Vauxhall Insignia

Grand Sport SRi Nav

Turbo D

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, front
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, side
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, 2017, rear
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, dynamic
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, interior
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, front
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, profile
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, interior, rear
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, boot
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, rear

IF we're being honest, most of us would like to be behind the wheel of a Formula One car, or a sports car at least, rather than the family holdall we're stuck with.

Why else have alloy wheels which pit easily and show every brush we've ever had with a kerb stone? And what's the point in a leather-covered gear knob or a fancy rear spoiler unless it's to kid us we are race and track stars.

But I'm not here to shatter dreams or pour cold water on harmless fantasy. In fact I've just been driving a really practical, family saloon that despite being affordable and having a repmobile image is, in fact, pleasing and rewarding to drive.

Maybe Vauxhall choosing to name it the Insignia Grand Sport is a little too, well, grand. But put that behind you and take a closer look.

The latest incarnation of the Insignia is a vast improvement on the old saloon that mostly spent its life thrashing up and down a motorway in the hands of sales execs.

The five-door shape is now sleeker and more sculptured. In fact it's noticeably longer than the old model which chiefly benefits passenger space. The level of refinement has been wound up several notches and the handling is sharp enough to give a few hot hatches a surprise or two.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel the SRI version despatches 60mph in around eight seconds on its way to terminal 140mph - pretty reasonable for a family saloon. Mechanical sound from the four cylinder diesel is well suppressed so long as you don't stray much beyond 4000rpm. Wind noise is negligible.

The six-speed manual gearbox is better than I remember although still not as slick as an Audi's. An eight-speed automatic is an option.

Despite its size and brisk progress the Grand Sport has miserly thirst at the black pump. I averaged nearly 50mpg which more less tallies with the official WLTP stats.

Interior design is smart, modern and appealing with a reduction of switches and buttons in favour of digital operation. High grade, heavy duty plastics have replaced brittle surfaces and the seats are deep and comfortable. A seven inch screen with sat nav is fitted as standard but the test car came with an improved eight inch monitor which costs an extra £400.

Rear space is better than most rivals including its obvious German competitors. The hatchback boot looks huge but is relatively shallow though it extends well into the body of the car and can carry 490litres of luggage which is better than most rivals barring the Skoda Superb.

The sloping tailgate means that rear visibility isn't great when reversing.

Plenty of goodies included in the £25,000 price including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual climate control, front and rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights and heated door mirrors.

FAST FACTS

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRi Nav Turbo D

Price: £25,225

Mechanical:168bhp, 1,956cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 140mph

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions:141g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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