From £16,384
Economy and punch make this the pick of the Insignia range

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Insignia
Vauxhall's traditional family saloon is regular UK class sales champion

The Vauxhall Insignia is only small details away from rivalling the class best

What is it?

This is the Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 160 Exclusiv. We’ll get straight to the point with this one, with the combination of generous-yet-cheap Exclusiv spec and the most powerful diesel engine, this is the real sweet spot in the Insignia range.

With 158bhp and 258lb ft of torque on tap, the Insignia CDTi 160 delivers 30bhp and 37lb ft more than the entry-level CDTi 130, and yet consumes identical amounts of fuel (an impressive 48.7mpg on the combined cycle), and emits identical CO2 (154g/km). It also costs just a few hundred pounds more than its less powerful sibling.

What’s it like?

On the road, the CDTi 160 is predictably impressive. We already know from the other guises we’ve tested that the Insignia is Vauxhall’s best Mondeo-chaser yet. The handling is accomplished (albeit not as exploitable as the Ford’s), and the Insignia looks good inside and out.

To this impressive mix the punchy CDTi 160 engine adds supreme in-gear flexibility and a good slug of extra mid-range punch, turning the Insignia into a long-legged cruiser and surprisingly potent overtaking tool. You don’t pay any penalty in refinement, either - if anything, the 160’s more relaxed power delivery makes the Insignia sound less strained and more refined.

The 17-inch alloys that come with the Exclusiv trim level also provide the best balance between an absorbent, pliant ride and outright grip over the bumpy, scarred UK road network. The 17s also generate comfortably the least amount of road noise of the available wheel and tyre combinations.

Our criticisms are limited to the artificially elastic, slightly darty steering (although models on 17-inch wheels feel less nervous in this respect) and an optional automatic gearbox that, while very smooth shifting, feels as though its saps the diesel’s mid-range power.

Should I buy one?

Definitely. If you are considering an Insignia, then the CDTi 160 Exclusiv provides the best balance between power, value, refinement, economy and handling. It’s a seriously impressive package and one that, at the moment, the Ford Mondeo can offer no direct rival to.

Matt Rigby

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Comments
7

27 October 2008

Looks OK, but not sure you should be referring to 48.7mpg as "impressive" because it isn't. For instance, a BMW 123d coupe weighs more or less the same at 1495kg but has 204bhp and does 54.3mpg. OK the Vauxhall's going to have a bigger frontal area but that hardly accounts for the difference. A reasonable effort is perhaps as good as you could put it.

27 October 2008

Agreed. The Insignia is also costly to tax and is an ugly beast to boot. New name or not, vastly improved or not, it's still Vauxhall's banal fleet model. People are only going to assume you're a 'sales technician' if you buy one.

27 October 2008

[quote nicfaz]a BMW 123d coupe weighs more or less the same at 1495kg but has 204bhp and does 54.3mpg[/quote] True enough, but a 123d coupé is hardly suitably for a family of four plus luggage. It also costs the small matter of some £8k more than the Vauxhall. And anyway, perhaps you could say the the Insignia's fuel consumption is impressive, and the BMW's astounding...

That BMW engine is amazing, especially in an Alpina D3...

27 October 2008

[quote Matt Rigby]And anyway, perhaps you could say the the Insignia's fuel consumption is impressive, and the BMW's astounding...[/quote]

I'm just wary of praising Vauxhall (or any manufacturer) for what isn't much more than an average effort - they should be doing better and all models should include the kinds of economy saving measures that help BMWs achieve such impressive figures. I'm not sure the new version of 'economy specials' like the Skoda Superb Greenline help either, yes I want 55mpg but not when it comes coupled with 104bhp in a big car and long run-ups to overtake tractors...

I guess I'm suffering from BMWitis, which means I think BMWs are somewhat overpriced and I really don't like the styling, but I very much wish that their engines were available in other cars! There are lots of cars that would be significantly improved by having the 123d's engine in them. Can you imagine an Alfa Brera with a diet, a RWD conversion and a selection of BMW engines?!

27 October 2008

[quote nicfaz]I'm just wary of praising Vauxhall (or any manufacturer) for what isn't much more than an average effort - they should be doing better and all models should include the kinds of economy saving measures that help BMWs achieve such impressive figures. [/quote]

Good point.

Plus, the 48.7 mpg combined cycle claim by Vauxhall is unlikely to ever be achieved. Why? Unlike BMW and Toyota (Prius), the blobby VecSignia doesn't even bother with a stop/start system. Some nice pretend wood on the dashboard though.

Pull up to a halt in a BMW with stop/start, or in the Prius and the engine stops. Saves a ton of fuel every year. The Prius goes one better by switching off the engine whenever the car is coasting (i.e. your foot's off the gas).

I'm just gobsmacked that other manufacturers don't offer cars that stop the engine when the engine isn't needed. In no way are they remotely serious about saving fuel or cutting the cost of motoring if they don't offer this kind of stuff. And it's not even new stuff - VW offered Formel E versions of its cars in the last century...

prw

1 November 2008

Yes, the BMW diesels have been delivering the most efficient range of engines for a long time, to the extent that I wonder if their higher state of tune is solely attributable to consistently superior design or by compromising on durability and longevity?

It is still not so long ago that there was the Micasil bore problem and that still has to be guarded against on some used models.

It would be interesting to learn from user statistics if my misgiving has any substance because it seems odd that no other maker can emulate these performances when they surely have at least ample opportunity to reproduce the same characteristics in their own designs if they wish?

17 April 2013

The car looks powerful and has a sleek look about it but unless the price level comes down it would hardly find many buyers. No matter what kind of car you get for yourself you have to be sure of its performance so you should go for a test drive. But after bringing the new model home do not throw away the old one go for a donate a car to charity program.

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