Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer estate (2008-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

Despite being called a Sports Tourer, the Vauxhall Insignia estate isn’t engaging to drive. It’s a very good motorway cruiser, though

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.4 out of 5

The Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer isn’t the most dynamic car in its class to drive – if you’re after thrills behind the wheel of your family estate, then the Mazda6 Tourer is a better bet. However, the Insignia’s steering is sharp and well weighted, the main controls are easy to use and the more powerful engines do give it a decent turn speed, so there’s some fun to be found here.

Where the Vauxhall does claw back some ground is on more open stretches of road. The ride quality is very good (although it deteriorates on cars with larger alloy wheels), there’s a decent amount of noise insulation and the seats are very comfortable and supportive. If there’s one major criticism to be made, it’s that the noisy diesel engines can spoil what is an otherwise very refined interior.

There’s also an Insignia Country Tourer model, reviewed separately, which is essentially an Insignia Sports Tourer with a raised ride height, all-wheel drive and modest off-roading capability.

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer petrol engines

There are four petrol engines to choose from in the Insignia Sports Tourer, with one of those being reserved exclusively for the flagship performance version that will only make up a small percentage of Insignia sales.

Of the three more realistic choices, the 2.0-litre engine is easiest to recommend. Although the 1.4 and 1.6-litre models are cheaper to buy and run, they aren’t as smooth or responsive as the more powerful 2.0-litre. All three petrol engines are fairly quiet, however, which is something that can’t be said for the diesels.

If the 2.0-litre petrol engine isn’t punchy enough for you, then you’ll be happy to know there’s a 321bhp engine available in the flagship Insignia Sports Tourer VXR, which we’ve reviewed separately. As you’d expect, running costs are very high for this model, although it’s worth pointing out that no similarly priced estate car is as fast.

Diesel engines

For most buyers, the 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine will be the go-to choice for their Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. Not only is it available in a variety of power outputs, it’s also the most efficient engine on offer – all versions can return over 60mpg, with up to 72mpg being possible from the ultra-frugal 118 and 138bhp engines. There's also the smaller 1.6-litre 'Whisper' diesel engine, which is the most economical. It's not much slower than the 2.0 CDTi units, but it is noisier and has a firmer ride.

Stop-start technology also means these engines also have the lowest CO2 emissions in the range, resulting in low road tax costs. Apart from the non-stop-start 128bhp and 192bhp BiTurbo versions (which cost £110 a year to tax) all CDTi engines cost a more reasonable £20 or £30 a year to keep on the road.

The 168bhp 'Whisper' diesel is the quietest engine in the range but it's also one of the quickest as it sprints the Insignia Sports Tourer from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds and on to 137mph. As the name suggests, the 'Whisper' engine has been redesigned to make key components quieter on the move. This engine is also compliant with the strict Euro 6 emissions policies.

The 192bhp BiTurbo engine is only available with an automatic gearbox.

Most Popular

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
22 Jun 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September
2023 MG 4 - UK front
MG
4 Jul 2022

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Facelifted Volvo XC60 driving - front
Deals
1 Jul 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022