Vauxhall Insignia Hatchback full 9 point review
There’s a huge selection of engines, but the efficient 138bhp Ecoflex diesel is the pick of the range. It has a strong mid range, so there’s no need to rev it hard to make decent progress. That said, it can feel a little flat at low revs compared with the best rivals. The 1.4-litre turbo is the pick of the petrols.
Ride & Handling
Models with big wheels tend to follow every groove in the road, which combines with steering that’s rather numb around the straight-ahead position to make them feel nervous on the motorway. Fortunately, the Insignia feels much more stable and composed on 16-inch wheels. The ride is generally comfortable, too, and the Insignia doesn’t feel overly sloppy on B-roads, although it isn’t as agile as a Ford Mondeo or Skoda Octavia.
The Insignia lets in quite a bit of road noise over rough surfaces, and you can hear wind passing down its flanks on the motorway. However, it’s the diesel engines that really ruin the Insignia; they sound rough – particularly when you’re in stop-start traffic or accelerating – and transmit lots of vibration into the cabin. The six-speed manual gearbox is notchy, too.
Buying & Owning
The Ecoflex diesel versions of the Insignia have some of the lowest CO2 emissions in the class, which makes them comparatively cheap to run as company cars, as does the competitive pricing. True, all models suffer from heavy depreciation, but huge discounts are available to private buyers.
Quality & Reliability
You get a smart cabin that feels like it’s built to last, although the optional digital instruments are best avoided because they reflect in the windscreen at night. Vauxhall’s reliability record is merely average; it finished 20th out of 38 manufacturers in our latest reliability survey. The Insignia wasn’t included in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Safety & Security
Vauxhall fits six airbags and stability control, which is the minimum you expect in a family car these days; it’s disappointing that you don’t get a driver’s knee airbag or rear side 'bags. Like most key rivals, the Insignia got five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Meanwhile, Thatcham awarded the Insignia five stars for resisting drive away theft and four out of five for resisting forced entry.
Behind The Wheel
Our test cars had sat-nav fitted, which brings a large touch-screen, through which you also control the stereo and your phone. It’s easy to move between this system’s various menus, although you perform certain functions by dragging your finger across the screen – something that’s hard to do on the move. Vauxhall clearly realises this, because it also provides voice control, a scroll knob and a laptop-style touchpad. The front seats don’t offer enough back or leg support.
Space & Practicality
For most people, the Insignia will make a perfectly adequate family or business car, although it isn’t as roomy as it appears from the outside. The sweeping roofline means rear headroom is tight for six-footers, and although the boot is reasonably large at 520 litres (before you put the rear seats down), it can’t carry as much as a Ford Mondeo’s.
The cheapest version, Design, is pretty well equipped, getting Bluetooth, a digital radio, USB and aux-in sockets, cruise control, and electric four-way lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat. However, you have to spend extra if you want electric rear windows and parking sensors.