Review: Vauxhall Insignia (2017)
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Represents very good value for money. Big boot and generous amount of rear legroom. Diesels are very economical while the 1.5 Turbo petrol is very good.
Interior material quality isn't great. Pretty dull to drive. 1.6-litre 200PS petrol is very thirsty and not particularly quick.
Vauxhall Insignia (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £25,405, brokers can source from £17,658
- Contract hire deals from £233.45 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 18–22
- On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure
The Vauxhall Insignia is a favourite with company car drivers - but it also offers a great deal to private buyers looking for something that isn't a crossover SUV, offers excellent value for money and has lots of interior space.
Compared to similar family cars - such as the Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo - it's very competitively priced. The entry-level model is around £20,000 and that gets you a very comfortable, spacious and reasonably well-equipped car.
In fact even at that money you're getting air conditioning, cruise control, a seven-inch colour touchscreen, electric mirrors, DAB radio, Bluetooth and features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The other thing the Insignia Grand Sport majors in is space. It's not far off five metres long and bigger than the aforementioned Superb. This means it has acres of space in the back, a huge boot and is extremely comfortable too. If you're looking for a great value car to sit on the motorway with minimal fuss, this is it.
The entry-level 1.5-litre Turbo engine is a good one too - it has enough get up and go for everyday driving and is reasonably economical. There is a 200PS 1.6-litre petrol, but it's rather thirsty and not as quick as you'd expect.
Along with turbocharged petrols, there are of course diesel engines, with the 1.6 CDTi being a popular choice. Understandably so - it'll return up to 57.6mpg under real-world economy tests.
No matter which engine you choose, it's not particularly engaging to drive, but it's an easy car to get on with thanks to excellent seats and a simple cabin layout. It might not feel as premium as the Skoda Superb or Mazda 6, but it still represents a lot of family car for the money.
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Vauxhall Insignia (2017): What's It Like Inside?
The cabin of the Insignia Grand Sport is a big step forward from the previous Insignia. The design, layout and quality are all much improved.
That said, it's still not up to the standard of some of the competition. It doesn't feel as solid or as durable as a Skoda Superb with some of the trim revealed as flimsy if you start prodding around. For all Vauxhall's talk of 'premium feel', the finish is far from the class best.
That said, it gets the basics right with a good driving position, simple to read instrument dials and clearly labelled buttons and switches. Visibility isn't great out of the back though and you don't get parking sensors as standard, they only come with the SRi and above - otherwise they're a £460 option.
The standard touchscreen infotainment system is simple enough to use - although it's awkwardly positioned a little too far away for comfortable inputs from the driver, and weirdly directed towards the sky as if little thought has been put into its location. It works well with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though, meaning you can use your phone for functions such as navigation and music.
What the Insignia is good at is space. The fact it is more than 4.8 metres long helps - as does the long wheelbase. And it means there's plenty of space for those sat in the back. It's not up to Superb standards, but it's not far short and is more generous than a Mazda 6 or Toyota Avensis.
The boot is big too and as this is a hatchback, there's a wide opening so getting in bulky folded pushchairs (like the classic McLaren) is no problem. Only the odd design of the wheelarches spoils it - making the load area considerably narrower than it could be.
But with 490 litres of carrying space, it's nonetheless usefully large - although a Ford Mondeo still has more room. There's also an optional extra called FlexOrganizer which adds side rails, dividing nets and various fasteners to keep things safe in the boot.
As usual with most modern cars, there's no spare wheel. You'll have to pay an extra £110 for a steel emergency spare in place of the standard tyre inflation kit - but at least it's available as an option.
There are plenty of features we do like. Such as the two USB ports for passengers in the back (on SRi models and above) which are really handy if you have kids who need to charge their iPads or phones on a long journey. There are also air vents for those in the back, situated in the back of the centre console.
The big central transmission tunnel makes it a squeeze for three in back but there are three Isofix mounting points across the back seats so it's ideal if you've got a growing family.
Another big plus for the Insignia Grand Sport are the ergonomic seats. They're incredibly comfortable and supportive, something you really appreciate after a long stint behind the wheel. They may not look anything special, but they clearly work. Other nice touches include a heated windscreen element, which saves you a lot of time on frosty winter mornings.
Standard equipment (from mid-2020):
SE Nav features Multimedia Navi infotainment system, Fully integrated sat nav system, Seven-inch colour touchscreen, AM/FM/DAB digital radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, Bluetooth mobile phone portal, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Twin front USB sockets and aux in, Seven speakers (five front, two rear), Comfort front seats (AGR-approved), Dual zone electronic climate control, Multi-function trip computer, Cruise control with intelligent speed limiter, Front and rear parking sensors, Leather-covered steering wheel, Front centre armrest, Steering wheel audio/phone/cruise controls, Steering column adjustable for reach/rake, LED headlights and tail lights, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch silver, five twin-spoke alloy wheels, Electrically operated front/rear windows, Electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, 60/40 split-folding rear seat back, Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, Forward collision alert, Following distance indicator, Lane departure warning with lane assist, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Six airbags, Hill start assist, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, outer rear seats, Tyre pressure monitoring system, Remote control central locking, Security alarm system, Rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, Auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Automatic lighting control with tunnel detection, High beam assist, Front fog lights, Traffic sign recognition, 3.5-inch monochrome information display.
SRi Nav adds Ergonomic active driver’s seat (AGR-approved), Illuminated vanity mirrors, LED ambient lighting, Rear spoiler, Gloss black lower side window trim, Chrome-effect upper window trim, Storage pockets on front seat backs.
