Sensible family load-lugger extends the Insignia range
Not everyone buys a car because of its response to throttle-induced oversteer. Many more have more practical reasons for their transport, and the new Insignia estate will provide a sensible solution for everyone from families to some business users. But is being sensible enough?
We’re going for the Goldilocks solution here, taking the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine option, which sits in the middle of the three petrol engines on offer. Since this gives you 163bhp and, in theory, 46.3mpg that should be not too much and not too little.
In a car this size that costs under £20,000 you can’t really expect a premium German level of hushed refinement. But you’ll get it anyway in this Insignia. The engine is smooth, quiet, refined and very civilised, providing enough clout and enough torque to ensure enjoyable progress without any drama intruding into the cabin.
Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer 1.5T 165 Design Nav
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder 4cyls, 1490cc, turbocharged petrol;
Power: 163bhp at 5600rpm;
Torque: 184lb ft at 2000-4100rpm
Gearbox: 6-spd manual;
Kerbweight: 1487kg ;
Top speed: 138mph
CO2/tax band 139g/km
The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and easy in operation, like all the other controls, and you’ll need to use it a bit on faster motorway work, but otherwise you can loll around in a higher gear than you might imagine, and still get decent engine response.
Being temporarily bereft of a full family and their luggage, we didn’t test it, but we’re sure this large estate could swallow it all easily and then progress without any signs of strain. The cabin is certainly spacious although the general look is a touch plain. However, along with the space there’s a lot of kit, including three ISOFIX childseat anchors in the rear row, and that’s impressive.
There’s also a 560-litre boot, which is very good if not the best in class, and really you’ll be very happy with the space, equipment and practicality on offer.
Handling and ride are based on fairly conventional systems and are none the worse for it. You get a controlled, compliant package that means you can cover long distances without feeling tired or with any sense that the car is doing anything other than helping you out. This isn’t a total handling nut, but then who would buy it expecting that? For what it’s intended, it does a seriously good job.
There’s a claimed fuel consumption of 46.3mpg and we’ve learned to take these official figures with a large dose of sodium chloride. But in this case the trip computer showed up to 45mpg on mixed driving, so that’s another reason this should be on your list, giving a very viable alternative to diesel power.
We even think the new design makes the Insignia Sport Tourer look pretty sharp. Along with that you get a very decent cabin, well-equipped, with enough space for all you’ll need. The engine is refined and performs well, while handling and ride are exactly what you’d want from a car like this, although not better than that. To get all this and still get change from £20,000 is pretty remarkable.