Review

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback

Price  £16,534 - £28,359

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 driving fun."

The Vauxhall Insignia won the European Car of the Year award in 2009, and Vauxhall targets the car at premium saloons such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. In truth, though, the Insignia and its predecessor the Vectra have 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 interior and decent range of engines. Buyers can have anything from a small 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine all the way up to the 2.8-litre, 321bhp V6 that powers the Vauxhall Insignia VXR Supersports. There's a wide range of diesel engines, too, offering varying mixes of power and fuel 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, which can return up to 76.3mpg and have CO2 emissions low enough for free road tax. The more powerful BiCDTi diesels perform better, allowing for fast and safe overtaking, but they'll 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 one you want. It's very expensive to run, however: you're likely to see economy of 27mpg at best, while road tax will set you back a hefty £485 every year.

Engines, drive & performance

3.3 / 5

Insignia is a great long-distance cruiser

The Vauxhall Insignia can't match the Ford Mondeo for driving thrills, but it's an excellent motorway cruiser. That’s thanks to a quiet interior and steering that takes the edge out of sharp inputs.

The slowest diesels are pretty sluggish, so we'd recommend the 128bhp 2.0-litre CDTi, which can get from 0-62mph 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 0-62mph in just 5.6 seconds on its way to an impressive top speed of 168mph.

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. The sloping roofline, which gives the car a coupe-like profile, means rear 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 have always been good motorway cruisers, and the Insignia lives up to this reputation – its interior remains quiet at speed. Avoid the larger alloy wheels, however – they send more road noise into the cabin and also give a firmer ride over potholes and speed bumps.

Buyers can also choose Vauxhall’s FlexRide suspension system, which 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 can't match the Skoda Superb’s huge interior, but it's still a very spacious car. With the rear seats up, the boot can hold a decent 530 litres of luggage, 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 boot floor is not completely flat.

The hatchback certainly makes for a more practical choice than the saloon. The latter's boot is 30 litres smaller with the rear seats up, but loses a massive 400 litres compared to 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 scored the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests

Vauxhall has a large dealer network across the length and breadth of the UK, so you should never be too far from help if your car needs it.

That’s a good thing because, unfortunately, Vauxhall doesn't have a particularly good record for reliability. The brand 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.

Safety isn't in question, though: the Insignia achieved a 94% adult occupant protection score when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP, as well being awarded the maximum overall score of five stars. All Insignias have six airbags, electronic stability control and a seatbelt reminder buzzer for the front seats.

Price, value for money & options

3 / 5

Even entry-level car is reasonably well equipped

Even the basic Vauxhall Insignia Design has 16-inch alloy wheels, a DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth phone connection, cruise control and electric lumbar and height adjustment for the driver’s seat. At the other end of the range, the Vauxhall Insignia Tech Line model has sat nav as well as automatic light and wipers, while the top-spec VXR adds a bodykit, large alloy wheels, and bright xenon headlights. VXR models will lose their value quicker than the other models, as they cost an awful lot to run.

Vauxhall dealers are renowned for giving large discounts on cars, so it worth haggling and shopping around for the best price on a new Insignia.

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
3 / 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 / 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 / 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

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