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Vauxhall Insignia review

Vauxhall's new Insignia replaces the Vectra. So read our review to see if it is any better than its dull predecessor

"Makes the Vectra seem like an insurance seminar"

You’d expect a large family car from Vauxhall to be about as desirable as impetigo. But times they are a-changing. And with the credit crunch in full swing the Insignia couldn’t have come at a better time for cash-strapped car buyers.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the traditional family car market has been in free-fall in recent years. That’s because easy-access credit enabled buyers to trade up from their hum-drum mainstream makes into motors with four rings, a blue propeller or even a silver star on the bonnet for a seemingly small increase in their monthly repayments.

Now though, we are all watching every penny. Yet we still have an eye for quality. And this is where the Insignia comes in. It is a good looking car. Fact! Well OK, beauty is subjective, but what isn’t is how the Insignia makes the Vectra seem like an insurance seminar on wheels.

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Inside the theme continues. The Vauxhall’s cabin looks classy and feels well built. I drove it back-to-back with a Mercedes C-Class and have to say the Insignia’s interior felt more upmarket. It was the incredibly well specified Elite Nav model, but was still much cheaper than the Merc.

On the move the Insignia is equally as impressive. It rides superbly and is a brilliant long-distance cruiser. Handling is good too, but the chassis doesn’t feel quite as alive or as enjoyable as the Mondeo’s. The Insignia is probably not quite so practical either. Don’t get me wrong, it’s massive but there’s actually more room in the rear of the slightly shorter Ford.

The Insignia starts at £15,935 for the1.8-litre petrol. I drove the punchy 158bhp 2.0-litre CDTi diesel that provides a good balance of pace and economy and is available from £17,185. At this price you get a car that offers great value for money, yet has the looks and feel to win over badge snobs. Be in no doubt - the Insignia is a damn fine car.

Car Specs - Vauxhall Insignia

Engine:2.0-litre turbodiesel, 158bhp
0-62mph:8.9 seconds
Top speed:135mph
Economy/emissions:48.9mpg/154g/km CO2
Price/On sale £23,535/Now

We rate:
Appealing design
Impressive equipment
Punchy 158bhp diesel

We slate :
Still a repmobile
Badge lacks kudos
A Mondeo is more fun

Rating: Image removed.

by Mat Watson

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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