Driving

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport review

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Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport
Review continues below...
24 Mar 2017 12:07 | Last updated: 18 Sep 2018 17:28

In this review

Driving

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

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback 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 6.9sec), it’s available only in top-level GSI Nav trim, making it pricey to buy and expensive to run.

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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 in 168bhp guise has a much more muscular mid-range than the 2.0 petrol and is not that much slower for outright pace. Ultimately, though, the additional cost means you should only consider it over the 1.6 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 40.4mpg but will undoubtedly do less in the real world – and is only available in the decidedly expensive GSI Nav and Elite Nav models means we’d avoid it.

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback ride

Fitted with the standard suspension and relatively small 17in wheels, we found the Insignia Gran Sport 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 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 Grand Sport

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback handling

Despite having shed some weight over the previous-generation car, the Insignia Grand Sport 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 - even more so on the sporty GSI Nav trim with its lowered suspension comprising bespoke adaptive dampers and springs, which keep body lean very well checked through corners. Its upgraded Brembo brakes are also meaty and reassuring, imbuing you with confidence.

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback 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 14 trims available for the Insignia hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
Design
This is the entry point to the Insignia range, but you wouldn’t guess it from the standard equipment list. You get 16in alloy wheels, DAB radio and Bluetooth, USB and aux-in connectivity, single-zo...View trim
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£18,085
Average Saving £1,205
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Design Nav
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£18,858
Average Saving £1,227
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SRI
SRi is more sport-focused than Design trim, so you get 17in alloy wheels, lower and stiffer suspension, a sports driver’s seat, as well as electric rear windows, front foglights and twin exhaust pi...View trim
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£20,774
Average Saving £1,281
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SRI
SRi is more sport-focused than Design trim, so you get 17in alloy wheels, lower and stiffer suspension, a sports driver’s seat, as well as electric rear windows, front foglights and twin exhaust pi...View trim
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£20,872
Average Saving £1,283
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Tech Line Nav
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£21,348
Average Saving £1,297
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SRi Nav
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£22,132
Average Saving £1,318
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SRI Vx-line
Another style-focused trim level, SRi VX-Line includes everything from Design and SRi but adds 19in alloy wheels and a bodykit, plus a different design of steering wheel. We’d give it a miss, given...View trim
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£22,733
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Tech Line
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£22,944
Average Saving £1,341
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SRI Vx-line Nav
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£23,318
Average Saving £1,352
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Elite
Elite is the luxury-focused trim level of the Insignia, and it comes piled with standard equipment. You get dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, heated fro...View trim
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£23,905
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SRI Vx-line Nav
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£24,232
Average Saving £1,378
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SRI Vx-line
Another style-focused trim level, SRi VX-Line includes everything from Design and SRi but adds 19in alloy wheels and a bodykit, plus a different design of steering wheel. We’d give it a miss, given...View trim
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£24,406
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Elite Nav
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£24,490
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GSI Nav
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£35,303
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