Vauxhall Insignia

The Essentials

  • Price from £18,040
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 65.7mpg
  • What is it? A desirable family car packed with high-tech gadgets. Shame the Insignia isn't better to drive.

Great

  • Interior feels well built and is classy to look at
  • Ride will be comfy on the motorway
  • Even the cheapest models are well equipped

Gripes

  • Engine noise intrudes into cabin
  • Rear passenger space is limited
  • Driving it won't be fun
  • Drive

    Dull steering lets it down, but still a very stable car

  • Inside

    Stylish and comfortable for every driver

  • Safety

    High-tech optional safety gadgets make the Insignia exceptional, but even as standard it goes beyond the basics

  • Reliability

    Vauxhall's reliability record isn't great

  • Space

    Fine for those in the front, but cramped in the back

  • Standard and extras

    Well equipped as standard and with plenty of fun and functional options to choose from

  • What's it like to drive?

    Dynamically, the Insignia can't cut it with rivals such as the Ford Mondeo. The steering and suspension are too wishy-washy and the ride is pattery over poor road surfaces. The Insignia is much better suited to motorway cruising, where it feels stable and rides smoothly.
    There's a huge range of engines to pick from, covering all the important bases. The 128- and 158bhp diesels are probably your best bets, though, thanks to their combination of performance and economy. We'd steer clear of the pricey BiTurbo versions.
    Whichever version you choose, have your earplugs at the ready. Road noise on rough surfaces is the biggest bugbear, but there's also wind noise along the flanks at motorway speeds. The diesels aren't as smooth or silent as their Ford and Volkswagen counterparts, either.

  • What's it like inside?

    The Insignia isn't as roomy as it appears from the outside. The sweeping roofline eats into rear headroom, and although the boot is reasonably big, a Ford Mondeo has even more space for luggage.
    The Insignia's dashboard looks stylish, but the layout isn't all that instinctive. Most of the car's functions are controlled by scrolling through menus on a digital display, but the centre console is still covered with buttons. There's a huge range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help you get comfortable, but visibility isn't great through the steeply angled rear screen.
    There are nine trims to choose from. Exclusiv models have enough kit for most buyers, with front electric windows, cruise control and climate control, while SRi spec adds electric rear windows, alloy wheels and sports suspension.

  • How reliable is it?

    Possibly. The Insignia was rated only average for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey. The Ford Mondeo and the VW Passat both scored higher marks.
    All versions have six airbags and stability control as standard, along with anti-whiplash front head restraints. That safety kit helped the Insignia achieve 94% for adult safety and 79% for child protection when it tested by Euro NCAP; better marks than the VW Passat managed.

  • Should I buy one?

    Some versions of the Insignia are reasonably priced, but others (such as the BiTurbo diesel) are way too expensive. The Ecoflex diesels models attract the lowest company car tax rates due to their low CO2 emissions, but no Insignia is as efficient the best Ford Mondeo or VW Passat.
    As a private buyer, you'll have to suffer heavy depreciation whichever version you choose, but you will get the reassurance of a lifetime (limited to 100,000 miles and one owner) warranty.