Review

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback

Price  £16,479 - £31,289

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Attractive styling
  • Decent choice of engines
  • Comfortable driving position
Cons
  • Entry-level cars sparsely equipped
  • Rear headroom is tight
  • Poor resale values

At a glance

"The Vauxhall Insignia is styled to look more like a coupe than a family car, but it can’t match the Ford Mondeo for driver fun."

When the Vauxhall Insignia won European Car of the Year in 2009, Vauxhall targeted the new car at premium saloons such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. In truth, though, the car has always been more of a match for large family cars such as the Ford Mondeo, Citroen C5, and Honda Accord.

Vauxhall has plenty of experience building big family hatchbacks, and it shows in the car's pretty, coupe-like looks, practical use of interior space, and decent range of engines. That means customers can choose from a small 1.4-litre turbocharged engine all the way up to a 2.8-litre petrol that delivers 321bhp in the Vauxhall Insignia VXR Supersports. There's a wide range of diesel engines too, with varying levels of power and economy.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.3 / 5

Diesel engines are cheap to run but not best in class

The most economical Vauxhall Insignia models are the ecoFLEX diesels that can return up to 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions that equate to exemption from annual road. Opt for one of the more powerful BiCDTi diesels and you’ll get a car that has much more performance – allowing for quick overtakes – but can still return over 60mpg. Road tax, however, will cost £110 a year.

If it's ultimate performance you’re after then the Vauxhall Insignia VXR Supersports is the car for you – but it's also expensive to run. At best, you’ll get economy of 27mpg, while road tax will set you back a pricey £485 a year.

All new Vauxhalls now get a warranty that covers the first owner for an unlimited amount of time up to maximum of 100,000 miles.

Interior & comfort

3.5 / 5

Headroom in the back feels tight

The Insignia pays a heavy price inside for its good looks on the outside. Sit on the back seats and the sloping roofline, which gives the car a coupe-like profile, means headroom is tight, although legroom is still pretty decent. The Insignia also has plenty of adjustment for the driver's seat, so getting comfy is easy, and the gearshift is easy to operate.

Big Vauxhalls are adept at motorway cruising and the Insignia lives up to this reputation, thanks to an interior that remains quiet at speed. We would avoid going for cars with large alloy wheels, however, because they allow more road noise inside the cabin and the car's suspension also feels firmer.

Buyers can also opt for Vauxhall's FlexRide suspension that allows you to tailor the car's set up to your driving style.

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

Boot is big and the interior is practical

The Vauxhall Insignia might not be able to match the Skoda Superb's huge interior, but it is still quite a spacious car. With the rear seats up, boot space is a decent 530 litres, which expands to 1,470 litres with the back seats down. The Insignia's large boot opening also means that loading large items is straightforward, although the load space is not completely flat.

The hatchback certainly makes for a more practical choice than the saloon. The latter is 30 litres smaller with the rear seats up, but loses a massive 400 litres against the hatchback, with them down. All Insignias have useful storage spaces – for everything from sunglasses to maps – dotted around the car's interior.

Reliability & safety

3.2 / 5

The Insignia gets a leading five-star Euro NCAP test result

Vauxhall has a large dealer network that is spread out across the length and breadth of the UK, so you should never be too far from help should your car need it.

That's a good thing because, unfortunately, Vauxhall hasn’t got a particularly good record for reliability and the firm finished 26th out of 32 manufactures in our 2013 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. The Insignia, meanwhile, came 77th out of 150 cars, for reliability, and 98th overall.

At least the Insignia is very safe, with the car achieving 94 per cent for adult protection when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP, as well as the full five stars overall. All Insignias get six airbags, electronic stability control, and a seatbelt reminder buzzer for the front seats.

Engines, drive & performance

3.3 / 5

Insignia is a great long-distance cruiser

As far as driving fun goes, the Vauxhall Insignia cannot match the Ford Mondeo for thrills – but as a motorway cruiser, it is excellent. That's thanks to the quiet interior and steering that takes the edge out of sharp inputs.

The slowest diesels are really rather sluggish so we would recommend going for the 128bhp 2.0-litre CDTi, which can get from 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds and has enough power in reserve for quick overtaking, while still being economical. The top-of-the-range Vauxhall Insignia VXR Supersport model definitely isn’t economical, but it can get from 0-60mph in just 5.6 seconds on its way to an impressive top speed of 168mph.

Price, value for money & options

3.0 / 5

Entry-level cars come poorly equipped

Even the basic Vauxhall Insignia Design comes with excellent levels of equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels, a digital radio, Bluetooth phone connection, cruise control, as well as electric lumbar and height adjustment for the driver's seat. At the other end of the range, the Vauxhall Insignia TECH LINE model gets standard sat-nav as well as automatic wipers and lights, while top-spec VXR models add things like a bodykit, big alloy wheels, and xenon headlights. VXR models will lose their value quicker than any other, though, due to the fact they cost an awful lot to run.

Vauxhall dealers are renowned for giving large discounts on their cars, so remember there’ll be a degree of flexibility in the price if you fancy a haggle.

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
  • 3.0 / 5

    This is the most desirable Vauxhall for ages. It comes with lots of high-tech toys and smart coupé-like styling, all backed up by a lifetime warranty.

  • 4.0 / 5

    With its flowing lines and eye-catching details, the Insignia is a huge styling step forward over the Vectra it replaces. Both the hatchback and saloon share the same low-slung roofline, while Sports Tourer adds a practical estate rear end.

  • 3.5 / 5

    As you'd expect, it inherits many of the Vectra's strengths. It's comfortable, a great motorway cruiser and is good value for money (especially used). However the Insignia is far more sophisticated than the car it replaces so not only is the styling more refined, the interior fit-and-finish is much better than before and there's a vastly improved satellite navigation system.

  • 13.0 / 20

    The Vectra is dead, long live the Insignia. Vauxhall's back on form with this tech-laden, swoopy Mondeo rival – in fact, it's so good that we made it our Exec Car of the Year.

Last updated 
17 Apr 2014

Disqus - noscript

The Insignia is the best car I've ever driven in 40+ years of driving everything from early Fords, (Anglia, Consul, Zephyr) to Escort, Triumph (Vitesse) Rovers, and quite a few Japanese (Nissan/Datsun) cars.

Quite an accolade, as I used to drive for a living, and the vehicle I was driving became a second home.

I have a felling that your grades are unfair.. in video and text you are only prassing it in every aspect and still you gave it only 3.5? (Especially in reliability, when it's confirmed it's the most reliable car in Germany and most of Europe (I am talking about Opel.. not Vauxhall)).. and Drive, only 3.2!? How?

just a suggestion you can buy little £5 usb bluetooth dongle on ebay it powers through usb and plugs to aux cable works great!

Having driven Ford Mondeos and VW Passats as company cars, I found the Insignia's predecessor the Vectra was more comfortable than the Mondeo and the Passat - especially over long motorway journeys. In the Ford, and to a lesser extent the VW, I had to stop on long journeys as my back became sore and I needed a break. But in the Vectra I could go a whole 300 mile journey in one go in comfort without a break and still arrive at my final destination fresh. I also found the Vectra to be very reliable - I had one for 100,000 miles - not even one fault or repair needed in all that mileage. Don't believe the hyper criticism of Vauxhalls - its all hype.

Sponsored Links

Own this car? Leave your review.