Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer estate
Price: £18,629 - £32,799
- Sporty for an estate
- Lots of engines and specs
- Big boot with a large opening
- Steering is very light
- Poor used values
- Noisy diesel engines
"The Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is one of the most attractive estates around, yet still offers a big boot and decent interior space."
Vauxhall made some big changes when it replaced the old Vectra estate with the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. While the Vauxhall Vectra was a big, chunky estate car, the Insignia sacrifices some of its practicality for sleek and sporty looks. The sloping bootlid and sharp styling make this one of the most attractive estates around.
Over long distances it's comfortable and the ride is smooth, while the selection of specification levels and engines is vast. That said, the petrol models suffer high fuel consumption and aren’t as cost-effective as the diesels.
If you like the Vauxhall Insignia but want something a bit more rugged – with improved ground clearance and four-wheel drive – you can opt for the Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer, which adds raised suspension and better grip.
MPG, running costs & CO2
With an auto box, the Insignia’s economy really suffers
A pair of 2.0-litre diesel engines are available with 128bhp or 158bhp, and these are the best choice when it comes to running costs and performance. However, compared to the best family estates, Vauxhall's diesel engines fall short on fuel economy. With 47.1mpg and emissions of 159g/km, the 158bhp 2.0 CDTi diesel is comparable to the more powerful (and quieter) 168bhp TDI diesel in the Skoda Superb estate. Add an automatic gearbox, and the Insignia's economy really suffers.
What's more, as a mainstream car, the Insignia won’t hold its value very well come resale time. That forces up leasing prices and monthly finance rates.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable over long distances
The Insignia Sports Tourer is a comfortable car to sit in over long distances, with supportive seats, a comfortable interior and an adjustable driving position.
However, at high speed there's too much wind and tyre noise, and at low speeds the car clatters over potholes and bumpy roads. Ultimately, rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6 are more fun, while the Citroen C5 is more comfortable.
Practicality & boot space
Estate has more rear headroom than saloon and hatch
Although the Vauxhall Insignia estate has a smaller boot than the old Vectra-based car, its load area is still one of the biggest in the class, at 540 litres. However, with the rear seats folded, the space is quite a lot smaller than the Ford Mondeo estate. The Insignia tops out at 1,530 litres, compared to 1,733 for the Ford, and both are dwarfed by the Skoda Superb estate, with its boot increasing from 633 litres to 1,865 litres. But a longer roofline does mean the Sports Tourer has more rear headroom than the Insignia saloon and hatch.
If you want an Insignia with some sort of off-road ability, you could try the Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer, which adds raised suspension and four-wheel drive.
Reliability & safety
Cabin feels solid, and there is advanced traction control
This Vauxhall was released back in 2009 and built using a new chassis and parts. It's too early to comment on long-term reliability, although no major problems have been reported. Impressively, there have been no recalls, either. The cabin feels well built, and there is an advanced traction control system that boosts stability and, in turn, safety.
Engines, drive & performance
The steering is very light
The Vauxhall Insignia ST's sleek styling and sporty driving position flatter to deceive: it's not the best family estate to drive.
The steering is light, so you feel disconnected from the road. The two 2.0 CDTi diesel engines – with 138bhp and 158bhp – are quite noisy, too, although they’re still the best choice for an estate as they have plenty of pulling power and don’t require heavy throttle use, even when the car is fully loaded.
A high-performance VXR Supersport petrol version offers 321bhp and four-wheel drive.
Price, value for money & options
All cars get alloy wheels and air-conditioning
You’ll pay a little more for the Sports Tourer than for an equivalent Vauxhall Insignia saloon or hatchback, but there aren’t as many spec variants to choose from.
Still, there's a wide range, from a basic 1.8-litre petrol in ES spec to a high-performance, high-priced Vauxhall Insignia VXR with a 321bhp 2.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
All cars get alloy wheels and air-conditioning, and prices are about on par with the Ford Mondeo Estate. However, like-for-like the Vauxhall is more expensive than the bigger, higher-quality Skoda Superb estate.
What the others say
"There's a huge range of engines and trim levels to choose from, and every version comes with air-con and USB connectivity. The cabin feels very upmarket but prices are high compared to mainstream rivals and residual values are poor."
"Vauxhall's most stylish estate ever, and backed by a lifetime warranty. It has more rear headroom than in the hatch, and it's supple and secure on the motorway."
"Disappointingly, the latest diesel engines aren't as quiet or refined as those in alternative estates. In June 2010 the diesel engines saw significant improvements to make them quieter and more refined resulting in the cabin being a more relaxed and comfortable place to be when it comes to noise levels."
"There's an element of ride improvement that happens on the Tourer not present in the saloon - and there's acres of space. Noise levels are kept well down and the car doesn't ride badly even on the optional (£475) 19-inch wheels - a sign of decently sorted suspension."
Last updated: 12 Feb 2014