Vauxhall's jumbo

estate

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, front, static with Boeing 747
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, rear, static with Boeing 747
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, front
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, front, action
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, side
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, rear
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, OnStar and SOS buttons
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, display screen
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, rear seats
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, interior
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, boot
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, 2017, gear lever

AS sales of diesel cars take a knock Vauxhall is keeping options open with its new Insignia estate.

The Insignia Sports Tourer, as Vauxhall is calling its stylish load lugging newcomer, has an all-new turbo petrol engine in the line up - and it is an impressive piece of kit.

It may be only 1.5-litres in capacity but boosted to 165ps it doesn't struggle to pull all 1.5 tonnes of the latest Insignia.

It can even manage to move the car plus a trailer of up to 1.4 tonnes such is its feisty nature.

The new engine is available throughout the seven model line up Vauxhall has for the Sports Tourer and in 165ps guise it's the only petrol option offered on every version of the new Insignia estate.

A slightly less powerful eco version of the 1.5 turbo can be had on lower grade models developing 140ps and priced from £18,685 but few will quibble at the extra £300 for the livelier 165ps engine.

We tried the new engine in a bottom but one grade Insignia Design Nav Sports Tourer priced from £19,780 and it's a car that lacks little.

Acceleration is a lively 8.4 seconds 0 to 60, top end is 138mph and officially it is rated at 46.3mpg with emissions of 139g/km.

In the real world it returned an average 40.2mpg and that's nothing to grumble about. It's nippy through the gears and exhibits some nice bite under acceleration.

Mid range pull is more than adequate - though not as torquey as that from the 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels on offer in the Insignia - and being a petrol it is much quieter on the road.

Like for like the 1.6 diesels cost £1,660 more, save company car drivers one per cent on tax (the 1.5 petrol carries a 26 per cent banding) and on paper are rated at 61.4mpg.

We managed to average 54 to the gallon so taking all into account there's little between the two - except perhaps some environmental conscience.

Like the new Insignia Grand Sport hatch - launched just a few months ago - the Sports Tourer is very much a car of the times and the Design Nav models come with full connectivity, sat nav and instant access to Vauxhall's OnStar call centre and SOS help desk.

All models have an electronic parking brake and cruise control with a speed limiter while extras include the IntelliLux LED Matrix headlight system that can scythe up to 400 yards through darkness without dazzling other road users.

There's even a full colour head up display unit for the driver - and that's a gizmo taken straight out of the American Corvette sports car.

At just over 16ft long the Sports Tourer is some four inches longer than the Grand Sport and with a wheelbase of 9ft 3ins is nicely roomy inside.

Cargo capacity is all important and the new Insignia is significantly bigger than the model it replaces with maximum space up 135 litres to 1,665 litres. The load bed is also now more than two metres long.

Seats up and boot space is 560 litres, bigger than its main rival the Ford Mondeo estate but not a match for the likes of Skoda Superb or the Volkswagen Passat - nor the mighty Boeing 747 freighter Vauxhall used as a backdrop at the launch of the new Sports Tourer.

Inside, the Insignia estate is nicely appointed with a modern approach to the instrumentation but most importantly the Insignia is very comfortable, especially over long distances.

Sleek styling is a forte of the new Insignia range and the Sports Tourer is a most handsome estate that's good and practical in every aspect - families or business users who need a car that can carry plenty and is proud to wear a British badge have never had it so good.

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