Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer review
The Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer is a sleek and stylish rival to family estates like the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb
The Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer was introduced in 2007 to replace the ageing Vectra estate. Vauxhall have sacrificed some of the Vectra's spaciousness in favour of style, which means the Insignia ST isn't quite as spacious as the Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb estate but it still seats five adults comfortably. There's a huge range of engines and trim levels to choose from, and every version comes with air-con and USB connectivity. The cabin feels very upmarket but prices are high compared to mainstream rivals and residual values are poor.
Our choice: 2.0CDTi 160PS ecoFLEX Exclusiv
The Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer is sleek and stylish, with a low slung roof and sloping tailgate that makes it one of the best-looking family estates on the market. On the inside, Vauxhall has worked hard to give it an upmarket feel, so build quality is good and there's lots of soft-touch materials. There's a baffling number of trim levels, but every version comes with 17-inch wheels, air-con, electrically-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control and USB connectivity. Elite cars get 18-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, leather trim, heated front seats and a colour display with an in-built sat-nav system. The VXR version adds a sporty bodykit, rear spoiler, Recaro sports seats and VXR badging.
Despite the sporty looks, the Insignia ST isn't the best family estate to drive. The steering is light, the CDTi diesels are quite noisy and there's more wind and road noise than you'd expect. It is comfortable, though, thanks to supportive seats an an adjustable driving position, but the ride is a bit firm on higher-spec cars. There's a large choice of engines to choose from and the option of a four-wheel drive system. Petrols include an entry-level 1.4-litre, a punchy 178bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged unit and a sporty VXR version, which is powered by a 2.8-litre V6 and can go from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. The 2.0-litre diesel is available in three states of tune - 128, 158 and 193bhp - and all have plenty of torque. The 128bhp version with ecoFLEX can go from 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds, while the 158bhp version manages it in 9.9 seconds.
The Vauxhall Insignia has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Standard safety kit includes ESP, ABS and traction control, as well as driver, front passenger, side, curtain and head airbags. Vauxhall finished ahead of BMW and Audi in the 2012 Driver Power survey, in 13th out of 30. The Insignia finished an impressive 21st in the Top 100, too. As you'd expect, it comes with Vauxhall's warranty deal, which lasts the lifetime of the car or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The Insignia ST has a very spacious cabin and a big boot. It still has one of the biggest boots in the family estate class, at 540 litres. With the rear seats folded, this increases to 1,530 litres - which is 200 litres less than the Ford Mondeo estate, and 335 litres less than the Skoda Superb estate. The rear seats are easy to fold down and there's a wide boot opening, to make loading easy. The Insignia ST will easily take five adults and their luggage and, unlike the Insignia saloon and hatchback, there's plenty of headroom for rear passengers thanks to the longer roofline. There’s plenty of cubbies, too, including a lidded compartment between the front seats and a large glovebox.
The ecoFLEX models are the most efficient versions, and thus the best bet for company car buyers. Thanks to a stop-start system, the 2.0-litre diesel engine with 128bhp and the more powerful 158bhp version both return 62.8mpg and 119g/km of CO2. The 1.4-litre petrol manages 50.0mpg and 134g/km, but 1.8-litre will be significantly more expensive to run, at 37.0mpg and 179g/km respectively. The sporty VXR version manages 27.0mpg and 249g/km. The Insignia ST is a bit more expensive to buy than the saloon or hatchback versions, though, and residual values won't be as strong as those for cars like the Skoda Superb.