Vauxhall Insignia Review 2022

Vauxhall Insignia At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
New more efficient engines and the lightest of restyles aren’t enough to stop the Vauxhall Insignia feeling like a dinosaur on the edge of extinction, but at least you can make huge savings on brand new cars.

+Represents good value for money. Big boot and generous amount of rear legroom. Diesels are very economical.

-Interior feels a generation out of date and quality is far from the best. Neither of the petrol engines are very economical.

Insurance Groups are between 18–22
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

The winds of change brought new engines and a botoxed face to the Vauxhall Insignia in 2021 when, mercifully, the old model’s ‘Grand Sport’ moniker was also dropped (a wise decision on a car that is neither grand nor sporty). Unfortunately, more was needed to make the aging Vauxhall feel competitive, although huge discounts go some way to levelling the playingfield. 

The Vauxhall Insignia represents the end of an era for Vauxhall in more ways than one. It’s built on one of the firm's two remaining GM platforms (the Astra gets the other) and it competes in a class that’s slowly being wiped out by SUVs.

Unfortunately, the 2021 update is unlikely to save it. It brought freshened up styling in the form of a revised chrome grille and barbed LED headlights, with ninja-star style fog lights sitting below them. You also get a new range of petrol and diesel engines that offer efficiency savings of up to 18%, while the (sort of) sporty GSi reappears after being killed off in 2018.

From inside, the Insignia does not feel like a car that has just been updated. It has a button-heavy design and interior quality that is poor next to a Skoda Superb or Volkswagen Passat, let alone that BMW 3 Series your neighbour just got a cracking finance deal on.

The Vauxhall does come with comparable levels of equipment. As standard, you get front and rear parking sensors, climate control, auto lights and wipers, auto-dipping headlights, plus a seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

You also get plenty of space. It's not far off five metres long so there’s loads of room for tall adults in the front and acres of space in the back, a huge boot rounds off what is a very comfortable way of carrying an older family and their kit. 

It’s not just the space that makes the Insignia a great car to while away the miles in, it’s also very quiet at speed helped by its class-leading 0.25Cd drag coefficient and muted engines.

They include 1.5-litre 122PS and 2.0-litre 174PS diesels, which return fuel economy of up to 60mpg according to tough new WLTP testing, as well as 200 or 230PS 2.0-litre petrols. The latter of which is fitted to the new GSi model. 

Both petrols get a slushy nine-speed automatic gearbox that makes them extremely relaxed at the national limit, while you can swap the diesels’ six-speed manuals for an eight-speed automatic. 

Unfortunately, even the sporty GSi – which comes with switchable four-wheel drive  – won’t leave a huge grin on your face. On tighter country roads it feels like a big car, but it’s perfectly at home on sweeping A-roads and, like the rest of the range, feels at its best pointed up a motorway. 

The Vauxhall also feels cumbersome in town and, while the all-round parking sensors are handy, we’d be tempted to add the £289 optional rearview camera. Add too many options, though, and the Vauxhall makes less and less sense, something the 2021 update doesn’t change. 

As a fleet machine, bought to power up and down the motorway, the Insignia’s perfect – it’ll do that all day long, happily. It even makes sense as a private buy complete with a hefty discount (2021 cars are already advertised with £5000 off) but as a car you aspire to own, the Vauxhall feels like a relic from another era. One that will soon be no more.

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar's review of the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

Ask Honest John

Could you recommend something safe, reliable and economical for a long commute?
"My son has changed his job and has a new appointment some 60 miles from his home. This could involve him in mainly motorway travel for some months until he gets himself sorted out. He currently has a very nice 1989 Mercedes 190 2.6. This would clearly not be suitable for a 120-mile daily commute, even only for a few months. He has been looking at secondhand MINIs, priced up to £9500. He needs something safe, reliable and economical. Any suggestions?"
I'd be looking for something a bit comfier than a MINI. A soft, diesel car (maybe with an automatic gearbox) would be a good option for that kind of mileage. How about a Vauxhall Insignia? It's not a stylish choice, but it's very comfortable, cheap to run and represents excellent value for money (they're popular with fleet drivers for a reason!). A Volkswagen Golf would be a slightly more fashionable option, or a more spacious Skoda Octavia/Superb.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What is the best automatic diesel car for taxi use?
"What is the best automatic diesel car for taxi use please?"
Skoda Superb. Great value for money, practical and cheap to run. Also consider a Vauxhall Insignia or, if you'd prefer something a bit smaller, a Honda Civic.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you permanently turn off start/stop on a car?
"I am considering buying a Vauxhall Insignia 1.4T but it has start/stop which puts me off. Is there a way to permanently turn off the function?"
Probably not legally because the car depends on it for its emissions rating. But there will be a button to switch it off at the start of every journey. Actually, in this hot weather with a turbo engine it's better to leave the stop/start switched on and if the engine does not automatically shut off when you stop the car, leave it idling for a couple of minutes because the stop/start will have been signalled by a sensor that the turbo is too hot to switch off directly and needs the oil flow to continue.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Vauxhall Insignia cost?