First DriveThe refreshed Insignia is a capable all-round machine with notably better driving dynamics
First DriveA seriously competent all-rounder, but undone by cheaper rivals
What is it?
This is the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTi 130. It’s the cheaper and less powerful of the two diesel-engined Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourers – so it's the same 2.0-litre four pot as the 158bhp model but detuned to produce 128bhp. The Exclusiv is the entry-level trim, so this is as simple as an Insignia Sports Tourer gets, although you do get cruise control as standard.
What’s it like?
Perfectly adequate. That’s not damning with faint praise, either, because no-one is going to pretend that the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTi 130’s performance is sparkling. It isn’t, but it doesn’t leave you needing more shove to shift the Sports Tourer around. It copes equally well with A-roads, motorways and urban grind, with the diesel proving quiet and responsive. It doesn’t require considerable amounts of gear shifting to keep it moving either.
The rest of the insignia Sports Tourer works well – it’s not as big as a Vectra wagon but it is a considerably nicer thing to use and live with. It’s quiet and rides well on its standard-issue 17-inch rims, although at motorway speeds there’s a faint jiggling that seems to afflict the car’s whole structure, It’s very mild though, and hardly makes the Sports Tourer unusable.
And it has amazing wheels – they look like alloys but are in fact steel. GM calls it a structure wheel; it’s the shape of an alloy, with a convincing plastic trim, but much cheaper and lighter than a conventional steel rim.
Should I buy one?
The entry-level diesel Insignia Sports Tourer significantly undercuts the cheapest Mondeo diesel estate, and that car is 30bhp down on the Vauxhall. No, it doesn’t have the Mondeo’s chassis or its dynamics, but it has a less fussy interior and would make a fine workhorse.