From £16,960
Good value and well-equipped, but powerplant disappoints

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Insignia

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

29 October 2008

What is it?

This, the Vauxhall Insignia 1.8 Ecotec, is the bargain basement of the Insignia range. That’s actually a bit unfair, because although the petrol-powered 1.8-litre Ecotec model is the least powerful Insignia offered in the UK, and Exclusiv is next-to-base in the spec hierarchy, it hardly feels like a budget choice.

All Insignias get ESP, automatic headlights and cruise control, and Exclusiv models add climate control to the mix. That’s a lot of kit for a basic large family car.

What’s it like?

The engine is the least impressive part of the package. The 1.8-litre Ecotec spins freely enough and noise is effectively subdued by decent sound deadening – even in the higher reaches of the rev range – but to make decent progress you have to push it hard.

The reason why becomes clear after a brief glance at the powerplant’s vital statistics. There’s nothing wrong with the 138bhp power output, but 133lb ft of torque is too weedy to allow effortless pace.

So although the bald performance figures are more or less acceptable, the lack of mid-range grunt means that overtaking requires a certain degree of forward planning that will be alien to anybody used to the mid-range thrust of a turbodiesel.

A 36.2mpg combined fuel consumption figure and a CO2 emissions of 184g/km are also solid rather than spectacular.

The Insignia 1.8 falls slightly short of the Ford Mondeo 1.6 Edge’s figures of 38.2mpg and 177g/km, but the 123bhp Ford does give away 15bhp to the Vauxhall.

Should I buy one?

The 1.8 is probably the weakest link in the Insignia range, but that doesn’t mean it is without appeal – if you are looking for a good-value, well equipped family car powered by a petrol engine, the entry-level Insignia is well worth consideration.

Matt Rigby

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim