What is it?
This is the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport family saloon in as near to entry-level diesel form as we could manage, where it’s officially for more than 70mpg on the combined cycle, and also cheaper than an equivalent entry-level diesel Volkswagen Golf from the class below. If you like a new car with plenty of good old-fashioned value for money to trade on, few introductions this year will offer more.
Having not only redesigned and re-engineered its Ford Mondeo rival from the ground up, Vauxhall has been singularly aggressive with the new car’s price in a bid to grab back some of the market share lost to the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class since the introduction of the original Insignia in 2008.
So, besides a slightly more exotic-sounding name and crisper exterior styling, the new Insignia Grand Sport comes to UK showrooms in May with prices as low as just £17,115. Matching the kit list of our 108bhp diesel, £19,280 Design Nav test car on a Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI SE will cost you more than £22,000 – and the Skoda’s a smaller car, don’t forget.
This second-generation Insignia is based on an all-new platform. It’s slightly larger but also considerably more spacious inside than the outgoing model, and it has new suspension, running gear and driveline technologies, as well as a range of new and updated engines. The 108bhp diesel we're testing here is likely to be a big part of Vauxhall’s sales mix and, along with its rangemates, benefits from an average weight saving of 175kg compared with the outgoing Insignia.
Higher-end versions of the new Insignia Grand Sport offer features such as asymmetrical four-wheel drive, FlexRide adaptive damping, an eight-speed automatic gearbox, active LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging and a head-up display. Of course, the equipment specification for lower-end models is understandably simpler. But even here you get an 8.0in colour infotainment system with sat-nav, Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge service, onboard 4G wi-fi, keyless entry and the latest electronic safety aids - all in a car that costs less than £20,000.