New Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer estate speaks volumes
Looking for an elegant estate with loads of class and space? How about Vauxhall's new Insignia Sports Tourer. Motoring editor Andy Russell was surprised too.
Sweltering in the sun-baked, silver shell of the retired Jumbo jet, I was hoping Vauxhall had a very good reason for choosing it to launch its all-new Insignia Sports Tourer.
Vauxhall certainly sees its bigger, upmarket estate taking off, aiming to more than double its Insignia sales share to at least 20%, but also says the Jumbo and Insignia are both capacious, good on long journeys and a memorable design people engage with.
I just hoped it had a big air-con chiller too.
Looks and image
It’s a handsome car with Vauxhall rising to the challenge of keeping the Insignia character but increasing the volume. Size-wise, the larger new model is on a par with the likes of the Audi A6 but is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor.
Vauxhall has cleverly disguised the size of this longer estate with a chrome arc flowing over the side windows and down the C-pillar into the light cluster to make it look lower, sportier and sleeker.
Space and comfort
It certainly feels bigger inside with the extended wheelbase creating vast legroom in the back so six-footers can stretch out comfortably, but not at the expense of load space.
The boot has grown 20 litres to 560 litres with the 60/40, or optional 40/20/40, split rear seat backs up – 135 to 1,665 litres with them folded flat, simply by pressing a button in the boot. The load compartment is longer at 2,005mm but the boot shallower than some rivals.
The boot has been designed to meet unusual, if rather specific, needs. Unlike the old estate, it can now take long carpet samples without curling up the ends and the tailgate will actually shut with a police dog cage inside.
The new fascia looks classy and is user-friendly – in fact Vauxhall claims the quality of the cabin is on a par with more premium models.
Under the bonnet
There’s a move towards petrol – catered for with new 140 and 165PS 1.5-litre and 260PS 2.0-litre turbo units, the latter with 4x4 and a new eight-speed automatic gearbox – but in this sector 90% of Insignias will be turbo diesels with 110 and 136PS 1.6-litre and 170PS and 210PS 2.0-litre engines, the latter BiTurbo 4x4 auto.
The 136PS will be the big seller, strong and flexible, refined at revs, and frugal.
Ride and handling
The new Insignia is more engaging to drive with good body control and steering feel.
The ride is impressively supple provided you don’t go for big wheels – they look good filling out the arches but the ride is sensitive and noisier on poor roads.
The new Insignia Sports Tourer is a very elegant estate that’s bigger, more practical and priced more realistically and now better placed to attract private buyers as well as fleets.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer SRi Nav 1.6 Turbo D £23,240 (range from £18,685)
Engine: 1,598cc, 136PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel with six-speed manual transmission
Performance: 0-60mph 9.9 seconds; top speed 131mph
MPG: Urban 53.3; extra urban 68.9; combined 62.8
CO2 emissions: 119g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 25%
Insurance group: 16E (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,986mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,093mm; H 1,514mm