While many challengers have or are about to move out of saloons/ hatchbacks and into crossover models in the modestly priced family sector, or executive brands keep pushing up prices but offering less in return, the Vauxhall hatchback stands out as extremely good value and packaging.
The Insignia range today spreads over 17-models in a single hatchback body style, mostly diesel engines producing 122 with 1.5 litres or 174ps from 2.0 litres and a couple of petrol units developing 200ps or 230ps from their 2.0 litre capacities.
They are nearly all front wheel drive but there is an all-wheel-drive version at the top of the range and while most are manual you can order automatic transmission.
It’s a generally smooth and willing engine and proved very economical on test consistently providing over 50mpg between refuelling.
You have to exploit the six-speed manual gearbox to keep the pulling power at its peak or the engine runs out of breath and then it becomes noisier, but the long travel clutch and wide-gate to the box are not ideal in this respect.
The suspension soaks up nearly all bumps without complaint or sending them into the cabin and the seats are very well shaped and have lots of electric adjustment in the front.
Their offset split backrests can be gradually folded down to eventually almost triple luggage space and with a low floor and sensible shape the boot will take large objects with ease.
We have said how well it copes with any surface, although you can hear the suspension and tyres rumbling away.
It also steers and stops with confidence even if it’s a little distant with the driving feedback through the hands.
Those excellent, bright, long-range headlights, sensors and reversing camera along with other warning systems back up the good wash/ wipers and generally clear sightlines, although you have to be careful with over the shoulder blindspots when pulling out.
While its unlikely you’d rush into many corners, just easing off the throttle or steering brings it all back under control very quickly and safely. The Vauxhall Insignia is a car into which you can pack a lot of people, goods and miles and it will not short change you in any way.
That’s a good lesson for life behind the wheel.
|Fast facts||Vauxhall New Insignia Sri VX-Line Nav|
|Price: £29.080||Mechanical: 122ps 3cyl 1496cc turbo-diesel, 6sp manual|
|Max Speed: 127mph||0-62mph: 10.7 sec|
|Combined MPG: 55||Insurance Group: 19E|
|C02 emissions: 124g/km||Bik rating: 28%,£220FY, £155SR|
|Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles||Size: L4.91m, W2.10m, H1.46m|
|Bootspace: 490 – 1450 litres||Kerbweight: 1580kg|
For: Very roomy interior and large bootspace, good seats, excellent economy, smooth powertrain, strong brakes, quality feel to controls and trim
Against: Engine noise when pressed or under load with occupants, long clutch travel and wide gear-gate, little feedback through steering, average warranty.