You see Vauxhall Insignias everywhere you go. Although we give the current, first-generation model just two stars, it remains hugely popular with company car drivers due to its keen pricing, low running costs and generous standard kit.
Although it was deemed a very modern-looking thing when it arrived as the replacement for the Vauxhall Vectra nine years ago, the class has moved on significantly, with rivals such as the latest Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb now being much better bets.
So, Vauxhall has built an all new model, which it has called the Insignia Grand Sport. It will sit alongside the Sports Tourer estate and its rugged Country Tourer sister when those models arrive later in the year. The Grand Sport does cost less than its predecessor, with the cheapest of the six trim levels costing from just £17,115, yet it also promises even more space and kit.
We invited a team of What Car? readers along to an exclusive preview to see if the big affordable exec can live up to such a tall order.
Age: 51 Job: Digital technology manager Drives: Vauxhall Insignia
"I love that the car has been widened and its ride height dropped. The design looks a lot more stylish than the outgoing model. It’s going to look absolutely beautiful on the road.
"One of the reasons I chose the range-topping Elite trim on my current car is because it came with the forward adaptive lighting – that’s very important to me, because I do a lot of night driving – so I’m glad they’re retained.
"I would want the electric seats that auto-adjust when I unlock the car, as in my current Insignia, but Vauxhall say that won’t be available until a bit after launch which is disappointing.
"All the cars here have both front and rear parking sensors as standard which I think is really important, especially as this car has such a low front bonnet – with many cars you only get a rear one which is a bit daft.
"Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but I have a Windows phone, so I’m worried it won’t be fully compatible. It’s also a shame there’s no SD card slot – on my current car, I like to have my music and movies on there.
"However, I’m very excited about Vauxhall’s OnStar assistance system and the wi-fi hotspot that comes with it."
Age: 36 Job: Cyber security Drives: Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
"It’s down to what’s available on my company car scheme, but I will probably sticking with the Sports Tourer estate Insignia. I’ve had two Insignia hatchbacks before, though, so I could still go for this model here.
"I think Vauxhall has made an even bigger step forward with this model than it did from the Vectra to the original Insignia. The improvement in quality, the way the materials inside feel when you’re sat in the driver’s seat, it’s hard to put into words just how much better it is. I don’t think the materials are actually any more expensive but the way they’ve been used is far more effective.
"The driving position feels spot on which is one of the best things about the outgoing Insignia anyway. Setting up was easy. When you get in, everything just falls to hand.
"The big slab of plastic between the front seats in the old Insignia put it a mark down, but, in this new car, it’s more of a ‘cockpit’ focused on you.
"The Intellilink infotainment touchscreen looks fantastic. I like how Vauxhall has updated the graphics rather than completely changing them, because it means I won’t have to relearn the whole system. It’s a big weak point at the moment – I’ve had a lot of electrical problems with it in my car, so hopefully this is a big improvement.
"The boot is fantastic – it’s much bigger than in Insignia hatchbacks I’ve had previously, and if that trend continues in the Sports Tourer, it will be a more usable load space – my wife and I like camping, so it would be really beneficial to us."
Find out what two more readers thought of the Insignia Grand Sport and read more on the next page.
Page 1 of 2