The Vauxhall Insignia has won plenty of awards since its launch and Vauxhall targets this model 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 or Citroen C5 and Honda Accord.
Vauxhall has plenty of experience of building big family hatchbacks, and it shows in the Insignia'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 Supersport. There's a wide range of diesel engines, too, offering varying mixes of power and fuel economy.
The Insignia received a mid-life facelift in 2013, bringing improvements in styling, quality and driver engagement. Vauxhall also gave it a more appealing look and a refreshed cabin, reducing the number of buttons on the centre console. Now all Insignias get a touchscreen to navigate through the major functions. Should you choose a model equipped with sat nav, you also get a touchpad that's used to work through the menus and write characters.
One of the most appealing options that Vauxhall offers on the Insignia is the eight-inch TFT instrument cluster for around £400. This replaces the traditional analogue dials with a large screen that can show a range of information, from a speedometer and rev counter to your current fuel economy and driving efficiency. This is a nice touch and looks very modern thanks to its clear, colourful display.
It's also worth pointing out that the least powerful diesel engine – the 118bhp 2.0-litre CDTi – isn’t the best option in the range, even though Vauxhall expects that most Insignia buyers will choose it. Our recommendation is the marginally punchier 138bhp version, since it's just as efficient, isn’t that much more expensive to buy outright and accelerates strongly from low revs.