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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Tech Line Nav 2.0 170PS Turbo D BlueInjection

Click to view picture gallery“Crossovers and SUVs have done
  their utmost to poach sales from
  traditional estate cars, but the load-
  luggers are fighting back —
  Vauxhall’s new Insignia Sports
  Tourer definitely puts the flavour
  back into traditional ‘wagons’...”


THE SPORTS TOURER enters the ring well-equipped for the fightback. On its side it has handsome 'lifestyle' estate lines and an undeniable touch of class; not only is it eye-catching but it won't break the bank. And measuring five metres nose-to-tail it's more than big and practical enough to handle just about any work or pleasure duties you choose to task it with.


The cabin is spacious — five-people spacious. And the boot and load bay big with a capital B (if you want figures, try these on for size: 560 litres which, when the rear seats are folded down, grows to an impressive 1,665 litres). That's a lorra luggage in your loadbay. Which is why nothing really beats a large estate car for full-on family use.

If you haven’t looked
inside a Vauxhall for a
while then open the door
(no key necessary),
settle behind the steering
wheel and be very
pleasantly surprised.
The first thumbs-up
comes from the
ritzy décor,
twin-cockpit architecture
and inviting sports-
style seats...”
If you haven't looked inside a Vauxhall for a while then open the door (no key necessary), settle behind the steering wheel and be very pleasantly surprised. The first thumbs-up comes from the ritzy décor, twin-cockpit architecture and inviting sports-style seats.

Well-padded, upholstered in leather and with resolute bolstering that keeps you well located without any pinching, and enhanced by extending under-knee front cushions, they're as good to sit in as they look. Switchgear and controls are pleasingly well-ordered and the multifunction steering wheel controls are as intuitive and easy to use as you'd want. And when Jack Frost comes calling (as he will), the three-stage heated seats let you laugh in his face.

The overstitched leather rim is good to grip and the driving position first-rate thanks to fine-tuning powered seat tilt adjustment; you can see down the bonnet, plus visibility all-round is unhindered. And there's room to spare in all directions starting with a fist of headroom — and plenty left over for shoulders and elbows.

The optional panoramic sunroof boosts the cabin ambiance no end, flooding the cabin with glorious light even on the dullest winter's day (a powered one-shot full-length opaque sunblind softens the suns rays if that's what you or your passengers prefer). If you favour real fresh air or an even clearer view of the stars then you'll like the sunroof's front section, which can be tilted or slid open with a light press on the one-shot switch.

Other nice touches include the buttons on the sides of the front headrests for über-easy adjustment; the idiot-proof drive-through electric parking brake (even die-hard pull-up handbrake traditionalists will like it); the generous in-cabin storage; the 'voice' button on the steering wheel for controlling the audio, phone and navigation; and the climate button that brings up the settings on the main touchscreen and lets you make adjustments either on-screen or using the climate control panel.

The three-gauge dial cluster ahead of the driver comprises white-on-black outer dials (unbeatable for clarity) with a digitally-generated central speedometer — one of many selections on the 8-inch multi-mode driver's information display — showing a large speed readout with, close by, the posted speed limit. To the left, the centrepiece of the fascia is the large touchscreen that fronts Vauxhall's Navi 900 IntelliLink infotainment and navigation system.

“Most of the time the
turbodiesel’s soundtrack
is reduced to a non-
intrusive background
hum, making for relaxed
progress and quiet
motorway cruising.
You might think that
you’d get more
refinement from a
premium brand,
but paying more for your
badge won’t necessarily
get you anything
noticeably quieter than
this 2.0-litre turbodiesel
from Vauxhall...”
IntelliLink serves up a mobile phone portal, smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, traffic sign recognition (recognising different road signs including temporary speed restrictions), 3D navigation with European coverage (strong points include the sharply-defined street names on the maps, clear-cut spoken directions, and the foolproof auto zoom at junctions), Bluetooth and audio streaming, handsfree calls, phone book access, DAB digital radio, sixty configurable favourites (including contacts, addresses, playlists, radio stations and voice recognition), and USB connection with iPod control.

Equipment is generous with keyless entry (on all four doors, not just two as some other brands give you) and keyless start, dual-zone electronic climate control, electrically-adjustable heated door mirrors, electric front and rear windows (all one-shot), electric parking brake, cruise control with speed limiter, auto-dimming anti-dazzle rearview mirror, three USB sockets, drive-off auto door locking, and Vauxhall's OnStar personal connectivity and mobility assistant.

Along with upgraded Comms, OnStar offers plenty of peace of mind. Like a spare wheel or emergency tyre repair kit, you hope you'll never need it — but in the event of a crash in which an airbag is deployed an OnStar advisor is automatically alerted who can, if necessary, notify emergency services.

In addition to this, OnStar provides a 24-Hour Emergency Call Service with Roadside Support, a smartphone App that will locate your car as well as remotely give it the once over and report back. For many owners, even more desirable is OnStar's 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for fast and stable Internet access wherever and whenever. And should your car ever be stolen, OnStar will help get it back! Furthermore, an OnStar advisor is always on hand to provide you with any address you might need.

