Like its hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer is a significantly more pleasant place to sit than its predecessor. The car’s cleanly designed dashboard and more practically placed 8in infotainment touchscreen (which you can actually reach when sat back in the seat, unlike the previous model) make it look like a much more premium product.
You’re reminded of the car’s lower value, however, when you closely evaluate build quality and notice that beneath the soft touch dash top and leather surfaces, there are more coarse plastics. But this is to be expected in a car that needs to prioritise value for money and is not exclusive to the Vauxhall in this class.
The SRi Nav’s infotainment comes with, as its name suggests, satellite navigation, as well as Vauxhall’s IntelliLink audio system, which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility – a big win for smartphone addicts. You also get DAB, Bluetooth connectivity and three USB ports, OnStar wifi hotspot technology plus a digital instrument cluster – a very generous specs list on a sub-£24k car.
Our Sports Tourer also featured a £290 head-up display and a £960 panoramic glass roof, as well as the pricey but undeniably comfortable £1155 leather sports seats, which feature electric lumbar adjustment and are mounted with as wide of a range of adjustability available in this class.
The car’s engine starts with a much quieter tone than previous-generation diesel Vauxhalls, and it pulls away more smoothly with less of a step than before as the turbo spools up, illustrating the vast improvements the brand has made with black pump-fuelled motors.
Our car, with its 134bhp and 236lb ft of torque, offers punchy performance, albeit in a fairly narrow window of revs, and enough grunt to make it a competent motorway cruiser. The car’s six-speed manual gearbox is slick and slightly rubbery through the gate, something that’ll be familiar to previous Insignia drivers, with leggy ratios that ensure the engine remains hushed at a motorway pace.
Interestingly, the engine is slightly more vocal than the less powerful 108bhp version, and it offers its best performance slightly later in the rev band, making best progress at 2500rpm - so it’s actually less suited to urban work. Vauxhall claims a 0-62mph time of 9.9sec, but the more powerful car’s rolling acceleration is a noticeably better – something that’ll make the 134bhp version the desirable option for long-distance cruisers.