Vauxhall Insignia (2008 – 2017) Review

Vauxhall Insignia (2008 – 2017) At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The Vauxhall Insignia is a car that’s easy to overlook. The name conjures up visions of mediocrity and dullness, which are labels it will struggle to shake off.

+Superb ride comfort, excellent efficiency from the diesel engines, practical and spacious.

-Rear seats are not all that not comfortable for adults, lacklustre image, forgettable styling.

Insurance Groups are between 15–38
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

The Vauxhall Insignia’s biggest problem is its ubiquity. Because it’s so common, it’s often dismissed as just another volume family car, with many buyers preferring to spend more on, say, a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4. Today, family car buyers are turning to crossovers and SUVs in their droves, leaving the Vauxhall Insignia to spiral into the abyss, unwanted by the masses. Their loss is your gain, because this generation of Insignia was a credible alternative to its German rivals, offering a terrific blend of price, equipment, comfort and practicality. We’re not going to pretend that it’s exciting – unless you buy the VXR version – but the Insignia impresses in other ways.

Do you dream of owning a Vauxhall Insignia? It’s unlikely, but the fact that you’re here suggests you’ve got a passing interest in owning one. If so, congratulations for making a fine choice, because the Vauxhall Insignia is one of the most underrated cars of the modern era.

One of its biggest problems is the fact that it sold in such large numbers. There was a time when the Vauxhall Insignia was seemingly everywhere, particularly on the motorways of Britain, as it cemented its position as the car for overworked and underpaid sales reps.

Most Insignia drivers probably fancied a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, so staring at a Vauxhall badge on the steering wheel didn’t do much to lift their mood.

Note the use of ‘drivers’ rather than ‘owners’. As a favourite in fleet circles, most of the used examples you’ll look at will have a previous life as a company car. This is no reason to disregard them, because a stress-free life on a motorway is kind on the running gear, plus the terms of the contract mean that servicing will have been carried out on time.

Anyone with experience of a Vauxhall Insignia will almost certainly praise its ride comfort. This was a car designed for the motorways of Europe, so the seats are supremely comfortable and the suspension is as supple as a rival with a premium price tag. You don’t buy an Insignia looking for excitement (unless you’re looking at a VXR model), but you’ll grow to love its focus on ride quality.

You’ll also appreciate the fuel economy. Predictably, most cars left the factory with a diesel engine, with the 2.0-litre CDTi a particular favourite amongst company car drivers.

Although it was available with a range of outputs, we’d favour the smoother, quieter and even more efficient 1.6.-litre CDTi. Avoid the 1.8-litre non-turbocharged petrol engine, but the 1.4-litre turbo is worth a look for its blend of punchy performance and economy. 

For something different, consider the bonkers Insignia VXR, with its 2.8-litre V6 turbocharged engine producing a wild 325PS. This is enough for 0-60mph in just six seconds, with an adaptive four-wheel-drive system to keep you on the straight and narrow.

The Insignia was available with a bewildering array of trim levels, so making your way through the classified adverts can be a daunting experience.

We’d favour an Insignia built after the 2013 facelift, not least because these cars look better and have an improved cabin. Even the entry-level Design trim features a long list of standard equipment, but the flagship Elite model is worth considering on the used market.

If you can live with the drab image, you’ll enjoy one of the best value used cars of 2020. Buy one for its blend of comfort, efficiency and equipment.

Ask Honest John

Water is leaking through a windscreen replacement - is the dealer liable for selling me a faulty car?
"I have a 2012 Vauxhall Insignia. I noticed dampness in the drivers footwell so I took it to a Vauxhall dealership under warranty. After a long investigation, they came to the conclusion that it was an aftermarket windscreen leaking. This is not covered under warranty and I was charged for investigation work. I tried to explain that the car was sold to me by them with the replacement windscreen. Vauxhall says there is nothing they can do and I will have to pay for replacement or a re-seal. Is there anything I can do to say they are liable? I have owned the car now for two years."
I doubt that the dealer who sold you the car can be held liable after two years has passed since the sale. You could attempt to invoke Clegg v Olle Andersson (trading as Nordic Marine), House of Lords, 2003, on the basis that the car was sold to you in a fundamentally faulty state: it was sold to you with the windscreen fitted incorrectly. In that case it would be you versus the dealer who sold you the car in Small Claims in the County Court. See: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights/
Answered by Honest John
I can hear water in the sills of my car - how do I drain it?
"I have a 2011 Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi SRi and can hear water movement apparently coming from within the nearside sills? Is this possible, why is it there and how do I resolve this issue? Are there any water drainage points?"
It will be in the door bottoms. The protective wax inside is probably blocking the drain holes. Poke them out with a wooden kebab stick (wooden so you don't damage the paint and promote rust.)
Answered by Honest John
I bought a replacement engine but it's faulty. What are my rights?
"My Vauxhall Insignia overheated and the garage says the head gasket has gone. They did the job then said it was now the bottom block and needed an engine. I bought an engine online and they delivered it to the garage. Now the garage are saying there us a faulty valve. The engine supplier wants £150 to get the car to them so they can check if the engine was at fault or the fitter has damaged it. What are my rights? "
You broke the chain of liability by buying the engine from one supplier and having another supplier fit it. So ostensibly it is "reasonable" for the engine supplier to ask for the return of the engine so he can check it. Your problem is that there are more crooks in the replacement engine business than there are in prison, so the engine supplier might be honest or might be a villain, but you have no alternative other than to comply with his request.
Answered by Honest John
Could you advise on a car for commuting to London?
"I currently drive a 2011 Renault Megane but, due to a promotion, now drive into central London daily. The running costs of the Megane and the low mpg make it unrealistic to keep, only 70 mile round trip but mix of motorway and heavy traffic, I don't want to spend more than about £10,000. I want something with a good mpg but also nice interior and enjoyable to drive. I'm leaning towards a 118d, a 320d or a Vauxhall Insignia 2.0d Sri, thoughts on these or a better suggestion?"
Diesels could get banned from central London soon. N47 BMW diesel engines have a reputation for eventually chewing up their timing belt tensioners with disastrous results. You're probably better off with a Prius or an Auris HSD, or a 308 1.2 PureTech 130.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Vauxhall Insignia (2008 – 2017) cost?

Buy new from £21,328 (list price from £22,860)
Contract hire from £311.03 per month