The Insignia GSi can certainly handle itself on a challenging stretch of B-road.
Although you’re constantly aware that you’re driving a 1.8-tonne estate car, the manner in which the Insignia’s fettled suspension contains what is a large, heavy body – particularly with the Flexride adaptive damping system set to Sport – is quietly impressive.
That’s not to say you can’t feel the car’s mass shifting about its lateral axis through faster bends – you can – but this happens in a progressive and controlled fashion, and sudden direction changes don’t greatly disturb the car’s particular meeting of stability and poise.
It’s a touch unfortunate, though, that a steering set-up short on contact-patch feel leaves the GSi with a driving experience that could be more involving. Feeling over-light and a little vague just off centre, it does weight up progressively as you add lock but it doesn’t become any more meaningfully communicative.
Switching to Sport mode goes some way to combating this by adding more weight, but the tactility hoped for of a really distinguished sports saloon isn’t there. So although there’s lots of outright grip and body control, the Insignia GSi isn’t quite the keen driver’s machine Vauxhall purports it to be.
The Insignia is capable of maintaining decent speeds around Millbrook’s hill route, to the extent that you can imagine why it’s capable of the otherwise irrelevant lap time around the Nürburgring. But don’t come to this car expecting levels of interaction or distinction like you’d get in a serious performance saloon.
There’s grip and the steering is linearly responsive. Body control is well contained too. There’s nothing here, though, that shouts interaction beyond that which you’d find in a car with an SRi or Elite badge, let alone a GSi model.
The diesel engine is audible and the automatic gearbox is ordinarily responsive, and although the Insignia is capable of high cornering speeds, it never makes you think you’re in a car that weighs less than it does or has any particular intention of entertaining you.
However, any diesel estate car’s outright dynamism ought to be judged in proportion to how it tackles arduous motorway miles – and here things are more positive. That stiffened suspension – while firm – doesn’t compromise the Insignia’s ability to absorb lumps and bumps too significantly, nor does it keep the car from settling into a comfortable, high-speed, long-distance cruise.