What is it?
This is a facelifted version of Britain’s most popular mainstream large family car.
The Vauxhall Insignia regularly outsells the VW Passat and Ford Mondeo, and Vauxhall is keen to maintain the momentum with these upgrades and an average £2000 price-cut across a simplified range. There are visual tweaks of course, including a fresh grille, new bumpers, new lights and the three-inch slithering southwards of the chrome strip across the Insignia’s rump. All of these changes are intended to make this Vauxhall look wider and lower.
More meaningful improvements include some fresh engines, new instruments, major infotainment upgrades that reduce the dashboard's button-count, and some refining of the chassis.
The 1.6 SIDI (for Spark Ignition Direct Injection) sampled here is the first of GM’s new Family Zero four cylinder petrol engines, this downsized turbo providing 168bhp, a fat 191lb ft spread of torque from as little as 1650rpm and in-built balancer shafts for refinement. It’s hooked to a six-speed gearbox and rides in a chassis extensively recalibrated to improve ride quality across a range of stylish rims whose diameters stretch from 16ins to 20ins.
So, up front there are revised dampers, anti-roll bars and softer front subframe bushes, while the rear suspension gets new springs, roll-bars, dampers and bushings too. Quite a comprehensive list of upgrades then, and more than most cars receive during a mid-life refresh.