SRi VX-Line Nav features Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment system, 8-inch colour touchscreen, On-board voice control, Premium Bose audio system with external noise reduction package, IntelliLux LED Pixel headlights with anti-glare high beam, Perforated leather seat facings, Dark-tinted rear windows, 20-inch technical grey gloss, multi-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels, Keyless entry and start, Twin rear USB sockets, FlexFold 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat back with one-touch release, Wireless charger, Sports-style front and rear bumpers, Jet black headlining, Alloy sports pedals, VX-Line heated flat bottomed leather steering wheel, 8-inch digital colour information display cluster, Shark fin aerial, Ergonomic active heated and ventilated front seats (AGR-approved), Driver’s seat with massage functionality, Electrically adjustable/heated and foldable door mirrors with puddle light, FlexRide adaptive chassis.
Ultimate Nav builds on the SE Nav with Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment system, 8-inch colour touchscreen, On-board voice control, IntelliLux LED Pixel headlights with anti-glare high beam, Heated front and outer rear seats, Illuminated vanity mirrors, LED ambient lighting, Gloss black lower side window trim, Chrome-effect upper window trim, Door sill covers, FlexFold 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat back with one-touch release, 18-inch bi-colour high gloss black, multi-spoke diamond-cut alloy wheels, Keyless entry and start, Dark-tinted rear windows, Jet black headlining, Alloy sports pedals, Heated flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, 8-inch digital colour information display cluster, Shark fin aerial, Ergonomic active driver’s seat (AGR-approved), Heated windscreen, Driver’s seat massage functions, Wireless charger, Twin rear USB sockets, FlexRide adaptive chassis.
GSi adds Premium ergonomic active front seats (AGR-approved), Heated ventilated and massage functionality front seats, 20-inch bi-colour technical grey, multi-spoke diamond-cut alloy wheels, Four-wheel drive sports chassis, Premium floor mats, Red brake calipers, GS-Line Exterior Styling Pack, Sports-style front and rear bumpers, Side sills, Dual visible stainless steel exhaust tailpipes, Perforated leather seat facings, Two additional rear side airbags, Electrically adjustable/heated/foldable door mirrors with puddle light and anti-dazzle driver mirror, Paddle shift, GSi rear spoiler.
Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Insignia (2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Vauxhall Insignia (2017) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.5T 140 Ecotec to 2.0 Turbo 260 4x4
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 24–65 mpg
The Insignia is an easy and relaxing car to drive, so while there's not much in the way of driver enjoyment, it's nonetheless a very comfortable car to live with day to day. The ride is perhaps its best quality. Go for a lower spec model on smaller wheels and it glides along wonderfully smoothly, soaking up imperfections in the road well.
Even with bigger alloy wheels fitted it's still comfortable but there are some criticisms. The noise for one. There's noticeable road and tyre noise in the Insignia and the suspension tends to be loud over potholes.
On the plus side, the handling is neat enough for everyday driving, although push the Insignia into a bend too fast and you'll soon have the tyres protesting. But body roll is kept reasonably well in check despite the steering having very little natural feel. The Insignia is much more at home pounding motorways and dual-carriageways, where it settles into a relaxed cruise.
The six-speed manual gearbox has a nice action to it, with easy yet slick changes while there's now a new eight-speed automatic which delivers smooth shifts.
The diesel engines are by far the most popular, favoured by company car drivers. The 1.6 CDTi was first seen in the Astra - when it was dubbed the 'whisper diesel' - and it works just as well in the bigger Insignia.
There's a lower powered 110PS version but the 136PS is the better of the two as you'd expect. It has stronger performance plus the gearbox doesn't need to be worked as hard to when you want to overtake. But it's the economy that shines through with an official 54.3mpg under WLTP fuel economy tests for the more powerful version and up to 57.6mpg for the 110PS.
A more powerful 2.0-litre diesel is also available with 170 or 210PS and up to 480Nm of torque. It's an ideal choice if you're towing and gives the Insignia swift performance too.
But if you're not doing huge miles, it's certainly worth considering a petrol Insignia. Vauxhall's 1.5-litre Turbo may seem too small for a car this size but it actually works well. There's an entry-level 140PS version which is adequate along with a 165PS model.
The four-cylinder turbocharged engine is smooth, quiet and pleasant to drive, helped by a nice positive gear change action. It's responsive enough too, so although you do need to work it hard, it will zip along if you need to overtake slower traffic.
From mid-2018, the Insignia is offered with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 200PS. It's eager enough, although isn't as quick as its power suggests - and we think most buyers will be better catered for with the diesel engines or lower-powered petrols. It's just not as effortlessly quick as you might expect, yet fuel economy is hit hard. We struggled to get much more than 30.0mpg during our time with the car and this is reflected in Real MPG (officially it'll return up to 39.8mpg).
|1.5 Turbo 165||47 mpg||8.4 s||136 g/km|
|1.5 Turbo 165 Automatic||46 mpg||8.4 s||138 g/km|
|1.5T 140 Ecotec||48 mpg||9.3 s||133 g/km|
|1.5T 165||47 mpg||8.4 s||136 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo 200||45 mpg||7.2 s||146 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo 200 Automatic||-||-||153 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo D 110||64 mpg||10.9 s||105 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo D 136||61–64 mpg||9.9–10.9 s||105–114 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo D 136 Automatic||54 mpg||10.2 s||134 g/km|
|2.0 Turbo 260 4x4||33 mpg||6.9 s||197 g/km|
|2.0 Turbo D||54 mpg||8.2 s||136 g/km|
|2.0 Turbo D 170||53 mpg||8.2 s||136 g/km|
|2.0 Turbo D 170 Automatic||51 mpg||8.4 s||141 g/km|
|2.0 Turbo D Automatic||40–51 mpg||7.4 s||145–186 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Insignia (2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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