From £19,1358
New 197bhp 1.6-litre engine now sits at the pinnacle of the petrol-powered Insignia range. How well does it suit Vauxhall's flagship estate?

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer GSI 2018 review hero front

New GSi performance variant aims to boost the the appeal of what is already a practical, well equipped estate car

Simon Davis
4 October 2018

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.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

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.

What's it like?

While you wouldn’t label this particular Insignia as being a particularly sporty motor, the addition of the new 1.6-litre engine does lend it a respectable turn of pace. The climb through the rev range is impressively smooth, and while the accompanying soundtrack isn't particularly endearing or exciting, it’s still a long way from what you’d consider harsh or grating. 

Provided you keep the crank spinning at about 2000rpm, it’s a reasonably responsive unit, too. Plant your foot here and it’ll pick up the pace in a gradual fashion, although it seems to properly wake up from about 2500rpm or so. Because its 221lb ft is so easily accessible, the need to interact with the six-speed manual gearbox is reduced somewhat as well. Not that this will prove to be a turn-off, mind, because it’s not the most tactile ’box to interact with. 

As for its on-road manners, the Insignia majors on stability and comfort, as opposed to outright athleticism. Granted, on 20in wheels there is a degree of intrusion from potholes and bumps in the road, but its primary ride comfort is impressive. Its suspension works to smooth out compressions with little bother, although vertical travel over crests could perhaps be marginally tighter.

Through faster bends, the Insignia remains planted and secure, with body roll arriving in a progressive and predictable fashion. There’s abundant front end grip, too, and if the car's nose does continue to press on, a lift of the throttle is all that’s required to tighten your cornering line. At roughly 2.7 turns lock to lock, the steering isn’t particularly quick, but it's weighted nicely and allows you to point the Insignia’s front end where you want with a reassuring degree of confidence. 

Being an Insignia Sports Tourer, the cabin is predictably cavernous. You’d have to be exceptionally tall to be in need of additional leg or head room in the second row, and while the 560-litre boot isn't class-leading, there’s still enough space here to accommodate bulkier items with little in the way of hassle.

Should I buy one?

Credit where credit’s due: the Insignia ticks all the right boxes as far as being a comfortable, safe and practical family wagon is concerned. A claimed combined fuel economy figure of 42.2mpg, combined with its relaxed on-road manners and usable interior, make it well suited to long-distance excursions, while its sensibly weighted controls and decent visibility mean you can dawdle around at urban speeds without wearing yourself out.

And while our Elite Nav test model isn't the one to go for, due to its slightly elevated price, the standard SRi VX-Line Nav still offers all of the above, only at a more reasonable price point.

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 1.6T Elite Nav 

Where Hampshire, UK Price £28,645 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbo, petrol Power 197bhp at 4700-5500rpm Torque 221lb ft at 1650-4500rpm Gearbox 6-speed manual Kerb weight na Top speed 144mph 0-60mph 7.7sec Fuel economy 42.2mpg (combined) CO2, tax band 154g/km, 31% Rivals Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb, Mazda 6

Join the debate

Comments
14

4 October 2018

Isn't this the same 1.6 turbo that has been in the Astra for the last couple of years?

5 October 2018
We get this with a 3.6 V6. It seems unlikely a 1.6 turbo is going to be much cheaper to build or maintain.

4 October 2018

I bet it’s the 1.6 PSA unit that’s in the 308gti, 208gti etc.

4 October 2018
Wellsi wrote:

I bet it’s the 1.6 PSA unit that’s in the 308gti, 208gti etc.

That'll be annoying, isn't that only available as an Automatic in the 308 GT?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

4 October 2018
How is one's understanding of the world enhanced by following the word 'price' with the word 'point'?

People used not to do it and I don't remember being lost in a fog of incomprehension.

4 October 2018

Insignia 1.6T 0-60mph 7.7sec Fuel economy 42.2mpg (combined) CO2, 154g/km

Octavia 1.5tsi 0-60mph 8.1sec Fuel economy 53.0mpg (combined) CO2, 119g/km,

Not forgetting the Octavia has an extra 50L of boot space.

With the exception of the Superb, the Mondeo and Mazda 6 can't compete with Octavia either.

5 October 2018
scotty5 wrote:

Insignia 1.6T 0-60mph 7.7sec Fuel economy 42.2mpg (combined) CO2, 154g/km

Octavia 1.5tsi 0-60mph 8.1sec Fuel economy 53.0mpg (combined) CO2, 119g/km,

To slow

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

5 October 2018
scotty5 wrote:

Insignia 1.6T 0-60mph 7.7sec Fuel economy 42.2mpg (combined) CO2, 154g/km

Octavia 1.5tsi 0-60mph 8.1sec Fuel economy 53.0mpg (combined) CO2, 119g/km,

To slow

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

5 October 2018

That 'to slow' was typed tongue in cheek. Thought I better explain it before FMS has a heart attack. 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

5 October 2018

The information you shared about the car is very good or I am quite impressed with the interior and engine of the car. the car is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.happy wheels 

 

Acacia

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week