What is it?
The transformation of Vauxhall’s line-up at the hands of parent company PSA Group (or, indeed, parent parent company Stellantis) is nearly complete. The Mokka has become a genuinely charismatic and desirable crossover, the optionally electric Corsa is giving the Ford Fiesta a seriously hard time in the sales charts and the Astra is about to make the landmark shift onto the electric-capable EMP2 platform, whereupon it will be radically redesigned inside and out.
In fact, come mid-2022, the only ‘homegrown’ Vauxhall model on sale will be the Insignia. It's a historically popular and well-liked proposition, but one which faces a somewhat uncertain future. Designer Mark Adams hinted recently that the Insignia - or an as-yet unnamed indirect replacement - could be reinvented completely for its next generation. And why not? Hatch-backed saloons are no longer the cash cow they once were - the Ford Mondeo’s imminent demise serves as proof of that - and non-electrified examples especially are starting to look out of place.
But to keep it fresh until a replacement is lined up, Vauxhall has updated the Insignia. Chief among the changes is the addition of a new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine option, while at the other end of the line-up is a 227bhp, four-wheel-drive GSi variant. Diesel engines - of 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre capacities- remain available, although no powertrains are equipped with the hybrid technology (plug-in, mild or otherwise) that’s available elsewhere in this segment.
The estate version has already bitten the dust, of course, so we’re left with the Gran Sport, available with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. We’ve driven the top-rung, warm-blooded, 4WD GSi car already, and walked away impressed, but here for our evaluation now is the second-from-top 2.0-litre petrol car in sporty SRi VX-Line trim. Priced from £33,165, it brings sportier styling to go with its agreeable 197bhp output, along with a selection of extras from the top end of the options list, including smartphone mirroring, an uprated sound system, perforated leather seats and a suite of advanced driver aids.