Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Tech Line, w1.6 110PS Turbo D ecoTEC
The recent purchase of Vauxhall-Opel by the PSA Group came after Vauxhall had already designed & launched their latest Insignia, now called the Insignia Grand Sport. As SUV’s take over the world, some are talking about the demise of the 5-door saloon, but to my mind this type of car still has a place, especially when it’s been designed & built as well as this latest Vauxhall.
The latest Insignia is really attractive. Even Mrs Walker commented on its good looks.The new version comes with a large, flat grille at the front, curved front daytime running lights, sculpted doors & a spoiler on the boot lid. Vauxhalls designers have made a really good looking motor.
There’s a wide choice of trims on offer, starting with the Design entry-level car & move up through Design Nav, SRI & SRI Nav,Tech Line Nav, SRI VX-Line Nav & top of the range Elite Nav. We were testing the likely fleet favourite the Tech Line Nav.
Open the door & step inside & its clear to see that Vauxhall in company with the other car makers, have spent an awful lot of time making sure that the quality of their models is just as good inside as it is on the outside. Comfortable sculptured front seats are matched by a tasteful colour palette of silver & black which with the equally well designed door handles, give the interior a real lift. The dashboard is nicely laid out too, with the speedo, rev counter, fuel & temperature gauges all located above the steering column in plain view. The leather clad steering wheel also features the buttons for the Bluetooth phone connectivity & cruise control located on the left hand side, with the buttons for the DAB radio/MP3 including volume controls located on the right. The start button is located on the left side of steering wheel on the dashboard.
Dominating the centre of the dash, is the 7” touchscreen, featuring the SatNav & infotainment system. I have to say that its definitely one of the better located screens I’ve encountered being both a good size & easy to see whilst on the move. Underneath this are located the manual heating controls, again within easy reach of the driver. There’s also a good sized glove box & additional storage space for drinks in the centre console, where the Aux in & two USB connections are also located. Via the touchscreen, the driver can control the audio, phone, SatNav & climate functions, as well as offering the driver Vauxhall On Star, where you can link up to seven devices to the car to connect to the internet. We tried it & it was simple to set up & worked really well with three mobiles connected whilst we were on the move.
The 1.6 engine in 110PS guise, should in theory be underpowered for a car of this size. In reality, this new diesel is actually pretty good with acceleration just about all the way up through the gears even in sixth on the motorway. That’s in part because it produces a maximum of 300Nm in torque, which is not far off the output of some bigger diesels. In the main, the larger 2 litre Insignia competitors, will offer you more mid-range pulling power & more at the top end as well, but the difference in cost, fuel economy & tax makes the 1.6 Vauxhall a very attractive proposition. Provided you keep the revs up above 2000rpm, it proves willing.
The 1.6 litre diesel engine is surprisingly refined & quiet. Around town, the six-speed gear box is smooth & easy to use , with the Stop/Start function performing well, allowing me to make light work of the roads around the NW. I drove the Insignia to Surrey & back where I turned on the cruise control setting it to a steady 70 mph. As most Insignia users will be taking advantage of our road network, I’m pleased to say that this Vauxhall is great on the motorway & with the cabin quiet enough to talk clearly on the Bluetooth hands free mobile phone system, I was even able to stay in touch with the office as I drove towards Birmingham. A word of warning, the 110 PS engine isn’t quick particularly when slowing down & speeding up & I found myself changing down from sixth to fifth or even fourth gear to negotiate slower traffic. I was driving with a fully laden car though, a sI found it far more willing when I drove there Insignia on my own. A 0-60 mph time of 10.9 seconds reflects this although it will go on to hit a top speed of 131 mph.
The suspension is well set up, allowing for a bit of fun on country roads. The drivers ergonomic shaped seat helps smooth out the ride as well. making for surprisingly comfortable journey. Security & safety feature highly on the Insignia, with remote security alarm deadlocks, six airbags, ESP, ABS & an electric parking brake, which I found worked extremely well.
The front seats don’t just look good, they’re also comfortable & easily adjusted. I stopped at the services to have a sit in the back where again the Insignia scores highly for rear passenger legroom & despite the sloping roof line, feels big enough for a couple of six footers. The boot opens wide, so getting larger items in and out is easy. Indeed our family trip to London & back meant four large bags, plus dog paraphernalia, all of which was swallowed with room to spare. The boot actually offers a generous 490 litres of space which increases to 1450 litres with the rear seats folded down
Back on the road & I headed towards the M40 west of London where I really found the Insignias Mojo. This car is built for the autobahn & I guess just like my dads old brown Cavalier from 1981, this is where most Insignia drivers will be driving to get around our network of A roads & motorways linking our major towns & cities.
My test car may not have been fast, but it was frugal. I drove over 500 miles in 7 days averaging 49.2 mpg. The claimed combined figure from Vauxhall is 70.6 mpg but to be fair to them, I rarely if ever manage to get any test car or van over 50 mpg, so the Insignia performed really well. Plus I had four adults, luggage & a medium sized dog weighing me down for 420 of those miles. A 62-litre tank means you’ll cover more than 600 miles between fuel stops at this rate of consumption, music to many drivers easy, who like me hate stopping unless they really have to. CO2 emissions are a handy 105g/km.
For those fleet managers whose drivers want a well specced car the Insignia doesn’t disappoint. Apart from the standard 7” colour touchscreen, my test my model had fitted as standard, DAB, Bluetooth, 7 speakers, Navi 900 IntelliLink system, Vauxhall ONStar, dual-zone climate control, two USB’s in the front & the rear, an Aux in, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, cruise control & an electrically adjusted drivers seat. Extras included, a Winter Pack £660, head up display £290, Advanced Park Assist £595, glass sunroof £705 a Driving Assistance Pack, including lane departure warning & adaptive cruise control £595 & a wireless charger £160. Add in two-tone metallic paint £555, an 8” colour instrument display £415 & IntelliLux LED Matrix headlights £1010 & the basic price of my Grand Sport Tech Line D ecoTEC climbed from a bargain £21,670 to a still good value £26,655. I would add just the driver assistance pack to what is already a very well specced & good value for money car.
Vauxhall has made great strides in recent years & the latest 1.6 diesel engine in the Insignia is a real cracker, if you want economy over performance. The 110 PS unit is set up to perform economically, whilst delivering on customer comfort & usability. There are other engine choices, so if you want some power then there’s several models in the range to choose from, including a 163bhp petrol & a choice of 134bhp or 168bhp diesel’s. My heart still says diesel is best, especially at the pumps, but the choice as they say is yours.
I think that this new Insignia Grand Sport is a great model & would go so far as to say that it’s pressing the Skoda Superb in many areas for practicality & desirability in it’s class. The sector may be shrinking, but the latest Insignia is good enough to compete both in it’s sector & against the swarm of cross-overs.
Hats of to the Hatters of Luton. A well earned 4/5.