By Ian Strachan
The Vauxhall Insignia has rapidly become the car to beat in the upper medium sector. The Insignia Sports Tourer is big, well-specified, classy to look at and a pleasure to drive yet it still costs not much more than £20,000, writes Ian Strachan.
The estate version of the Insignia has kept all the style of the saloon, with the addition of cavernous 560 litres of load-lugging capacity (1665 litres with the rear seat folded). But you still get a car which is frugal and handles well. This is a solidly impressive and capable car.
The design of the Tourer is strong, well-balanced and pleasing. Its eye-catching, smoothly-rounded profile and assertive road stance set it apart from many of its competitors. This is not a saloon with a bit stuck on the back. It has been designed to look as if it was born to be an estate car.
Inside too, the design is attractive as well as practical, with more-than-adequate leg and headroom. The award-winning leather-trimmed heated seats are comfortable in the extreme.
I test drove the 1.6 diesel powered Turbo D ecoTEC which develops 110 brake horsepower. That may not sound much but it is more than adequate. The car still quick and gets fro 0-60 mph in less than 11 seconds.
This specification, equipped with satellite navigation comes in at £22,740 and you get a lot of car for your money.
Standard equipment includes smart twin-spoke 17 inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation with eight-inch colour touchscreen controls, steering wheel mounted audio controls for the seven-speaker DAB digital radio, which also has Apple CarPlay, android and MP3 capability, USB connection and Bluetooth streaming, automatic headlights and window wipers, front and rear cruise control, all-round electric windows, dual zone electronic climate control and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors.
You also front sports seats, keyless entry and start, front fog lights, roof rails, leather steering wheel, tyre pressure monitoring and all round airbags. This Insignia also has Vauxhall’s OnStar system giving you 4G WiFi for up to seven devices.
The 1.6 110 PS diesel unit is quiet and unfussed. It’s refined and doesn’t feel raucous when worked hard. It manages an impressive 65.7 mpg for mixed driving, and pulls well throughout the range of its slick six-speed manual gearbox.
Ride and handling is comfortable and confident, with no suggestion you are driving a big estate car. Instruments are clear and come to hand easily.
Safety levels are high, and so is carrying capacity, and there are lots of useful storage spaces around the cabin. My test car came with £5,000 in optional extras which included a winter pack (£400), intelligent matrix headlights (£1.010), front and rear distance parking sensors (£460), ergonomic sports-style leather front seats (£1155), head-up display (£290) and 18 inch alloys (£405).
The Insignia is firmly placed in the best sellers list and the signs are it’s going to stay there.