Latest report: Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 1.6 136hp SRi VX-Line Nav
24 November 2017
Author: Debbie Wood
|P11D price:|| £22,905|
|As tested:|| £26,565|
|Official consumption:|| 65.7mpg|
2nd report - Under the bonnet
We're always taught to never judge a book by its cover and that first impressions are not always an accurate measure of what you're judging. And that's true for cars as well as people.
On the one hand, a short drive will tell you a lot about driving dynamics and how the car performs on the road, while fuel economy and comfort ratings require a much longer test to make a solid judgment.
I live in Lincolnshire, so as well as the almost guaranteed situation of being stuck behind a tractor at some point during the day, I'm also spoilt for winding and twisty country lanes, an ideal test bed for the Insignia Grand Sport.
Handling is one area where the old Insignia fell somewhat behind its rivals, but happily this new car has eradicated a lot of the previous criticisms. The car feels surefooted and agile in the corners, with plenty of grip on offer too.
Body roll is also kept nicely in check and although the steering is too light for my liking, overall, the Insignia Grand Sport is a well-rounded and versatile car to drive, proving to be easy to manoeuvre and park in the city, as well as nimble at higher speeds. The 136hp and 320Nm of torque from the 1.6-litre diesel offers enough oomph to help a dash at the lights look respectable and the car feels quicker than the ten-second 0-62mph time suggests. The six-speed manual is also well matched to the engine, and provides slick and light gear changes.
Engine refinement is a definite plus point here, and engine and wind noise is kept to a minimum inside the cabin. As we mentioned in a previous report, the Insignia Grand Sport is at its best on the motorway; however, after just 600 miles, Vauxhall's flagship mdoel has proven to be much more than a long-
With not even four figures on the clock, it would be unfair to pass any judgment on the fuel economy at this stage. The engine needs time to warm up, of course, so we'll explore the frugality of the Vauxhall in a later report.
Our average consumption: n/a
1st report - Welcome
Vauxhall started making cars in 1903 and I think most of us, at some point, have either owned or run one. The brand is so deeply entrenched into UK motoring that it's nearly impossible to imagine our roads without them.
The Insignia Grand Sport is a car that has some very big shoes to fill and equally large expectations, which not only introduces a new name for the firm's flagship model, but also ushers in the start of a new chapter in which Vauxhall takes a step towards premium desirability.
My parents' car for many years was the first generation Insignia, and so the news that we would be running the second incarnation for six months was music to my ears.
For starters, our test car comes with the popular 1.6-litre diesel, which offers some compelling running costs. Headline figures include a combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg, according to the NEDC cycle, and CO2 emissions of 114g/km, meaning a 24% BIK band for the current tax year.
At home on the motorway, the Insignia Grand Sport is a very comfortable cruiser and this is where it'll be spending a great deal of its time during our custodianship. Happily, road and wind noise is also kept to a minimum, while the benchmark 0-62mph sprint takes officially just over ten seconds.
With 136hp and 320Nm of torque, the car feels pretty quick when you put your foot down, while a weight loss of up to 175kg has helped keep it feeling agile in the corners, although we're yet to test it's full abilities in this area.
Despite getting a significant price cut over the previous generation, the new Insignia Grand Sport doesn't feel like a cheap car - far from it. Interior quality in this latest model has seen a big lift, while its significant growth spurt - the new car is now 55mm longer and 7mm wider - means there's more space inside, especially noticable for rear legroom.
Our new long-termer comes in the mid-range SRi VX-Line Nav trim which, as the name suggests, adds sportier, striking design touches. The main additions include a visible exhaust pipe, and sports-style front and rear bumpers and side sills. Inside also features a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Standard equipment is a bit of a head-scratcher: most of the essentials like sat-nav and air-con are included, but an automatic tailgate, adaptive cruise control, and rear parking sensors are noticeably absent, while luxuries like a heated steering wheel are surprisingly listed.
The good news, though, is that options are really cheap, so you can soon spec an Insignia to be comparable with rivals for very little cost.
Our Insignia Grand Sport comes with just over £3,600 worth of options. The most expensive is the Intellilux Matrix LED headlights that automatically adapt to the road ahead using the front camera system. Each headlight features 16 individual lights and illuminates a separate part of the road to suit traffic and road conditions. They can also trigger automatic high beam if needed, a key safety feature when driving at night, and feature automatic headlight levelling.
Also included in the options list is the Winter Pack 4 that includes heated seats and a heated windscreen, ideal now the Christmas period is approaching, for £410. Wireless charging is also thrown in for £160, which we're looking forward to thoroughly testing. Meanwhile, the Driver Assistance Pack 4 incorporates advanced park assist, lane-changing assistance with blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera and rear-cross traffic alert, very good value for money at just £595.
One other option we would thoroughly recommend, even at this early stage, having only driven the car for its first 100 miles, is the heads-up display - it offers good quality and all the essential information in the driver's line of sight. Sure, it's not the most technically advanced system, nor does it offer the crispest graphics, but for £290 it's an absolute bargain.
So the new Insignia Grand Sport is more practical, cheaper and takes a big step forward for quality - we're looking forward to finding out if Vauxhall's new hatchback maintains this good first impression after six months of ownership.
Our average consumption: n/a
Standard equipment: 17in alloy wheels, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, keyless entry and start, Vauxhall OnStar, Bluetooth, 8in touchscreen system, heated steering wheel, air-con.
Options: Heads-up display (£290), Driving Assistance Pack 4 (£595), wireless charging (£160), Winter Pack 4 (£410), Intellilux LED headlamps (£1,010), 8in colour instrument display (£415), tri-coat premium paint (£725).