From £16,960
Solid petrol performance meets diesel-like economy and emissions

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Insignia

The Vauxhall Insignia is only small details away from rivalling the class best

31 August 2011

What is it?

If there’s a weak link in the present Insignia line-up, it’s the 1.8-litre petrol engine: economy and emissions are lacklustre, and there’s little overtaking punch. The new turbocharged 1.4 puts that right.

For now, the 1.8 will continue to be sold alongside the 1.4 T, but even considering its price advantage of £825 we can’t see many buyers choosing this outdated engine. The Turbo matches the 1.8’s 138bhp but torque is up 14 per cent to 147lb ft and arrives lower down the rev range.

What’s it like?

Whereas the 1.8 needs hard revving to stay with its own shadow, the 1.4 turbo pulls cleanly and with purpose from low revs. Overtaking no longer demands a long straight and plenty of patience. It’s a refined unit, too, and there’s nothing strained about the engine note even at high revs.

If the new engine is the most significant change for the 2012 model year, second billing goes to the new power steering system fitted to all Insignias with a manual gearbox. It’s an electric set-up to cut emissions by doing away with a power-sapping hydraulic pump.

Electrically assisted racks can feel artificial and inconsistent, but the Insignia’s system is better than most. Feedback is limited but, just off the straight ahead, the new rack is more responsive than the old hydraulic set-up.

Should I buy one?

Vauxhall predicts 60 per cent of cars sold with the new engine will go to company fleets. It’s certainly a more appealing prospect for business drivers than the 1.8, having better economy (49.6mpg defeats the 1.8’s 37.2mpg) and lower emissions (just 134g/km of carbon dioxide compared with 179g/km). The Insignia isn’t a match in driver appeal for the Ford Mondeo, but it is on the same page.

David Motton

Vauxhall Insignia 1.4i 16v Turbo

Price: £18,795; Top speed: 127mph; 0-60mph: 10.1sec; Economy: 49.6mpg; CO2: 134g/km; Kerb weight: 1503kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1364cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 138bhp at 4900-6000rpm; Torque: 147lb ft at 1850-4900rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
27

2 September 2011

Given how good turbocharged engines had become even 20 years ago, I'm surprised its taken the industry this long to grasp the potential of a downsized petrol engine allied with a low pressure turbo. It's obvious that fuel efficiency has not been a priority until recently - and that low production costs have been all important. It would be interesting to know how the weight of the two engines compare.

2 September 2011

Small turbo powered petrol engines are gaining a reputation for have claimed mpg figures that people find hard or impossible to hit. I assume this one will be the same...

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

2 September 2011

[quote Rich_uk]Small turbo powered petrol engines are gaining a reputation for have claimed mpg figures that people find hard or impossible to hit. I assume this one will be the same[/quote]

I think you have to drive them like there is no turbo there and as soon as you feel it blowing, change up, or stop accelorating. Which of course leaves you with an Insignia with a 1.4 petrol engine and no performance.

I am sure you are right, in the real world as soon as the engine gets into its stride you wont see anywhere close to its claimed figures. But does that matter? Now you can have a petrol Insignia on the fleet without paying stupid tax

2 September 2011

The new turbocharged 1.4 puts that right.

The 1.4Turbo in the Astra is really painful as it is.

Putting that engine in a car weighing approximately another 400KG, you could push the car faster.

Off boost, the engine has no torque/power, you have to constantly keep the engine spinning at high rpm to get the boost, and you end up with approx 20mpg.

This is purely an exercise by Vauxhall to get the CO2 figures down for the model as a whole.

2 September 2011

The economy claims are stupidly unrealistic because in the EU test they accelerate so slowly and change up really early, so as you say artill they don't use the turbo but in the real world the engine uses the turbo most of the time, especially with a few passengers on board and as a result the economy suffers. My Dad currently has a Volvo V60 T3 which has a 150bhp 1.6 turbo engine which is meant to average 42mpg+ but he is barely getting 30mpg from it and he is an enthusiastic driver but even driven more carefully it'll only do about 33-34mpg. On the plus side the extra torque means even with really long gearing it is quicker in gear and when overtaking than an equivalent 2.0 na engine. Just for comparison his previous car was a Mercedes-Benz CLK 320cdi sport auto and that managed around 36-37mpg (better than claimed) and would hit 41mpg if you stuck to 70. It goes to show that despite the auto box, and an engine almost twice the size (and with twice the torque) is more economical in the real world because it was under stressed and not overgeared whist also being a brilliant overtaker!

2 September 2011

[quote Adam the Great!]The economy claims are stupidly unrealistic because in the EU test they accelerate so slowly [/quote]According to what I read the testers on the rolling road have to accelerate from 0-62mph and have up to 50 seconds to do so. So yes not very realistic even for a very low powered car. I seem to remember a Mini 1000 automatic could do 0 to 60 in 30 seconds in the 1970's.

2 September 2011

Biggest news for me in this article isn't the new 1.4T, nor the electric power steering, I never realised there was such a thing as an Insignia saloon !!!

How long has this car been on sale? Never seen a 4dr yet.

2 September 2011

[quote ronmcdonald]

I never realised there was such a thing as an Insignia saloon !!!

How long has this car been on sale? Never seen a 4dr yet.[/quote]

No idea how long it has been on sale but according to Vauxhalls website it exists now. Mind you at a glance it looks the same as the hatchback.

2 September 2011

[quote Maxycat]No idea how long it has been on sale but according to Vauxhalls website it exists now.[/quote]

I'm pretty sure it's been on sale since the launch of the Insignia.

3 September 2011

This new engine should help shift a lot more Insignia's.It might not handle like the Mondeo but it certainly is visually more appealing

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