Vauxhall Insignia

Sports Tourer SRI

Nav 1.6 CDTI

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, front
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, front
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, rear
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, rear
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, interior
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, front

THE Vauxhall Insignia has been around for eight years now, but continuous development and a facelift in 2013 have kept it fresh and fighting...and it remains seriously good family value.

One of best models to go for from the huge range is the Sports Tourer SRI Nav with new ‘whisper' diesel 1.6-litre engine, combined increased practicality of an estate with miserly economy.

And true to its nickname the latest engine is much quieter than older Vauxhall diesels.

In fact, this ecoFLEX unit has a degree of smoothness and refinement that puts it at the helm of the current crop of oilburners.

With a capacity of just 1,598cc you tend question whether the task of hauling a sizeable five-seater estate is too great. But with a generous 236lb/ft of torque at hand, the Vauxhall has a big heart.

It's a responsive unit that reacts quickly to the throttle so long as revs are kept flowing above the 2,000rpm mark and real life driving sees averages of 45-48mpg.

Running costs are reasonable with emissions of 114g/km and an official government average of 65.7mpg.

Performance is brisk rather than rapid with 62mph coming up in 11.4 seconds and a maximum of 124mph, and the SRI is fitted with lowered and beefed up sports suspensions.

Cornering and ride quality are possibly its weakest areas - nothing unsafe or shocking, but there's a lack of fluency in the ride and no real incentive to push hard through corners because of a lack of general athleticism.

Of more interest, though, to most people interested in this sector will be load space.

Despite quite a high load deck, the Insignia can swallow up 540 litres of cargo with rear seats in place and up to 1,530 litres when they are folded down (these split 60-40).

These stats are generous enough, but trail rivals such as the VW Passat and Ford Mondeo slightly, and are a longer way behind market leader Skoda Superb which absorbs more than 2,000 litres.

Under the boot floor, there's a small shallow area where you can hide away valuables.

The cabin, which was recently treated to a rethink, uses good quality materials and has a sensible, easy-to-operate design.

A cleaner console incorporating standard sat nav is both easier to read and smarter. The central oddment box is on the small size, but there are generous door pockets and a good-sized glove box.

The steering wheel is adjustable for both height and reach, and the driver's seat has multiple adjustments, but I wasn't able set it quite high enough for my ideal position. Both driver's and passenger's seat squabs are made to extend.

Those in the rear have decent head and legroom and it is quite possible to seat three abreast if required. When just two are on board, use can be made of a central armrest which includes two cup holders.

This car was fitted with optional 19-inch alloys, which look great but probably impair the ride standard a tad. It also had front and rear parking sensors at £450.

FAST FACTS

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer SRI Nav 1.6 CDTI

Price: £23,724

Mechanical: 134bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 11.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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