The Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is a well-styled, good looking model and one of few estates that doesn’t leave you hankering after its smaller saloon stable mate.
In doing so, you might expect the Insignia Sports Tourer to skimp on space and practicality but it doesn’t; it’s a large car that looks good and handles well – Volvo-esque in its all round package and a stark improvement over the Vectra estate of old.
That’s because the Insignia is a more executive reworking of its predecessor. The boxy, cheap looking exterior of the Vectra has been replaced by a sleek, low-slung model with a wide, extended rear-end.
The effect is a more refined car that benefits from the new ‘Vauxhall’ front-end complete with chrome bar as well as a new wide-mouthed front grille either side of which sit two large headlights.
The Insignia was the first model from GM-owned Vauxhall to wear its now signature face when it arrived in the UK in 2008 and the fact that the rest of the range is being brought in-line with that design is testament to the models appearance.
The 2.0-litre CDTi Sri model exaggerates the ‘executive’ look with dark-tinted rear windows as well as an understated chrome finish that surrounds the windows and sits on the rear of the car.
The up-market feel continues with a smart, understated interior complete with black gloss bar that borders the centre console.
The dashboard is well positioned and clear but the same can’t be said of the steering wheel which is busy and overcrowded as it plays host to a range of different buttons, knobs and features.
As you’d expect of a Sports Tourer there is masses of passenger space in both the front (helped by an electric hand brake) and rear while the driving position is adaptable and well placed.
Unfortunately the sleek, raked windscreen of the model takes some getting used to in terms of visibility but the issue does become more manageable the longer you are behind the wheel.
The Insignia Sports Tourer is actually smaller than the last generation Vectra estate and its reduced size is most palpable in terms of boot space which has dropped by some 350-litres to 1,530-litres.
With the rear seats down however that is something of a side issue and Vauxhall’s new estate offers decent load space, on a par with the majority of its rivals including the Volkswagen Passat.
On the road, the 130bhp 2.0-litre CDTi is a capable car which is more of a cruiser and a load lugger than a car to get excited about in terms of ride and handling. Fortunately its premium looks won’t give that secret away.
The drive is smooth and comfortable on urban roads however at higher speeds the handling becomes fuzzy with little steering wheel feedback thanks to a soft soft suspension setup.
Estates are normally heavy when cornering and while this version of the Insignia is more so than the saloon, its low slung profile puts it on a par with the handling of the class-leading Ford Mondeo.
With a 130bhp 2.0-litre CDTi engine and a six speed manual gearbox, the Insignia is also fairly economical for a car of its size returning CO2 emissions below 160g/km and an official combined fuel consumption figure of 47.1mpg.
The Insignia is a drastic improvement over the rattley old Vectra estate in almost every aspect; particularly looks, style and comfort.
Vauxhall is famously one of the best selling manufacturers in the UK. Whilst that’s a fantastic achievement in terms of sales and a testament to the brand’s quality it does convey a ‘Joe Bloggs’ image.
In the form of the Insignia Sports Tourer, Vauxhall has built a car that will challenge the supremacy of the Audi and Volvo estates on the drives of the middle-classes.
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