What is it?
It’s the new estate version of Vauxhall’s Car-of-the-Year-winning Insignia family hatchback, and it’s called the Sports Tourer.
Unlike the Vectra Estate, known and loved by off-duty white van men and airport taxi drivers alike, this car has the same wheelbase as the Insignia saloon and hatch. That means it’s significantly less accommodating overall than the car that went before it; its 1530-litre maximum carrying capacity compares rather sheepishly with the old Vectra wagon’s whopping 1850-litre payload.
But the good news is that, largely because it wasn’t designed to carry so much, the Insignia Sports Tourer doesn’t look anything like as upright, square or utilitarian as the Vectra Estate. Judge for yourself, but in our book the Insignia Sports Tourer is among the more svelte-, classy- and handsome-looking new load-luggers out there, and should have visual appeal for a much broader customer base than its antecedent.
And it’s not all bad news for the compulsive house-mover either. Thanks to some intelligent packaging, there’s actually more boot space in the Insignia estate "seats up" than there was in this car’s predecessor. With an underfloor compartment as standard, Vauxhall’s FlexOrganiser boot divider on the options list, and lashing points in all four corners, it’s also easy to make effective use of the available space.
What’s it like?
As a static object, more desirable than a Vectra by a factor of at least five. It’s got a much more stylish and expensive-looking cabin too, so it feels much more upmarket to sit in, and as you twiddle with indicator stalks and prod menu buttons, there’s an aura of quality and robustness you can appreciate that simply hasn’t ever been present in any other Vauxhall.
Luton is adding a new petrol engine to the Insignia range at the same time as launching the Tourer body style, a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol with 178bhp and 170lb ft of torque. Rather confusingly, it slots into the model range between the normally-aspirated 1.8 petrol and the 2.0-litre turbo. It’s got the performance of a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine, but much lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, says Vauxhall. And though almost 70 per cent of Insignia estates will be 2.0-litre diesels, the 1.6 was the engine that was fitted to our test car.