From £16,960
A seriously competent all-rounder, but undone by cheaper rivals

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?

There was always going to be a problem with this car. The new Insignia BiTurbo sits at the top of the Insignia diesel range, benefitting from a new 192bhp twin-turbo diesel motor, adaptive four-wheel drive and adaptive dampers. We test drove the saloon, though in the UK this full-fat diesel Insignia will only be available as a hatch or estate.

Of course, all the equipment means that you’ll pay £29,785 for the Insignia BiTurbo 4x4 hatchback, or £27,180 if you’re willing to put up with front-wheel drive, but even in this form it sits within range of well-equipped yet more premium rivals.

What’s it like?

It’s certainly a very willing and responsive powertrain. We tested the car on mountain roads as well as in the usual motorway and urban environments, and it dealt with all of them with equal ease. In particular, the linear power delivery offered by the sequential turbocharging is a real benefit over the single-turbo’d equivalent.

Our test car came with the £1695 optional ‘supersport chassis pack’, which brings with it the company’s clever HiPerStrut suspension, 20-inch alloys and brembo brakes, and this together with the adaptive four-wheel drive keeps the nose firmly in line. It will wash wide into understeer if really pushed but 99 per cent of the time it remains reassuringly faithful to your inputs.

Ride quality is also very acceptable. We found that simply leaving the dampers in ‘standard’ mode worked best generally. In this mode the Insignia will thump a little over urban roads, but bump absorption, body control and in particular the directional stability at high speeds is very good.

Sport mode (when the steering and throttle responses are also sharpened) does an admirable job of enhancing the whole package. It still doesn’t feel particularly engaging, but it’s easy to enjoy driving it quickly and smoothly, even on very challenging roads.

Should I buy one?

Given the competitive 146g/km CO2 output and the lavish kit levels and you have a properly capable all-round executive hatch.

Yet we wouldn’t recommend you buy this particular top-end Insignia. Not so much because an extra £500 will get you a A4 2.0 TDI Quattro SE Technik, but mainly because you could save yourself £3,500 and buy a range-topping 168bhp Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 4x4. And at that point, the Insignia’s case becomes nearly impossible to argue.

Factfile:

Price: £29,785; Top speed: 142mph; 0-60mph: 8.4sec; Economy: 54.4mpg; Co2: 146g/km; Kerb weight: 1788kg; Engine type: 1956cc, 4cyls, turbodiesel; Power: 192bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 295lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
25

8 March 2012

The Insignia for me is a strange one; sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't.

This is a good addition to the range as it needed a high powered diesel engine to compete against the Mondeo et al.

I remember that on launch, the big criticism of the 159 was that it was too heavy. However it's 2.4 200bhp diesel is faster 0-62 than this Insignia (and equivalent Mondeo). Was the criticism justified and if not, why isn't there the same criticism towards this car?

www.thecarexpert.co.uk/forums

8 March 2012

A great addition to the Insignia line up and imo more desirable than the A4 and Superb mentioned.A pre reg should be a wise buy too because its not going to fly out of showrooms at that price.

8 March 2012

This looks expensive but capable. It would probably be a great car to have long term.

On another note, when rumours of this 190bhp engine in the Insignia surfaced, I remember saying that it will need 4WD. Clearly my opinions are valued highly at Vauxhall. ;-)

8 March 2012

Interesting power train but...i worry for Vauxhall. It manages to be a completely forgettable and undesirable car. Even the VXR is a bit 'meh'. They need to make their cars more distinctive..

8 March 2012

At list price, yes I would argue too that it was too expensive. However, after discounts this car would be significantly cheaper than you could get the Audi for and probably knocking on Skoda's door for value.

At that point, I'd pick the Vauxhall over the two any day.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

8 March 2012

why do Vauxhall continue with this daft 2 tier pricing structure. A list price around 25 to 30% more than people will pay, and the actual transaction price. No one pays anywhere near list for these things, and P11d is still based on it so even the CoCar driver suffers.

If the 3 cars Autocar mentioned were compared at transaction prices instead of list i am sure the Vauxhall would look the cheapest, and probably the best too. Its sad they have to sell them so cheap, but the excessively high list price does nothing but put people off

8 March 2012

[quote artill]If the 3 cars Autocar mentioned were compared at transaction prices instead of list i am sure the Vauxhall would look the cheapest, and probably the best too.[/quote]

I agree, also the Insignia is better looking than either and better riding than the Audi.

8 March 2012

Never a car I would consider but good on Vauxhall for producing some niche choices within their range. These traditional volume makes are getting pretty squeezed so it's nice they still have the odd left-field choice in there and haven't boiled it down to a handful of best sellers.


8 March 2012

[quote Maxycat] ...and better riding than the Audi.[/quote]

True, but then almost anything is better riding than an Audi, I've had four of them, and each one was actually worse than its predecessor, Audi ride comfort continues to deteriorate in my experience.

9 March 2012

[quote artill] A list price around 25 to 30% more than people will pay, and the actual transaction price. No one pays anywhere near list for these things, and P11d is still based on it so even the CoCar driver suffers.[/quote]

I'd love an answer to this too.

Smells like a cosy arrangement with HM Revenue to keep taxes up on company cars.

Anyone know why the high lists on fleet fodder Vx, Ford et al?

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