What's it like?
The petrol is a worthy alternative to the diesel in many ways: it revs nicely across the entire rev range, and pleasingly does without the breathlessness similar downsized turbo petrol engines typically suffer from as the revs build. The wide bands for both peak torque and power are testament to that.
The six-speed automatic is a good companion for it, too, being precise and responsive in its shifts both up and down, if lacking the overall silky smoothness well executed, more modern eight- and nine-speed autos provide. It’s every bit as quick off the line as the impressive 0-60mph time of 7.7sec suggests, too, and not too vocal with it. A diesel will hum along more quietly on a run, yet there’s no coarseness to the petrol in either acoustics or refinement.
Which makes the fact that the car has one big failing a bit of a shame. The economy just isn’t very good, averaging in the mid-30s on a run. Kudos to Vauxhall for publishing the official WLTP figures that back that up (a ‘combined low’ economy of 35.8mpg, and a ‘combined high’ of 38.7mpg). So any buyer will take on this car with eyes wide open and knowing what they’ll be getting, but anyone doing big miles best look elsewhere.
The rest of the package is the usual Insignia fare: a comfortable ride, lots of stability and plenty of grip while cornering to create the kind of car you’d gladly do a 200-mile drive in, but not one you’d pick out to blow away the cobwebs on a Sunday morning.
The cabin lacks the class of the likes of the Volkswagen Passat, yet the controls are nicely laid out. It's comfortable, spacious (that boot is 560 litres and a good shape for bulkier items), and not wanting for creature comforts in this admittedly high-spec example.
Should I buy one?
With that economy figure, this new petrol version of the Insignia will remain a niche choice. Even more so in this Elite Nav trim level, that with a few option boxes ticked comes to £36,595 as tested here. Which is a shame, as it’s a nice drivetrain in a nice car.
The sweetspot of the Insignia range is lower down, in both trim and engine choice where you can comfortably find another £10,000 in your back pocket. But perhaps what this new petrol version stands for most of all is an advert for how viable diesel still is as a fuel for so many in cars like this.
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Elite Nav 1.6 200 Turbo auto specification
Where Suffolk Price £32,350 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1598cccc, turbocharged, petrol Power 197bhp at 4700-5500rpm Torque 221lb ft at 1700-4700rpm Gearbox 6-spd auto Kerb weight 1552kg Top speed 143mph 0-60mph 7.7sec Fuel economy 42.2mpg (NEDC combined) CO2 154g/km Rivals Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat