Insignia Tourer first drive

* Swift and smooth on the road * Not as spacious as key rivals * On sale now...

Insignia Tourer first drive

Vauxhall Insignia 1.6T T Exclusiv Nav Sports Tourer Price: TBC
On sale: Now
You'll like: Equipment; price
You won't: Steering; depreciation

When it comes to estates, some people think diesel is the only way to go, but Vauxhall has other ideas. The petrol-powered Insignia 1.6T Sports Tourer is the baby of the estate family, with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. However, it's far from underpowered it has 177bhp and an official 0-60mph time of 8.6 seconds.

On the road, the Insignia doesn't feel sluggish, although the engine's response does lag until the turbo is up to speed. It's refined and smooth but power delivery isn't very linear, which sometimes results in jerky acceleration and gear changes.

As with the rest of the Insignia estate range, the ride is composed, with most bumps ironed out. Wind noise is largely absent, but road noise is noticeable. There's decent grip in corners and body roll is contained, but the steering is twitchy and doesn't inspire confidence on twisty roads. Motorways suit it best and the Insignia feels stable at speed.

The space race

As for luggage capacity, the Insignia isn't bad but it's not up with such rivals as the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6. The boot is too shallow and not quite wide enough. The bulky tailgate and deep rear bumper can make it tricky to load, too. Passenger space is good, though, and there's plenty of room for five to sit in comfort.

The Exclusive Nav trim level is a mixed bag. As the name suggests you get satellite-navigation, along with climate control and an electrically adjustable driver's seat. However, alloy wheels are an option, as are metallic paint and parking sensors.

The Exclusiv Nav is cheaper, and better equipped, than rivals, but it will still depreciate faster. However, there are generally good discounts available if you're willing to haggle, saving you money in the long run.

Our verdict...

Swift and smooth riding, but spoiled by its steering and a compromised boot.