What is it?
The Vauxhall Insignia is a car we’re all pretty familiar with by now. Since it came on stream last year, we’ve tried Luton’s handsome flagship out in all manner of flavours: petrol, diesel, fastback, wagon - the list goes on. We’ve also been running one as a long-termer for the best part of a year - of which you can read more about here.
Until very recently, the Insignia GSi - launched earlier this year - was the most powerful model in that comprehensive line-up. However, the implementation of stricter WLTP emissions and fuel economy test procedures at the start of the month, as well as what Vauxhall calls a “rationalisation” of its entire model line-up, has resulted in the petrol-powered GSi being dropped from sale (although you can still buy the 207bhp GSi diesel).
The consequence of this is that the car you see on the page before you is now the most powerful petrol-engined Insignia you can buy, even if those bragging rights are down to a bit of a technicality.
Well, a technicality and a brand new engine. The powerplant in question is a reasonably small turbocharged 1.6-litre unit that develops a zesty 197bhp and 221lb ft of torque - all of which is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. With this new motor at its nose and in practical Sports Tourer (read: estate) guise, the Insignia is capable of hitting 60mph from a standstill in a claimed 7.7sec and continuing to accelerate right up to a top speed of 144mph. That’s not exactly mind-bending performance, but it’s still only sixth-tenths off the GSi estate’s 0-60mph sprint time.
Other than the new engine, it’s business as usual for this latest addition to the Insignia line-up. It sits on General Motors’ E2 platform, with suspension by way of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, and passive dampers all round.
As for the question of how much it costs, prices for the 1.6-litre Insignia Sports Tourer start at £25,610, which will get you an SRi VX-Line Nav model complete with features such as satellite navigation, 18in wheels, a sporty VXR bodykit and climate control. Pretty much everything you’d want, in other words. Our £28,645 Elite Nav-specification test car added 20in wheels, Intellilux LED matrix headlights and heated front seats, among other things.