Insignia Ecoflex is an okay car - but needs a chassis polish
Insignia is handsome, but chassis lacks a final polish
Full-fat 158bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel remains
Mechanically not much changes from standard car - just longer gearing
Stylish interior is well thought through
All the load-lugging capability of the standard Insignia
First DriveInsignia gets new 'Whisper' 2.0-litre diesel, which promises better refinement and company car-friendly figures
First DriveThe refreshed Insignia is a capable all-round machine with notably better driving dynamics
What is it?
Massaging every single extra kilometer of travel out of a litre of diesel is increasingly the name of the game for European carmakers. So every trick in the aero book is being exploited to help cars slither down the road in a more Co2-friendly fashion.
So, like its hatchback sister, the Insignia EcoFlex Tourer wears a full complement of wind tunnel bling, including under-body spoiler. These direct air over the rear axle, which Vauxhall says reduces drag and reduces rear end lift.
The car’s upper front grille has also been blanked off, the rear screen fitted with ‘aero fins’ and the ride height lowered (by 14mm at the rear and 3mm at the front). Low-rolling resistance tyres complete the external package.
Mechanically, not much has changed bar slightly longer gearing and the Insignia gets the full-fat 158bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit, in contrast to other ‘eco’ models, which usually get de-tuned engines.
What is it like?
While the Insignia is a handsome machine, especially in Sports Tourer form, and has a stylish and well-made interior, its chassis really lacks a final polish, especially on broken British roads.
Unless you are driving on really well surfaced roads, the car’s ride suffers from a continuous background irritation, as the wheels patter over poor surfaces. It’s not particularly uncomfortable, but it is a point of note.
The Insignia’s steering is also below the class best, suffering from a lack of weight at the rim, when feeding the car into bends as well as lacking feel as the lock is wound on. Again, these failings are not unforgiveable, but the result is disappointing lackluster for a new-generation car.
The third failing is the engine’s so-so refinement. Again, it is not terrible (and it’s a lot better than Autocar’s early long-term Insignia) but it is still behind the class best, which is currently VW’s CR turbo diesel.
Should I buy one?
In truth, this car is aimed at the fleet manager rather than the private buyer. The crucial point about this car is the official Co2 figures and the tax advantages that flow from that.
However, in urban and sub-urban conditions, the Ecoflex returned 40mpg, almost exactly the 13 per cent improvement promised when compared to Autocar’s standard diesel Insignia on the same route.
Overall, this Insignia is frustratingly close to being impressive. It just needs a further chassis polish to shine on UK roads.