Currently reading: Nearly new buying guide: Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport
Just about the only thing this car lacks is a premium badge

The five-door version of the previous Insignia was called simply the hatchback, but Vauxhall clearly thought its replacement, launched in 2017, needed a grander title, hence Grand Sport. It set the bar pretty high in terms of customer expectations. As things turned out, the new car was impressive: handsome, roomy, comfortable and great value. Indeed, we ranked it our third-favourite mid-size business car.

Of course, since it was launched, the world has changed. Unless it has a premium badge, nobody wants a midsize business saloon any more. At the same time, EVs are making old fossilfuel burners such as the Insignia, which doesn’t even have a hybrid in its range, look yet more passé. And that’s good news for used car buyers spoiled rotten by the huge choice of cheap yet still youthful Insignias.

Click here to buy your next used XC40 from Autocar

How about £8990 for a 67-plate 2018 1.6 Turbo D Ecotec 136 Tech Line Nav with 60,000 miles? This model is the sweet spot in the range, being refined and reasonably economical.

In fact, there are almost 35 trims to choose from, including engines, and twice that when you add manual and automatic gearboxes. Those engines include 1.5-litre turbo petrols with a choice of 138bhp and 163bhp outputs, the rare 197bhp 1.6T and the 256bhp 2.0-litre reserved for Elite and GSi trims and paired with an automatic ’box and four-wheel drive. This engine lives up to the Grand Sport’s ambitious name. The most rounded petrol is the 163bhp unit. It’s flexible around town and a quiet, long-distance cruiser.

The most frugal motor is the 109bhp 1.6-litre diesel, but the more powerful 134bhp version offers a superior blend of performance, price and economy, and there are loads for sale. The 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel trails rivals on economy. The most powerful diesel is the twin-turbo 207bhp 2.0-litre, again paired with an automatic ’box and four-wheel drive. As standard, every Insignias has automatic lights, keyless entry and ignition, electric windows, air conditioning, a DAB radio, good connectivity, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.

Back to top

Design Nav trim adds a sat-nav, while SRi offers alloy wheels, tinted glass and a spoiler, plus climate control. SRi Nav is self-evident. SRi VX-Line extras include a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a bodykit and a second digital screen. This trim dominates used supply. Our pick is the SRi-based Tech Line Nav for its parking sensors and lumbar adjustment in place of a bodykit.

A facelifted Insignia arrived in 2020, touting even more tech and safety kit; four new engines, including a 143bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol and 120bhp 1.5-litre diesel; and torque vectoring on the GSi. Why Vauxhall didn’t call its new Insignia the Grand Deal is anyone’s guess.

 

BUYER BEWARE

Engine On diesels, check there are no particulate filter issues and that the engine oil level isn’t too high. A 'diesely' noise at tickover on petrol or diesel engines could be a timing chain issue. 

Gearbox Along with the engine, the gearbox was the source of most problems reported by owners in a What Car? reliability survey so make sure all's well here. 

Body Examine front and rear ends for casual parking damage and poor repairs.

Mileage Make sure the displayed mileage tallies with that recorded on past MOTs and services.

Back to top

Servicing Don't just accept stamps in the service book but try to establish what's been done precisely.

Ex-fleet or daily rental? An ex-fleet car may have a good service history but will have been driven less than sympathetically, while a daily rental will have had multiple users and the barest maintenance.

 

Need to know

The Insignia is such a large car that it’s worth looking for one with the optional rear-view camera. Don’t expect Skoda Superb levels of interior quality, never mind Volkswagen Passat levels. Real-world economy differs significantly from official figures. For example, the 1.5 Turbo 165 auto does 30mpg (compared with 46mpg), while the 1.6 Turbo D 136 auto does 39mpg (54mpg). Early models were subject to seven recalls ranging from an incorrectly installed windscreen to incorrectly routed rear seatbelts. 

Our pick

1.6 Turbo D Ecotec 136 Tech Line Nav: Reasonable economy, at least with the manual gearbox, a well-balanced specification and a plentiful supply make this Insignia the pick of the crop. Just ensure all recalls have been attended to.

Wild card

1.6T 200 SRi VX-Line Nav: This rarity can crack 0-62mph in 7.2sec. We found a 2019 car with 36,000 miles for £13,689 – less than half its price when new. Features include 20in alloys and a VXR styling pack.

Back to top

Ones we found

2017 Insignia 1.6T D Ecotec 136 Tech Line Nav, 100k miles, £7700

2018 Insignia 1.6T D Ecotec 136 SRi Nav, 30,000 miles, £10,800

2019 Insignia 1.5T 165 SRi VXLine Nav, 30,000 miles, £12,000

2020 Insignia 1.5T 165 SRi VX-Line Nav, 50 miles, £19,499

READ MORE

All-new Vauxhall Astra: reinvented hatch tests hybrid powertrain 

The car industry now: can Vauxhall survive as a brand? 

Vauxhall: Ellesmere Port talks 'productive but not conclusive'

Join the debate

Comments
5
Add a comment…
xxxx 9 November 2021

Very underrated good looking car, shame PSA will probably run it down

jason_recliner 9 November 2021

Very impressive cars, especially the 3.6. Unfortunately here in Oz anything with a Holden badge is MONEY, so they are not a sensible purchase.

Peter Cavellini 8 April 2021

A much maligned car, it's a nice shape,an interior no worse or better that its contemporaries, it's just a shame it's got a Vauxhall badge on it.