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Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Elite Nav 2018 review

You can now load your top-spec Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer with 'Exclusive' options, but are they worth the extra cash?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Stylish, spacious and refined, the Insignia Sports Tourer makes a fine and practical choice. The Exclusive options add a flash of class, but they send the list price spiralling. Plush though this top spec Elite Nav feels, we'd recommend sacrificing a little luxury to save a significant sum of money; our favoured Design Nav car is much cheaper on a monthly finance deal.

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There’s not much on the road that can match the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer when it comes to space per pound. Prices start from just £20,850, undercutting even the well-priced Skoda Superb Estate by a couple of grand.

The bargain price might tempt you to venture higher up the range, and this Elite Nav model sits right at the top. Above that, Vauxhall has just launched a range of 'Exclusive' options to further personalise your fancy load lugger.

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The Elite Nav kit list is suitably huge: there’s 18-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED lights, leather seats that are heated in the front and the back, digital dials, and another eight-inch display for the touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In terms of safety, there’s a front-facing camera that works with the forward collision alert and auto emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane assist.

Our test car also included a few options. The panoramic glass roof makes a spacious cabin feel even more airy but, at £960, it’s pricey. But that figure pales into insignificance beside the 'Exclusive' paint finish. Lovely though the deep red metallic hue is, it costs a whopping £4,400 – a lot on any car, let alone a Vauxhall estate.

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The Elite Nav is available with a choice of four diesel and two petrol engines. This is the second most powerful diesel - the 2.0-litre unit makes 168bhp, and thanks to endless torque and a smooth shifting auto, it’s a great match for the Insignia’s relaxed gait.

However, the Elite Nav’s appeal starts to dwindle once finances are taken into account. Comparing the Elite to our favoured Design Nav trim, you’ll be paying around £120 per month more across an equivalent three year deal, and you’re left with an optional final payment that’s £1,500 higher. Add on some of those Exclusive options and the gulf will be larger still.

Pricey paint or not, the Insignia fees suitably expensive inside. To our eyes, the wide, sweeping dash looks more special than the Skoda’s, and build quality is more than a match for the big Czech wagon. The front seats are wonderfully comfortable too, and there's loads of adjustment. It’s not lacking in space elsewhere, either: even tall passengers have room to stretch out in the back, while the estate’s extended roofline means that headroom is even better than the already generous hatchback.

At 560 litres, the Insignia’s boot can’t match for the Skoda Superb’s 660 litre volume. The Vauxhall’s space is still vast though, and the opening is wide, square and devoid of any load lip. It’s full of useful touches, too: you get a storage net to one side, a 12-volt socket on the other, and the three-way split seat backs can be dropped with levers in the boot.

But that space comes with a compromise. Measuring in at just under five metres long, the Insignia Sports Tourer stretches 130mm further than a Skoda Superb Estate. It’s almost as long as an Audi Q7. You really notice that when you’re parking, but at least there’s a reversing camera to make the most of any spaces you do find.

That size means that the Insignia is at its best on the motorway. There, the ride is smooth, and there’s barely a whisper of wind noise. What's more, there's only a slight intrusion of tyre roar, even on larger wheels.

At lower speeds, those wheels can sound quite crashy through potholes but otherwise it’s a very comfortable car. It corners well, too, though its big size means that it’s more secure than it is fun. You can also go for some adaptive dampers, which add a little extra sophistication to the ride, but the regular set up is good enough that you don’t need to stretch to it.

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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