Road Test: Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTi Elite
Sector: Upper Medium Price: £28,925 Fuel: 53.3mpg CO2: 139g/km
It tends to happen with test cars that, with a week to test one, you usually end up with it over the few days where it’s totally unsuitable. So a two-seater for that rainy weekend where you need to go to Ikea, an SUV when the weather’s glorious or rear wheel drive just as the snow arrives.
But, for once, conditions were perfect for me to spend a week behind the wheel of this range-topping Insignia, a car with designs on tapping into the compact executive market, against the big three German manufacturers. I got a week of trawling up and down the motorway, packed to the load cover with luggage to find out how it stacked up.
The D-segment has, of course, become a tricky place to be over the last few years. Sales at the top end are being snatched up by a tax-advantaged, highly efficient compact executive class, and ramped up economy has made more practical crossovers and small SUVs an alternative too.
The Insignia might not be as instantly recongised as a Mondeo, but it puts up a good case for itself. Regardless of trim level, it’s incredibly comfortable and has a Germanic weightiness that makes it feel very stable at high speeds.
This Elite trim does a very effective job of taking it up a class. Awash with leather and shod with wheels of up to 20 inches in diameter, it may lack the silver-tinged embellishments of the premium brand models, but little else lets you know you’re in a volume brand car.
It makes even more sense when you consider the engine options on offer, notably the smooth and powerful 158bhp 2.0-litre diesel which is now available with an ecoFLEX package to bring emissions down to 119g/km. It’s a very worthy upgrade for an extra £815 over the standard version.
But even tested without the latest eco-upgrades, I found the Insignia to be a very well-rounded upmarket car – capacious, frugal and still a fine car to drive. Badge snobbery aside, it’s got all the right ingredients to be a very worthy adversary to the default executive choices.
Competing against the German compact executive class is a tough call, but drivers would have little to complain about in this sublimely luxurious estate car. Its hardest job will be convincing management-level drivers not to spend the bit extra for the flashier badge on their keyfob.