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Vauxhall Insignia estate: Test Drive

Date: 25 March 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £19,425
Key rival: Ford Mondeo

Vauxhall has followed the trend among new entrants to the large family estate sector by cutting the amount of space available in its new Vauxhall Insignia in favour of more graceful looks.

The theme of style over functionality is carried through in the name, too, with Vauxhall calling the car a 'Sports Tourer' rather than plain old 'estate'.

The company maintains the amount of what it calls "useable space" in the boot - underneath the boot cover and before you start folding seats - is in fact greater than what its predecessor could manage, up 10 litres on the Vectra estate to 540 litres. That's impressive, but to obtain that figure means removing the false floor to the boot, which would then also remove the flat load area.

Not offering a larger boot that's just a little larger also seems like a missed opportunity, especially when the car's main rival, the Ford Mondeo, is only two litres bigger.

The Mondeo also has the Insignia beaten on total space (seats folded, loaded to the roof) with the Ford providing 1733 litres against Vauxhall's 1530.

As with the hatch the 130PS 2.0-litre diesel engine is efficient, and 70mph on the motorway should return a real-world 60mpg, thanks to long gearing.

However, there is higher than average noise levels on acceleration, and the fact the car is an estate means that cabin 'boom' is increased over the hatch.

Of the two diesels the 160PS version is marginally more refined, but thanks to different gearing isn't as efficient at a steady 70mph.

There's also an 180PS 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, which if you don't mind emissions above 160g/km and a fuel figure of 35.8mpg is an incredibly smooth and powerful engine for the size and possibly the best pick for the Insignia, if only costs and practicality didn't dictate fleet decisions.

And this is where the Insignia Sports Tourer loses marks - yes, it's better looking than either the hatch or the previous Vectra estate, but it's just not as practical as its main rival the Ford Mondeo.

Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTI 130
Exclusive Nav estate manual
P11D price£19,425
Model price range£17,865-£29,905
Fuel consumption47.1mpg
CO2 (tax) 159g/km (21%)
BIK 20/40% per month£67/£135
Service interval20,000mls
Insurancegroup 8
Boot space (min/max)540/1530 litres
Engine size/power1956cc/130PS
Top speed/0-62mph124mph/10.9secs
On sale 10 April 2009
VerdictBetter looking than the
hatch, but not as practical
as its Mondeo main rival


Better looking than the hatch, but not as practical as its Mondeo main rival