Driving

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer review

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Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
Review continues below...
6 Jul 2017 12:30 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 12:53

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Vauxhall Insignia estate performance

A wide range of petrol and diesel engines are available, the cheapest being a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol with either 138bhp or 163bhp. We’ve tried the higher-powered option, finding it flexible from low in the rev range and fairly fuel-efficient. Given the small price, emissions and fuel economy penalty over the 138bhp version, we’d say it’s worth considering, particularly if you don’t do many miles.

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 because, while it’s quick (0-60mph takes just 7.1sec), it’s available only in top-level GSI Nav trim, making it pricey to buy and expensive to run.

Moving on to the diesels, there are four available: a 1.6-litre with 108bhp or 134bhp, and a 2.0-litre with 168bhp or 207bhp. The less powerful 1.6 is surprisingly willing and is by far the cheapest engine to run. That said, those who regularly have a full car would be better off with the more potent 1.6.

The 2.0 diesel (the only option if you want the more rugged Country Tourer model) in 168bhp guise has a much more muscular mid-range than the 2.0 petrol and is not much slower in terms of outright pace. Ultimately, though, the additional cost means you should only consider it if you’re planning on towing a caravan.

As for the 207bhp version, this feels barely any quicker. So the fact that it is one of the least efficient 2.0 diesels on sale – officially it averages 39.8mpg but will undoubtedly do less in the real world – and is only available in the decidedly expensive GSI Nav and Elite Nav trims means we’d avoid it.

Vauxhall Insignia estate ride

Fitted with the standard suspension and relatively small 17in wheels, we found the Insignia Sports Tourer handles smooth roads with crests and compressions in a relaxed – if slightly floaty – way. But throw in some craggy surfaces and the ride quickly deteriorates, with the car fidgeting noticeably and thumping over sudden obstacles such as potholes.

Adaptive dampers are standard on the GSI Nav and Country Tourer models and optional elsewhere in the range. Set in the softest Comfort mode, they offer greater pliancy over larger undulations, but the ride is still jittery over smaller imperfections, especially if you go for the biggest 20in wheels. In the stiffer Sport mode, the ride is just plain firm on UK roads.

Whichever suspension choice you make, try to stick to 17in or 18in wheels for the best comfort.

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Vauxhall Insignia estate handling

Despite having shed some weight over the previous-generation car, the Insignia Sports Tourer still feels relatively heavy in bends. The steering is reasonably accurate but, as you turn in to a corner, there’s a discernable delay as the body leans over, and only when it has settled does the car feel happy to change direction. But there is plenty of grip and balance, so you can carry good speed with confidence.

The adaptive dampers sharpen things in their stiffer modes, allowing the car to change direction more keenly. This applies even to the Country Tourer variant, despite its 20mm higher ride height.

Meanwhile, sporty GSI Nav trim goes the other way, with lower suspension that has bespoke adaptive dampers and springs that keep body lean very well checked through corners. Its upgraded Brembo brakes are also meaty and reassuring, imbuing you with confidence.

Vauxhall Insignia estate refinement

Although you can identify them as diesels from outside, the 1.6 and 2.0 engines are impressively hushed from behind the wheel. At idle and under acceleration, you hear some clatter and feel a few vibrations through the controls, but by and large it’s pretty refined. Drop the relatively slick six-speed gearbox into top gear on the motorway and you can barely hear the engines at all.

So that’s the good news. Now for the bad: even with the smallest 17in wheels, road roar is surprisingly noticeable at all times. At motorway speeds, this becomes a constant and irritating drone that on coarse surfaces makes it hard to relax. This gets worse if you add bigger wheels, to the point that noise on 20in wheels is quite unacceptable in a car designed for motorway jaunts.

 

open the gallery4 Images
There are 11 trims available for the Insignia estate. Click to see details.See all versions
Design
Design trim kicks off the Insignia range, yet it still gets a decent amount of kit. This includes auto lights, keyless start, electric front and rear windows, air-con, cruise control, a 7.0in touch...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£19,454
Average Saving £1,396
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Design Nav
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£20,221
Average Saving £1,424
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SRi
SRi gets 17in alloy wheels, front foglights, tinted rear windows, auto wipers, a spoiler, dual-zone climate control and rear USB sockets...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£22,122
Average Saving £1,493
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Tech Line
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
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£22,691
Average Saving £1,514
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OUR PICK
Tech Line Nav
This would be our choice. Tech Line Nav models are the same price as SRi Nav models, just without some of the sporty details. But you still get 17in alloy wheels, auto wipers, front and rear parkin...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£22,730
Average Saving £1,515
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SRi Nav
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£23,410
Average Saving £1,540
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SRi Vx-line
SRi VX-Line gets bigger wheels (unless you have the 1.6 diesel), sportier bodystyling, a heated flat-bottom steering wheel, sat-nav and a 4.2in colour display in front of the driver...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£24,067
Average Saving £1,563
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SRi Vx-line Nav
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£24,588
Average Saving £1,582
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Elite
Elite Nav adds adaptive LED headlights, front foglights, tinted rear windows, leather seats that are heated up front and a Bose stereo to Tech Line Nav features. It’s also the only trim available w...View trim
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£25,229
Average Saving £1,606
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Elite Nav
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
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£25,750
Average Saving £1,625
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GSI Nav
This sporty model adds more bells and whistles to Tech Line Nav, including a Bose stereo, heated front seats, leather seats, keyless entry, 20in wheels and a head-up display, as well as shaper look...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£36,489
Average Saving £1,976
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