8 March 2016 – first report
Price when new: £26,415 Value now £15,000 Mileage on arrival 8752 Official economy: 65.7mpg
“It’s a Vauxhall Insignia diesel.” Tell your friends that this is your next car these days, and the response is likely to be insipid at best, perhaps even derisory at worst. The Insignia has a reputation for being one of those cars that people drive not because they want to, but because they have to; because it’s been assigned to them as a company car, or in used car terms, because they need maximum space for minimum outlay.
Is that reputation really justified, though? Well, that’s one reason we’ve just taken on our used Vauxhall Insignia long-termer – to find out. But it isn’t the only one. Ours is a former company car registered in June 2016, and it’s done 8,700 miles. That means it can answer two questions for us: 1) whether a nearly-new car is a worthwhile alternative to a new one, and 2) whether buying an ex-fleet car is a savvy move.
What’s more, with Vauxhall’s new Insignia destined to hit the streets in just a couple of months, having the previous model on-hand will be handy in deciding whether buying used – and at a considerable discount, with values as they are – might be a better option. And there’s a comparison with some of the Insignia’s predecessors in the offing, too, to see how far it’s come. Watch this space.
We’ll also be putting Vauxhall’s dealer network to the test, and finding out exactly what it means to buy a car through Network Q, Vauxhall’s approved used car scheme. It’s one of the oldest and best-known in the business, and two years ago celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Our Insignia was plucked from Network Q’s stock, and we got a taste of the Network Q experience ourselves, collecting it from SLM Vauxhall in Tunbridge Wells, winner of the scheme’s best-dressed dealership award. Stuart Whitehand, Sales Manager, was on hand to greet us with a cup of coffee when we arrived – much needed with the cold, wet day outside (thanks Stuart) – and to give us a tour of the car’s controls.
And there’s plenty there to find our way around. The Elite Nav is the top-of-the-range model, and gets leather seats, satellite navigation with a big 8.0in colour touchscreen, cruise control, adaptive xenon headlamps, dual-zone climate control and a digital radio with Bluetooth.
What’s more, this example’s original company driver obviously had plenty of allowance left to use up as he or she tacked on a few tasty options. The seats have been upgraded to ergonomic, electrically-adjustable sports seats with a memory setting and electric heating, and matched to a heated steering wheel; elsewhere, we’ve got both front and rear parking sensors, and the set of snazzy 19in multi-spoke alloy wheels liven up the slightly humdrum Sovereign Silver metallic paint finish.
That weighty optional equipment list should make the Insignia a pleasant place to spend time. It’ll need to be – its chief duty will be to undertake a near-80-mile commute each day, mostly on motorways, in addition to occasional motorway schleps further afield. There’s also the prospect of an even longer trip over in Europe later in the year, which will truly put the Insignia’s cruising credentials to the test.
That kind of use will quickly show up any niggling flaws. Then again, big Vauxhalls tend to feel at home on the motorway, which means this one will have a solid chance of showing off its best side. Whether our used Insignia proves to be underwhelming or simply underestimated, then, this is shaping up to be an interesting long-term review.