New Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs used Audi A4: which is best?

Can a new Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport tempt you into splashing your cash or would a more prestigious used Audi A4 sway you into going second-hand?...

New Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs used Audi A4: which is best?

Apparently, new feels good. But then you’d hope it would, considering you’re spending a large chunk of change on a heavily depreciating asset. Or are you?

There’s one sector of the new car market that has been falling out of favour in preference of SUVs: executive cars, and particularly the ones from mainstream manufacturers such as Ford and Vauxhall. This is bad news for the car companies but good news for new car bargain hunters, who can expect to get a healthy discount if they use our What Car? New Car Buying service.

For example, if we take the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport that’s competing in this week’s new versus used, it has a list price of £23,900 but a Target Price of £22,397, and you should be able to get even more off through our deals pages.

However, you might not need a car that offers as much space as the Insignia, or you might want something a bit more premium and don’t mind that it has a few miles on it. If that’s the case, you should take a look at the Audi A4, a previous What Car? Car of the Year winner and the current holder of our best executive car title. It’s a seriously good car that still has enough space for a family as well as a classy image that a Vauxhall just can’t match. You’ll have to pay for that privilege, of course, but how much? Read on to find out.

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Tech Line Nav List Price £23,900 Target Price £22,397 Official fuel economy 61.4mpg (NEDC) Emissions: 121g/km CO2 Power 136bhp 0-62mph 9.9sec Top speed 131mph

Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 Sport quattro S tronic Price new £34,410 Price today £23,000* Official fuel economy 64.2mpg (NEDC) Emissions 114g/km CO2 Power 187bhp 0-62mph 7.2sec Top speed 146mph

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and a full service history

New Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs used Audi A4 – interior & equipment

New Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs used Audi A4: which is best?

The interior of the Insignia is quite plush for a car at this price point, being a fair bit nicer than the Ford Mondeo's. You will spot a few cheaper bits, such as the indicator stalks, but there are enough soft-touch plastics, highlights of chrome trim and piano black plastic to give it a decent aura.

Equipment is generous, and not just in terms of toys; every Insignia gets safety systems such as forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance. Tech Line Nav also gets you sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, adjustable lumbar support for the driver and extra USB ports for rear-seat passengers.

Unfortunately for the Vauxhall, Audi has made some of the best interiors in the car industry for years now, and the A4 is no exception. It’s easy to see why this car cost £10,510 more than the Insignia when new, because every one of its surfaces feels expensive. What’s more, Audi's equipment levels are nowhere near as stingy as they used to be, with the A4 getting three-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, cruise control and sat-nav. Lumbar support wasn’t standard on Sport models, though, so you’ll have to look out for it.

Another option worth searching for is the Virtual Cockpit. This is a configurable 12.3in screen that can place all sorts of information right in front of the driver. It looks great and is really easy to use via controls on the steering wheel.  

New Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs used Audi A4 – space & practicality

New Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs used Audi A4: which is best?

If we were to judge a car solely on the amount of space it offers inside, the Insignia would win this test with ease. At very nearly five metres in length, it has the most leg room and luggage capacity of the two without question. If you have tall children or regularly carry adults, it will be the one to go for. Tech Line Nav models have greater front seat adjustment, with lumbar support for the driver and a tilting seat squab for better under-thigh support. There are some intrusions in the boot from the wheel arches, though, which can make it tricky to pack large items.

The A4 is by no means pokey inside, however. People in the front will have lots of head, shoulder and leg room, plus the driver gets lots of adjustment in their seat and the steering wheel. There’s a large central tunnel in the rear, mind you, which makes transporting three across the bench a squeeze. The boot is a uniform shape with no intrusions and a more flexible 40:20:40-split folding rear seat layout that makes it easier to transport longer loads at the same time as people – perfect if you happen to be going on a skiing trip.