A quiet motorway cruiser, but low-speed engine noise disappoints

What is it?

The version of the Insignia that really matters in terms of sales - the 128bhp diesel in fleet-friendly Exclusiv trim. This is the version that has to topple the mighty Mondeo if it wants to rule the outside lane.

Exclusiv trim is the cheapest way into an Insignia, and Vauxhall's aggressive pricing is coupled with generous standard spec including 17-inch alloys and climate control.

What’s it like?

At first, disappointing. At idle and town speeds it suffers from diesel rattle, and from low revs it feels a touch sluggish.

But appreciation builds with miles, which prove that the power delivery is linear and that the Insignia is willing to be revved surprisingly hard.

In give-and-take motoring the Insignia feels no slower than the Mondeo. At motorway speeds the engine quietens significantly and the Insignia is impressively free of wind and tyre noise.

The Insignia's real talent is its damping and ride comfort, particularly in the case of this base model - which does without the adaptive dampers that Vauxhall offers further up the range.

Around town there is more firmness than expected but excellent control, meaning the car is displaced by bumps, but the resulting movement is controlled so cleanly and effectively that it could never be described as anything but comfortable.

Cross-country the Insignia demonstrates a surplus of grip and an impressive ability to change direction the car seemingly pivoting around its driver.

The disappointment in the dynamic makeup is the steering. The Vauxhall’s hydraulic system is accurate and reasonably weighted (if a touch light) but not blessed with feel.

Elsewhere the Insignia impresses with its bold styling and interior ambiance. Despite a few disappointing material choices, the Insignia’s cabin possess a cosseting upmarket feel well above that delivered by its major segment rivals.

Should I buy one?

Yes you should - or even tick the box next to it when the fleet manager asks for your next choice. It's a shame about the low-speed engine noise and steering feel, because they are all that stops this most humble of Insignias from being a truly great car.

Jamie Corstorphine

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TegTypeR 6 October 2008

Re: Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 130

julianphillips wrote:

Yeah I think Ford have bought a job lot of early 90's Alba hifi's and are using them for centre consoles on all new Fords.

Don't you find the needle jumps a bit when playing 7" vinyl, despite the fact the ride quality is so good?

julianphillips 6 October 2008

Re: Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 130

Yeah I think Ford have bought a job lot of early 90's Alba hifi's and are using them for centre consoles on all new Fords.

The Apprentice 3 October 2008

Re: Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 130

oh my gosh, is that genuine solid ecologically managed oiled walnut plastic on the dashboard - classy!

On reflection, I could live with that happily, over the dreadful Amstrad / Pifco silver spray plastic of the Mondeo. when I first walked in a showroom and sat in one I was astonished. After reading endless journo's telling me what a quantum leap Ford quality had taken, Ford marketing must have put a hell of a bar tab up at the press review party is all I can say.

I climbed back into my Honda Accord twiddled a few buttons for reassurance and all felt well again.