should - or even tick the box next to it when the fleet manager asks for your next choice. It's a shame about the low-speed engine noise and steering feel, because they are all that stops this most humble of Insignias from being a truly great car.