Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport review
Practical, stylish large family hatch offers plenty of kit for a tempting price
The Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is practical, good to drive and quiet on the move - so it’s a top choice if you’re after a large family car.
However, the market for these cars is shrinking. As more people flock to SUVs and premium cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, it leaves the Insignia with few direct rivals. One is the Skoda Superb, which is a tough competitor and one of our favourite family cars - but the Vauxhall is a close match for interior quality and practicality - two key areas for a family.
Buy at a good price and the Insignia Grand Sport is still a top choice - it doesn’t have the trendy looks of an SUV, but it beats those heavy, high-riding cars on ride comfort, handling and refinement.
A change of name to Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport signified a big change for Vauxhall's family hatchback when it arrived in 2017. As well as being a replacement for the near-decade old Insignia Mk1, the new model went on sale as a bigger, more spacious and more upmarket family car. In fact, because the family car market is in such poor health, Vauxhall has rebranded the model as an executive choice, in the hope of stealing sales from cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
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Really, the Insignia Grand Sport treads the middle ground between these executive models and traditional family cars. It's more upmarket than cars such as the Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Hyundai i40 and Kia Optima, and is on a par with cars like the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat. Overall, we liked the Insignia Grand Sport so much that we gave it our Family Car of the Year award at the 2018 New Car Awards.
The latest Insignia is nearly three inches longer than the last model and has a wheelbase that's almost four inches longer, which creates more interior space and plenty of legroom in the back. That gives passengers room to stretch out, while cabin quality has been improved to add to the sense of space and comfort. In terms of pure size, the Insignia Grand Sport is also comparable to more upmarket offerings, such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. Like before, it comes as a five-door hatchback, although the extended roof line gives it more of a fastback look.
As is typical with Vauxhall, there are a wide range of engine options and trim levels, and not all engines are available in all trims. But there should be a model to suit family car needs, whether you just need simple transport for five, want something a bit more luxurious, or like the idea of a sporty five-door family car. Prices start from around £20,000 and rise to almost £43,000.
The Insignia Grand Sport range starts with Design, and runs through Design Nav, SRi, SRi Nav, SRi VX-Line Nav, Tech Line Nav, Elite Nav and GSi Nav models. However, Vauxhall likes to offer different grades for private buyers and fleet users, so the walk through the range doesn't necessarily mean you get more kit the higher up the range you go.
All trim levels, from Design Nav upwards, include a touchscreen infotainment system, navigation with traffic sign recognition, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, cruise control, LED daytime running lights and six airbags as standard.
Tech Line Nav adds climate control and front and rear parking sensors, but doesn't have the SRi's sportier looks. Then there's the SRi VX-Line, which adds a racy bodykit and 18-inch wheels on most versions, plus sportier looks inside and a heated steering wheel.
Insignia Grand Sport Elite Nav models are the plush executives of the range, offering LED headlights, nav, heated seats and tinted windows. At the top of the range, the GSi Nav is even sportier than SRi, with 20-inch wheels, heated leather seats, FlexRide adaptive suspension and a Bose stereo all included.
Vauxhall brands the Insignia Grand Sport's engines Turbo and Turbo D. Obviously, Turbo refers to the petrol motors, and Turbo D the diesels. There's a single 1.5-litre petrol engine, with two power outputs on offer - 140PS and 165PS. Both come with a six-speed manual and front-wheel drive as standard, while a six-speed auto is offered with the 165PS motor.
The diesel range comprises 1.6 and 2.0-litre units with two power outputs apiece. The 1.6 comes in 110PS and 136PS versions, while the 2.0 is 170PS as standard and 210PS in BiTurbo guise. A six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive features with the 1.6, and a six-speed auto is available as an option. The 2.0 170PS is also a six-speed manual, but has the option of an eight-speed auto, while the GSi has this gearbox as standard, as well as four-wheel drive. All diesels are branded Blueinjection, which is Vauxhall's name for the emissions-reducing AdBlue exhaust additive.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingPractical, stylish large family hatch offers plenty of kit for a tempting price
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Insignia is good to drive, with compliant ride and tidy handling
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsStrong economy from wide range of engines
- 4Interior, design and technologyHandsome design hides a strong equipment list
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Insignia is among the best in class for space
- 6Reliability and SafetyPoor Driver Power rating is disappointing