Used Vauxhall Insignia (Mk1, 2008-2017) review

The Vauxhall Insignia hatchback offers plenty of style and comfort to rival the Ford Mondeo

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Sleek design
  • Low running costs
  • Excellent value
  • Heavy depreciation
  • Tight rear headroom
  • Rivals are better to drive


In isolation the Insignia is a competent car, not especially lacking in any one area. Problems appear when you compare it with rivals – many offer more reliability, space or safety. However, while most beat the Vauxhall Insignia in a few areas, those that beat it in several invariably cost more – which is why the Insignia is an attractive used buy.

Which one should I buy?

  • Best Vauxhall Insignia for fuel economy: 2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX SRi
  • Best Vauxhall Insignia for equipment: 1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX Elite Nav
  • Best Vauxhall Insignia for driving fun: VXR SuperSport

Petrol-engined Insignias are relatively unusual; as long as you buy one that’s turbocharged it’ll be zesty, but the diesels make the most sense as they’re more plentiful, frugal and muscular.

The 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines were offered with four-wheel drive (in saloon, hatch and estate forms with manual or automatic transmissions) – perfect if you tow. The entry-level ES gets ESP, air-con, cruise control and electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors. Exclusiv adds climate control while the SE and SRi also feature alloys, electric rear windows and privacy glass. The SRi features sports suspension and 17-inch wheels; the SRi VX-Line comes on 19-inch alloys. The range-topping Elite has front and rear parking sensors, bi-xenon headlights and leather trim.

What are the alternatives?

The Insignia’s key rival is the Ford Mondeo, which offers everything the Vauxhall does in terms of availability, a wide model range, value and practicality – but it adds a more engaging driving experience to the mix. The Skoda Octavia always does well in our Driver Power survey thanks to its ease of ownership and usability; prices are higher than for the Vauxhall, though.

If value is key, we’d suggest you take a look at the Peugeot 508. You should also consider the Honda Accord, which offers smart looks and decent value, but a narrow model range. The VW Passat is worth a look, but you’ll need deeper pockets to buy one.

Kia Optima vs Ford Mondeo vs Vauxhall Insignia

Kia Optima vs Ford Mondeo vs Vauxhall Insignia - header

Back in 2016, the latest Ford Mondeo, updated Vauxhall Insignia and new Kia Optima squared up for a battle of family cars. It was a deserved victory for the Insignia, thanks to its impressive efficiency, comfortable ride, decent performance and acceptable amount of kit. Read the full test here...

Ford Mondeo vs Vauxhall Insignia

Even in 2013, traditional family hatchbacks and saloons were struggling to stay relevant in the face of a new breed of crossovers and SUVs. The dated Ford Mondeo was no match for the facelifted Vauxhall Insignia, which featured a new interior, updated engines and a new pricing strategy. Read the full test here...

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer vs rivals

Peugeot 508 SW vs Rivals

The Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer was found wanting in this battle of five family estate cars. The excellent Skoda Superb took class honours ahead of the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo and Peugeot 508, to leave the Insignia in last place. Still, it represented a big step up from the Vectra. Read the full test here...

Skoda Superb Estate vs Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Skoda Superb estate vs Vauxhall Insignia

The Skoda Superb cost more than the Vauxhall Insignia, but its huge cabin, versatile load area, classy interior and flexible engine put it ahead of its rival. On the plus side, we did applaud the efficiency of the ecoFLEX model and the competitive running costs. Read the full test here...

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