Vauxhall Insignia VXR hatchback (2009-2017)
"The Vauxhall Insignia VXR Supersport is one of the fastest cars you can buy for less than £30,000"
- Four-wheel-drive grip
- Cheap to buy
- Very fast
- Dated interior
- Expensive to run
- Not that much fun to drive
The Vauxhall Insignia VXR was first introduced in 2009 and several major changes have been made since then. Its most recent facelift included a new front grille design, revised headlights and intakes that direct cooling air to the engine. Restyled rear lights with chrome detailing make the car look as well as it performs. Expensive running costs let it down slightly, but you get a generous amount of equipment for the what you pay. Put simply, this is one of the fastest cars you can buy for less than £30,000.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Vauxhall Insignia VXR is fitted with a 2.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine, paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Unsurprisingly, either version is cheap to run. The VXR is a dedicated performance car and its fuel economy figures reflect this
The manual car will return an average of 27mpg and CO2 emissions of 249g/km, while automatic gearbox makes things worse, with fuel economy of 26mpg and CO2 emissions of 259g/km. Either way, you'll be shelling out £475 for road tax every year.
Engines, drive & performance
High-speed driving is a speciality for the Vauxhall Insignia VXR, thanks to its powerful 2.8-litre petrol engine. It has the same hi-tech suspension system as the Vauxhall Astra VXR, designed to prevent the steering from pulling to one side when you accelerate hard. There’s also loads of grip on slippy roads thanks to four-wheel drive, and the VXR feels very stable when cruising on the motorway.
It’s still not the most exciting car to drive, however, because the engine hums rather than roars and the steering is a bit lifeless. The similarly priced rear-wheel-drive BMW M135i hatchback is much more fun on a challenging road.
Interior & comfort
Although the Vauxhall Insignia VXR has been given a refresh, it feels a bit dated inside, with a lot of confusing buttons and pretty drab plastics.
However, it remains a very comfortable car, with lots of technology to make driving easier and more enjoyable. The Recaro sports seats are supportive and can be adjusted in many different ways to find a suitable position. A leather steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, climate and cruise control are all standard, too.
Practicality & boot space
You get a decent 530-litre boot in the Vauxhall Insignia VXR hatchback, so luggage space shouldn't be an issue. The dashboard features an eight-inch touchscreen running Vauxhall's IntelliLink system. Once it's connected to your phone, you can make calls or select music just by swiping or tapping the screen.
The car's intelligent headlights adjust to help you see around corners and dip automatically when they sense a car coming the opposite direction. Other practical gadgets include rain-sensitive windscreen wipers and sensors that warn you if any of the tyres is losing air.
Reliability & safety
The Vauxhall Insignia VXR hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but the standard Vauxhall Insignia was awarded the maximum five-star rating in 2009, and scored 94% for adult occupant protection.
The VXR's safety features include side and curtain airbags for the passengers and the driver, while the four-wheel-drive system gives you plenty of grip on slippery roads. The anti-dazzle rear-view mirror prevents you from being temporarily blinded by full-beam headlights on the car behind you.
Price, value for money & options
The Vauxhall Insignia VXR is almost £10,000 cheaper than its closest rival, the Audi S4. Standard equipment includes a DAB digital radio, climate control, Internet connectivity and either 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels. Plus Apple CarPlay integration is bundled with the car's Navi 900 IntelliLink infotainment system and Vauxhall's OnStar connectivity and service assistant is available for a £79 annual fee (although the first year is free).
Sky-high running costs take some of the sheen off that low list price, but that’s to be expected with a car that packs this much performance. Overall, the Vauxhall Insignia VXR is seriously good value for money if you're looking for a fast yet spacious family car.