The Vauxhall Insignia has the longest history as a family car. Its very first generation that offered four seats was released in 1903. Unfortunately Vauxhall was unable to keep up with family car competitors in the succeeding decades. The front-drive Cavalier in 1988 was the only model to make a significant mark in the target market. So the Insignia was upgraded and released according to the times, hoping to dethrone the Ford Mondeo.
Today’s Insignia boasts of incredible versatility. Its body styles lineup is made up of an estate, hatchback, and a saloon. Each style can be had with two petrol engines or two diesels. Other choices include passive or active dampers, and either all-wheel or front-wheel drive
Vauxhall brands itself on the Insignia with the signature blade design as the recurring theme on the model. This feature gives the Insignia a thinner and sleeker look, smoothening out the profile’s large surface area. But it still demands power out back to give more notice to the rear. Continuing these forward design elements are the chrome window edge, the broad C-pillar, and the gentle slope by the rear window line. The overall dimensions make it look smaller on the road, but put it next to a similar vehicle and it commands attention with the actual size. The five-door configuration has little difference from the four-door saloon model when seen on the outset.
The interior draws drivers and passengers in with its deeply styled door pull. The rest of the car welcomes its users with elements that simply swoop up and into each other. The trim smoothly transitions to the dashboard, into the centre console and then the deep instrument binnacle. All elements tie together as they all swoop back down to the front seats’ in between shallow angle. The Insignia successfully achieves a 3D-like look as it does away with vertical surfaces on the dashboard. The steering wheel works well into everything else and the rim looks outward from the centre’s deeper set area.
There’s more than enough space for both leg and headroom. All seats are readily adjustable. Even the steering wheel sports several choices for the reach/rake adjustment. The boot sports a long and deep capacity.
But the interior is not without flaws. Stereo buttons were misaligned and takes some getting used to. The MMI/iDrive-style controller located on the centre tunnel could easily be moved if you leave your arm rested by the gear lever—a dangerous downside if you’re not aware. There’s also the difficult electronic handbrake that needs some pull before it works. You’ll still need to step on the footbrake then press a button just to make the handbrake operate properly. A manual lever is still a more practical option. Another major setback is the unfortunate rearward visibility.
Although the 2.0-litre diesel engine’s 128bhp allows for linear power delivery, it still performs at a sluggish pace when revved low. It’s also limited by tall gearing. The 192bhp Bi-turbo alternative is stronger but comes at a steep price. You’ll have to go for the 1.4-litre petrol as your best option.
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