From £16,384
Frustratingly close to being impressive

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?

Massaging every single extra kilometer of travel out of a litre of diesel is increasingly the name of the game for European carmakers. So every trick in the aero book is being exploited to help cars slither down the road in a more Co2-friendly fashion.

So, like its hatchback sister, the Insignia EcoFlex Tourer wears a full complement of wind tunnel bling, including under-body spoiler. These direct air over the rear axle, which Vauxhall says reduces drag and reduces rear end lift.

The car’s upper front grille has also been blanked off, the rear screen fitted with ‘aero fins’ and the ride height lowered (by 14mm at the rear and 3mm at the front). Low-rolling resistance tyres complete the external package.

Mechanically, not much has changed bar slightly longer gearing and the Insignia gets the full-fat 158bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit, in contrast to other ‘eco’ models, which usually get de-tuned engines.

What is it like?

While the Insignia is a handsome machine, especially in Sports Tourer form, and has a stylish and well-made interior, its chassis really lacks a final polish, especially on broken British roads.

Unless you are driving on really well surfaced roads, the car’s ride suffers from a continuous background irritation, as the wheels patter over poor surfaces. It’s not particularly uncomfortable, but it is a point of note.

The Insignia’s steering is also below the class best, suffering from a lack of weight at the rim, when feeding the car into bends as well as lacking feel as the lock is wound on. Again, these failings are not unforgiveable, but the result is disappointing lackluster for a new-generation car.

The third failing is the engine’s so-so refinement. Again, it is not terrible (and it’s a lot better than Autocar’s early long-term Insignia) but it is still behind the class best, which is currently VW’s CR turbo diesel.

Should I buy one?

In truth, this car is aimed at the fleet manager rather than the private buyer. The crucial point about this car is the official Co2 figures and the tax advantages that flow from that.

However, in urban and sub-urban conditions, the Ecoflex returned 40mpg, almost exactly the 13 per cent improvement promised when compared to Autocar’s standard diesel Insignia on the same route.

Overall, this Insignia is frustratingly close to being impressive. It just needs a further chassis polish to shine on UK roads.

Join the debate

Comments
20

4 March 2010

From this report, it seems that the Insignia does almost nothing well.

It's heavy, too small while being huge, it's not the most economical, it doesn't ride or handle with anywhere near the ability of the best, and it's not a refined or very comfortable thing to be in.

This underlying drabness is almost a traditional value for the brand in this class, though it lessens with each succession of a new model.

The other mistake Vauxhall has made is in losing the cavernous storage space that the Vectra estate had. At least that would've been one saving grace.

The car looks nice from the front, but it all goes wrong at the rear - even more so with the saloon.

If the new Meriva drives anything like the Zafira, that'd be the plum choice in the GM range at the moment.

4 March 2010

I think I have yet to read a reveiw of an eco special car that is better than the standard diesel model. Hilton is as succinct as usual its all aimed at the fleet user to cut his tax.

Still as the eco specials are usually more expensive to buy than standard models they seem to cancel themselves out in my book.

All rather pointless then to me I wonder if the sales figures of eco specials will reflect this in 12 months time.

4 March 2010

some people are just anti vauxhall

4 March 2010

[quote VirginPower]The car looks nice from the front, but it all goes wrong at the rear - even more so with the saloon.[/quote]

I'd respectfully completely disagree; haven't driven an Insignia so can't comment on the so-so dynamic package (but really, does anyone actually want to be keyed-in to the road surface on the daily grind?), but it's one of the best-looking wagons out there, along with the Alfa 159.

Played about with the Meriva at Geneva - amazingly well-thought out interior..impressive car.

4 March 2010

[quote VirginPower]The other mistake Vauxhall has made is in losing the cavernous storage space that the Vectra estate had. At least that would've been one saving grace. [/quote]

Exactly. The Insignia's fine as long as you don't actually want to use it as a car.

4 March 2010

[quote VX220EDDIE]some people are just anti vauxhall [/quote]

Thats unfair just picking on Vauxhall, I would say anti GM as a whole and I would put my name down first for that group.

I can`t decide which is worse its product or its business ethics, its a close run thing.

4 March 2010

[quote michael knight]I'd respectfully completely disagree[/quote]

Oh no. I don't respect that. Oh dear. What were you thinking?

4 March 2010

We recently looked at the standard diesel version of this car when we were looking to order a new company car. It's nice but not nice enough! And more to the point the one in the showroom had bits of trim hanging off and wasn't that well screwed together. The salesman's comment "Oh that will be put right before delivery sir" really wasn't very reassuring either! If they can't be @rsed putting it right to display what are the ones they sell going to be like. As the report says so nearly there but spoiled by minor faults. We ordered an A3 2.0TDi Sportback - lower CO2 so cheaper as a company car, better put together and actually just as much usuable space as the Insignia despite being a smaller car. Also there was money left over in the pot for some nice extras like a Bose sound system whereas with the Vauxhall we'd have just got the basic car for the monthly lease allowance. These Vauxhalls (and Fords) ain't cheap anymore despite the discounts people reckon on...

Audi A3 2.0TDi S-Line / Subaru Legacy Tourer

4 March 2010

What I don't understand is, if they apply all these mods such as flat undertray, lowered and cleaned up profile, plus other tweaks to these "specials", why don't they do that from day one with the standard build? At least that way they'd be ahead of the game and score brownie points with the tree huggers too. Hell, they might even be able to produce a better vehicle, rather than butchering a current production car.

I mean, it's not like these considerations are anything new that have appeared after the car has already entered production!

4 March 2010

[quote eenymac]What I don't understand is, if they apply all these mods such as flat undertray, lowered and cleaned up profile, plus other tweaks to these "specials", why don't they do that from day one with the standard build? At least that way they'd be ahead of the game[/quote]

That's what I was wondering! To be fair both Mercedes-Benz (BlueEFFICIENCY) and BMW (EfficientDynamics) have implemented their eco technologies across most models, engines and trim levels (excluding V8 and V12 engines, I think...) so I don't get why Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen only put it on certain cars and then charge a lot extra for that one model?

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