Economy and punch make this the pick of the Insignia range

What is it?

This is the Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 160 Exclusiv. We’ll get straight to the point with this one, with the combination of generous-yet-cheap Exclusiv spec and the most powerful diesel engine, this is the real sweet spot in the Insignia range.

With 158bhp and 258lb ft of torque on tap, the Insignia CDTi 160 delivers 30bhp and 37lb ft more than the entry-level CDTi 130, and yet consumes identical amounts of fuel (an impressive 48.7mpg on the combined cycle), and emits identical CO2 (154g/km). It also costs just a few hundred pounds more than its less powerful sibling.

What’s it like?

On the road, the CDTi 160 is predictably impressive. We already know from the other guises we’ve tested that the Insignia is Vauxhall’s best Mondeo-chaser yet. The handling is accomplished (albeit not as exploitable as the Ford’s), and the Insignia looks good inside and out.

To this impressive mix the punchy CDTi 160 engine adds supreme in-gear flexibility and a good slug of extra mid-range punch, turning the Insignia into a long-legged cruiser and surprisingly potent overtaking tool. You don’t pay any penalty in refinement, either - if anything, the 160’s more relaxed power delivery makes the Insignia sound less strained and more refined.

The 17-inch alloys that come with the Exclusiv trim level also provide the best balance between an absorbent, pliant ride and outright grip over the bumpy, scarred UK road network. The 17s also generate comfortably the least amount of road noise of the available wheel and tyre combinations.

Our criticisms are limited to the artificially elastic, slightly darty steering (although models on 17-inch wheels feel less nervous in this respect) and an optional automatic gearbox that, while very smooth shifting, feels as though its saps the diesel’s mid-range power.

Should I buy one?

Definitely. If you are considering an Insignia, then the CDTi 160 Exclusiv provides the best balance between power, value, refinement, economy and handling. It’s a seriously impressive package and one that, at the moment, the Ford Mondeo can offer no direct rival to.

Matt Rigby

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mukul 17 April 2013

The car looks powerful and

The car looks powerful and has a sleek look about it but unless the price level comes down it would hardly find many buyers. No matter what kind of car you get for yourself you have to be sure of its performance so you should go for a test drive. But after bringing the new model home do not throw away the old one go for a donate a car to charity program.

prw 1 November 2008

Re: Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 160

Yes, the BMW diesels have been delivering the most efficient range of engines for a long time, to the extent that I wonder if their higher state of tune is solely attributable to consistently superior design or by compromising on durability and longevity?

It is still not so long ago that there was the Micasil bore problem and that still has to be guarded against on some used models.

It would be interesting to learn from user statistics if my misgiving has any substance because it seems odd that no other maker can emulate these performances when they surely have at least ample opportunity to reproduce the same characteristics in their own designs if they wish?

nicfaz 27 October 2008

Re: Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 160

Matt Rigby wrote:
And anyway, perhaps you could say the the Insignia's fuel consumption is impressive, and the BMW's astounding...

I'm just wary of praising Vauxhall (or any manufacturer) for what isn't much more than an average effort - they should be doing better and all models should include the kinds of economy saving measures that help BMWs achieve such impressive figures. I'm not sure the new version of 'economy specials' like the Skoda Superb Greenline help either, yes I want 55mpg but not when it comes coupled with 104bhp in a big car and long run-ups to overtake tractors...

I guess I'm suffering from BMWitis, which means I think BMWs are somewhat overpriced and I really don't like the styling, but I very much wish that their engines were available in other cars! There are lots of cars that would be significantly improved by having the 123d's engine in them. Can you imagine an Alfa Brera with a diet, a RWD conversion and a selection of BMW engines?!