A wide range of petrol and diesel engines are available from launch with the cheapest option being a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol with either 138bhp or 163bhp. We’ve tried the high-powered option, finding it flexible from low rpm and fairly fuel-efficient. Given the small price, emissions and economy penalty over the lesser version, we’d say it’s worth considering if you don’t do a high mileage.
The other petrol engine is a 2.0-litre turbo with 256bhp that comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. We’d avoid this as it has high running costs and is only available in Elite Nav trim, pushing up the price. We suspect the higher-powered diesels will feel just as brisk in the real world, too.
Speaking of diesels, there are three of those available: a 1.6-litre unit with 108bhp or 134bhp or a 2.0-litre engine with 168bhp. The lesser 1.6 is surprisingly willing and is by far the cheapest engine to run. That said we feel that those who regularly have a full car would be better off with the more potent 1.6. As for the 2.0-litre diesel, we’ve yet to try that.
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport ride comfort
So far we’ve only experienced the Insignia Grand Sport on standard suspension and on relatively small 17in wheels. On smooth roads with crests and compressions, it has a relaxed, floaty feel. But throw in some craggy surfaces and the ride quickly deteriorates with the car fidgeting noticeably and thumping over sudden obstacles such as potholes. Hopefully the optional adaptive dampers will improve things; either way we’d avoid ticking the option box for bigger wheels.
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport handling
You do get the feeling that corners were cut to get that astonishing purchase price, though, especially if you try to go round one with any verve. Turn in, and despite having shed some weight, the Insignia still corners like a big, heavy car. After you’ve turned the wheel, there’s a noticeable delay before the body leans over and the car starts to change direction. There is at least plenty of grip. The optional adaptive dampers might help, but we’ve yet to try them.
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport refinement
There may be new engines available elsewhere in the range, but the 1.6-litre diesel is carried over from the old Insignia. While that set alarm bells ringing with us, we needn’t have worried. Although you can tell it’s a diesel from the outside, the motor is impressively hushed from behind the wheel.
At idle and under acceleration there is some clatter, but it’s largely well muted, while at a cruise you barely hear it at all. The 1.5-litre petrol is even quieter with a more refined idle and fewer vibrations through the steering wheel. Engine noise isn’t the biggest problem: even with the smallest 17in wheels, road noise is surprisingly noticeable at all times. At motorway speeds, this becomes an irritatingly constant drone that makes it hard to relax.
This little 1.5-litre turbo petrol is the cheapest engine but still promises reasonable pace. Even so, we’d be more tempted to pay a little extra for its more powerful brother if you want a cheap motor.
Effectively this is the same as the base engine but with a little more power. It’s flexible despite its small size and there’s only a small emissions, economy and price penalty. Just remember that a diesel will be much more economical if you’re doing lots of miles.
Only available in top Elite Nav spec, the 2.0-litre turbo petrol comes exclusively with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. We’ve not driven it yet, but we do know it’ll be expensive to buy and run.
Our pick 1.6 Turbo D 110
We had worried that this little diesel might struggle in the Insignia, but it’s actually a flexible thing that is just about quick enough. It’s the cheapest to run but may struggle if you regularly have a full car.
1.6 Turbo D 136
Another engine we’ve not tried in the Insignia, although we do know it makes the Astra usefully punchier when compared to the 110. It will be a little costlier to run but it will handle heavy loads better and be quicker to accelerate.
2.0 Turbo D 170
As the most powerful diesel, performance is brisk but emissions are disappointing when compared to similarly potent rivals. Unless you’re towing, we’d avoid.