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Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Has Vauxhall turned acclaimed family car into a great estate?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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THE new Insignia estate is leagues ahead of the drab Vectra it replaces, and with the rear seats in place it offers even more practicality, too. It shares the same underpinnings, trims and engines as the hatch and saloon – only the £2,000 price rise and bigger boot set them apart. The classy, well specced cabin, clever controller and electric tailgate put the Insignia in premium class territory. And although it’s not the best car to drive in this sector, in every other respect it’s a winner.

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It's the family car that found room for improvement! Hot on the heels of the saloon and hatchback that went on sale in January, this is Vauxhall’s Insignia Sports Tourer.

But it doesn’t only offer extra space – as the model has loaded up on innovation, too. Deep scallops along the sides mirror the tapered roof, and the bulky tailgate gives the Tourer extra road presence.

Yet while the new shape is a success, the hatch trumps it for style, and the Tourer doesn’t quite have the kerbside appeal of Ford’s Mondeo estate. This car really proves its worth inside. In SE Nav spec it features a central controller, reminiscent of the BMW iDrive system, as well as an electronic parking brake, so the cabin is truly classy.

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Crucially, there’s a plentiful 540 litres of luggage space with the seats in place. This extends to up to 1,530 litres with them folded. A lowered tailgate is standard on all SE and Elite models, and this can be programmed to open to 75 per cent of the full height if there’s a low ceiling in your garage or car park. There’s also a handy undertray beneath the boot floor, which allows the load area to be flattened out.
Our model was powered by the 158bhp 2.0-litre CDTI diesel.

There’s a 128bhp version, too, and these units are expected to account for 69 per cent of all sales. Our car was a superb performer, pulling strongly and smoothly from low revs, while claimed 47.1mpg fuel economy makes it easy on the wallet, too.

Besides tweaked springs and anti-roll bars, the running gear remains unchanged – and it shows. Despite the extra metal at the back, the Tourer handles with the poise of the hatch, gripping hard in corners and handling sudden changes of direction with minimal fuss. It’s not as entertaining as a Mondeo estate, but for long-haul trips in comfort, the big Vauxhall is tough to beat.

Rival: Ford Mondeo
blue oval estate has over 200 litres more boot space than the Vauxhall with the seats down. It’s sportier to drive, too – although the Insignia is a better cruiser.

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