The all-new Insignia Grand Sport is on sale now, but won’t hit showrooms until May. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, got behind the wheel of a test model for us earlier this week.
If you’re after a cheap car, then the outgoing Vauxhall Insignia will be a good bet, once the fresh Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport hits UK car dealers. Replacing the old Insignia, which has been around since 2008, the model is now a more serious player than ever. Billed as a D-segment car, it competes with the likes of the Ford Mondeo and the huge Skoda Superb.
Look-wise, the all-new Insignia Grand Sport is impressive. It has an almost sporty profile, with its rakish roofline and wide body. The car’s ‘face’ is more aggressive, and the wheelbase has been extended, meaning the Insignia’s overhangs are far shorter. All this helps to give the Insignia Grand Sport real kerbside appeal.
The elongated wheelbase means the cabin is now massive. Legroom in the front is as impressive as ever before, but it’s the rear that blows you away. Sitting behind a six-foot driver make a six-footer in the back feel as small as a child. Believe me, I got in the Grand Sport’s rear seat and sat behind where I’d been driving moments earlier. You’d have to be a giant before your knees touched the back of the driver’s seat. What’s more, distinct from its competitors, the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport has three ISOFIX anchor points across its rear seats.
Vauxhall has achieved the excellent rear space, not just by extending the wheelbase, but by taking some space from the boot. This is not a concern because, if anything, the Insignia’s boot was disproportionately vast. What I’m saying is that the car’s boot could afford to lose some volume, and give it to the rear seats instead. Not that you would know; the Insignia Grand Sport’s load area still looks massive, with 490 litres of room for suitcases, buggies and shopping bags. The old Insignia’s boot has 530 litres, and, for comparison, the Ford Mondeo offers 550 litres. Fold the rear seats, though and the up-to-the-minute Vauxhall has a voluminous 1,450 litres. That’s four litres roomier than the Blue Oval’s Mondeo with its seats down.
Behind the wheel, Vauxhall has made light work of driving the Insignia Grand Sport. A factory-fitted touchscreen means there are fewer buttons to clutter the dashboard. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be connected via the touchscreen infotainment set-up, giving the car a more modern and sophisticated feel. Other kit includes air-conditioning, sat-nav, DAB radio, cruise control, wi-fi connectivity and a leather steering wheel.
The Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport has a range of engines powering it. These span from the excellent value 140ps 1.5-litre turbo petrol, rising to the flagship 260ps 2.0-litre turbo 4×4 model. The Griffin-badged company’s diesel units include a 110ps 1.6-litre turbo diesel, to a 170ps 2.0-litre oil-burner.
I drove the 140ps 1.5 turbo petrol and found it to be an excellent handler, especially around the twisty back lanes of Worcestershire and Wales where we were located for the Grand Sport’s inaugural media drive. The car irons out the lumps and bumps well and turns in to corners with accuracy. The most noticeable difference between the Grand Sport and the exiting Insignia is how agile it now feels; it’s lighter and far less tank-like on S-bends. It is also planted, quiet and very comfortable at motorway speeds.
With the 1.5 engine, 0-62mph arrives in 9.3 seconds and the top speed is 130mph. More importantly, the Insignia Grand Sport in this guise returns 47.9mpg, and CO2 emissions are 133g/km. The car feels a little underpowered, especially when dropping the cogs for an overtake on a B-road. The steering wheel also feels a tad too big still – an issue I had with the departing Insignia, but these minor criticisms are in no way deal-breakers.
Overall, the all-new Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is a car to be enthusiastic about. Its looks, comfort, space and choice of engines will appeal to a wide range of people. Priced from £17,185 in entry-level DESIGN 140ps 1.5 Turbo ecoTEC form, the five-door large family car is a good value for money vehicle. Why not contact Perrys to find out more?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Looks √
- Space √
- Ride √
- Kit √
- Large Steering Wheel X
Fast Facts (DESIGN 140ps 1.5 Turbo ecoTEC – as tested)
- Max speed: 130 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.3 secs
- Combined mpg: 47.9
- Engine layout: 1490cc four-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 140
- CO2: 133 g/km
- Price: £17,890