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Vauxhall Insignia: Test Drive

Date: 10 December 2008   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £20,285
Key rival: Ford Mondeo

Following our October test of the left-hand drive 160PS 2.0-litre diesel SE Insignia hatch at the car's international launch, we've now got our hands on Vauxhall's more attractively priced 130PS 2.0 CDTI, also in SE trim.

Although power's down 30PS and price is down £250 to £20,285, there's no saving in official fuel consumption. However, that cheaper P11D means savings will be made on insurance because the car qualifies for group 9 instead of 10.

The 130's just as noisy on cold start and acceleration as the 160, but is as superbly refined on the motorway, and both fall into the 21% benefit-in-kind banding and have a claimed 48.7mpg fuel figure, which matches the equivalent Ford Mondeo. However, the Mondeo gains a cost per mile advantage thanks to lower SMR rates and lower insurance costs, despite a fractionally worse residual value.

Interestingly, both the Vauxhall and Ford are beaten on running costs by the equivalent Citroen C5, thanks to a low P11D price, and the VW Passat, because of better RVs.

As we said in our original test, the Insignia has easily overtaken the VW and Ford in terms of materials quality. It's also better for overall comfort levels, but that's at the expense of outright handling prowess.

Having now driven the Insignia on the UK's less than perfect road surfaces we can confirm the ride quality is first rate, although over bumpier examples our test car had a mysterious squeak coming from the rear. Our early test car also wasn't fitted with rear parking sensors, however all Insignias will be from the official on-sale date, and rightly so because rear visibility is limited thanks to the car's low swooping roof line. While we're on visibility, the A-pillars around the windscreen also reduce vision because of their width.

Spending longer with the Vauxhall reveals the brand has given great attention to detail, and that's illustrated in items such as a gas strut to hold the bonnet open, window switches that work when the ignition's off and doors that thud like a Mercedes S-class.

That's not to say it's without a few things that could be improved - the reverse gear selection trigger can nip your hand and you should consider the optional brighter bendy headlights - but despite that the Insignia puts Vauxhall back in contention in the upper medium sector.

Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTI 130 SE hatch
P11D price£20,285
Model price range£15,935-£28,085
Fuel consumption48.7mpg
CO2 (tax) 154g/km/21%
BIK 20/40% per month£71/£142
Service interval20,000 mls
Insurancegroup 9
Boot space (min/max)520/1465 litres
Engine size/power1956cc/130PS
Top speed/0-62mph126mph/10.7secs
On sale December 2008