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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Good motorway cruiser; build quality; availability

Against Not the most refined; roofline reduces headroom

Verdict Big and bold, but the Insignia isn’t the best you can buy

Go for… 2.0 CDTi SRi

Avoid… 2.8T V6 4x4 Elite Nav

Vauxhall Insignia Hatchback
  • 1. The Insignia shed the slightly stodgy image of its predecessor, the Vectra, to deliver a smarter, more professional offering from Vauxhall
  • 2. The Insignia is smooth and stable at high speeds, but the steering is light and vague. It doesn’t score well for refinement, either, with noticeable road- and wind noise.
  • 3. Of the two 2.0-litre diesels, we prefer the 158bhp version over the 128bhp engine.
  • 4. Apart from the entry-level S spec, all Insignias get climate control, stability control and cruise control
  • 5. Electrical problems are the most common complaint, with numerous faults
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Vauxhall Insignia Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Insignia shed the slightly stodgy image of its predecessor, the Vectra, to deliver a smarter, more professional offering from Vauxhall.

It is bigger than the Vectra, both in width and length, and this gives decent cabin space and a 520-litre boot. However, the sloping coupe-style roofline limits rear headroom for taller passengers.

The dashboard is logically arranged, and most drivers should be able to get comfortable. Overall, the car has a quality, well built feel.

The Insignia is smooth and stable at high speeds, but the steering is light and vague. It doesn’t score well for refinement, either, with noticeable road- and wind noise. The diesel engines are noisy, too.

Trade view

The turbocharged 1.6-litre with 178bhp is peppy, and might prove more cost-effective if you cover a lower-than-average mileage.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

This Vauxhall is a car-fleet favourite, and the bulk of used models are diesels. Of the two 2.0-litre diesels, we prefer the 158bhp version over the 128bhp engine. In April 2009, two ecoFLEX models were launched and offer better fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.

Of the four petrol engines, the turbocharged 178bhp 1.6-litre unit is worth considering if you have don't drive many miles, but the 138bhp 1.8-litre is merely adequate. There’s also the 217bhp 2.0-litre turbo, and a 256bhp 2.8-litre turbocharged V6.

Four-wheel-drive versions of the 2.0-litre and 2.8-litre petrol engines are available, and automatic gearboxes are optional on the larger petrols and both diesels.

Apart from the entry-level S spec, all Insignias get climate control, stability control and cruise control, but the Exclusiv comes without alloys. The SRi gets alloys, sports suspension and electric windows all round, with the VX-Line option adding an aggressive bodykit and other sporty styling details. The SE gets a more comfort-orientated spec with alloys, auto wipers, and the Elite trim gets electrically adjustable leather seats and dual-zone climate control. Nav editions of each trim add a navigation system.

Trade view

The more powerful, 158bhp diesel model is best, but look out for models from mid-2010 onwards with better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

This car was designed with company car drivers in mind, so the diesel models are fairly efficient and cheap to run. However, since the car’s introduction, the diesel engines have all been tuned to improve efficiency and lower emissions.

From launch, both diesel engines produced 154g/km of CO2 and did an average economy of 48.7mpg, but in mid-2010 these were improved. The 128bhp engine's emissions were cut to 133g/km and economy improved to 56.5mpg, while the 158bhp engine's CO2 was cut to 144g/km and economy boosted to 52.3mpg

The ecoFLEX diesel models – introduced in 2009 – do an average of 57.6mpg and emit 129g/km of CO2, but this was improved in 2010 to 57.6mpg and 129g/km of CO2.

The least powerful petrol and diesel models start at insurance group 16, with the potent V6 model in group 36. Servicing and maintaining an Insignia won’t cost a fortune, either. Vauxhall dealers are plentiful and prices are in line with those for rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6.

Trade view

The turbocharged 1.6-litre with 178bhp is peppy, and might prove more cost-effective if you cover a lower-than-average mileage.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Electrical problems are the most common complaint, with numerous faults. The most severe involve issues with the car’s wiring loom, which can be incredibly difficult to cure. Other gremlins include controls and switches not working, and stereos failing.

There have also been problems with the clutch mechanism and diesel particulate filters.

Trade view

The more powerful, 158bhp diesel model is best, but look out for models from mid-2010 onwards with better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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