Safety kit is equally comprehensive with front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and rain-sensitive wipers, six airbags, Electronic Stability Programme, Forward Collision Alert with automatic emergency city braking, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Departure warning with Lane Assist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic lighting control (with tunnel detection and high beam assist), LED daytime running lights, and LED tail lights.

If you want to cover every eventuality there's a range of optional driver 'assists' such as Vauxhall's innovative and award-winning IntelliLux LED matrix headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a personal parking jockey (Advanced Park Assist), and a head-up display.

Along with upgraded
Comms, OnStar offers
plenty of peace of mind.
Like a spare wheel or
emergency tyre repair kit,
you hope you
ll never
need it — but in the
event of a crash in which
an airbag is deployed
an OnStar advisor is
automatically alerted who
can, if necessary, notify
emergency services...”
The Insignia Sports Tourer comes with a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, achieving exceptionally high scores for its occupant protection for adults and children, pedestrian protection and safety assist technology.

Two features in particular were commended by NCAP: the active bonnet, which lifts up in milliseconds in the event of a collision, increasing the distance to the engine for improved pedestrian protection, and the Insignia's Automatic Emergency Braking system which can detect pedestrians and other vehicles, and which was praised for its good performance, with accidents being avoided or mitigated at higher speeds.

When it comes to deciding on a powertrain Vauxhall offers you a selection of unleaded or diesel engines with six-speed manual and six- or eight-speed autoboxes. Engines range from a turboed 1.5-litre petrol (162bhp) to 1.6 (108/134bhp) and 2.0-litre (167bhp) turbodiesel units.

The 167bhp (170PS) Turbo D we've been driving is a punchy four-cylinder turbodiesel. With 295lb ft of torque on tap from 1,750rpm, it's a strong and responsive unit, muscular enough to make light work of moving an Insignia regardless of whether it's full of family members, stuffed to the gunnels with cargo, or even towing a caravan.

It makes everyday driving easy, with the minimum of gearchanges — you often find yourself in a higher gear when suddenly getting a move on, and without needing to change down — and when you do need to skip through the ratios the well-weighted clutch pedal and easy change action ensure it's never hard work.

Most of the time the turbodiesel's soundtrack is reduced to a non-intrusive background hum, making for relaxed progress and quiet motorway cruising. You might think that you'd get more refinement from a premium brand, but paying more for your badge won't necessarily get you anything noticeably quieter than this 2.0-litre turbodiesel from Vauxhall.

Helping to minimise your running costs is the 2.0-litre Turbo D's pretty restrained thirst for diesel — the official EU lab figure for the Combined Cycle is 53.3mpg. Our week spent on all manner of roads and routes saw a respectable 45.9mph average recorded — close enough to the official figure to show that for many real-world drivers, hitting a meaningful 50mpg should be achievable.

The Sports Tourer
has decent road manners
to accompany its crisp
handling, and feels more
‘alive
than you might
be expecting for a car
of its size.
The steering is nicely
weighted, and you can
place the car with
confidence entering
bends and corners...”
The Sports Tourer has decent road manners to accompany its crisp handling, and feels more 'alive' than you might be expecting for a car of its size.

The steering is nicely weighted, and you can place the car with confidence entering bends and corners — and it grips well on its way through. Our test car was fitted with the optional Flexride which enables the driver to choose from three driving modes: Normal (the default setting), Sport, and Tour.

If you're planning on pressing on you'll want the Sport setting — this firms up the ride and sharpens up the engine and steering responses; come in hard-charging in Sport and the Tourer feels well planted and committed to your line.

Not that you'll be hard done by if you opt to leave it in the default Normal because even then it's a very pleasant, secure-handling and competent car to drive. Whatever the tempo of your driving, there's strong stopping power from the all-disc brakes, with heavy-duty vented callipers at the front.

There's a well-judged accommodation between driving enjoyment and comfort and, as per the 'Tourer' part of its name, the Insignia's chassis serves up a compliant ride, particularly at lower speeds, with the deep sidewalled tyres (225/55 Bridgestones wrapped around 17-inch alloy wheels) helping to soak up the bumps.

In Tour mode, A-roads and motorways are places where it can show off its laid-back, long-distance, mile-eating qualities. The icing on the cake is the peaceful cabin environment — it's well insulated against engine, road, and wind, noise.

Despite the sports-style tailgate, the 560-litre boot — one of the biggest — is as versatile as it is big; pull the release levers in the rear boot and the 40:20:40-split seatbacks dive forward and self-fold, opening the boot out to a 1,665-litre loadbay with a seamlessly flat floor that's capable of swallowing long bulky items.

Roof rails add extra carrying options while a 2,200kg braked trailer can be towed. Other appreciated features include a built in dog/cargo guard and a roller luggage cover that lifts to 45 degrees for quicker access as the tailgate rises. You'll also find sturdy bag hooks and, below the two-section folding boot floor, a deep well with extra space for oddments.

The turboed 2.0-litre
has a pretty restrained
thirst: a week spent
on all manner of roads
saw a respectable
45.9mpg average

everyday drivers should
be able to hit 50mpg...”
Passengers using the rear cabin will sing your praises. Not only is it easy to get in and out, but there's a huge amount of personal space. Most importantly, they'll enjoy loads of legroom and relaxing backrest angles along with comfy headrests (there's still a fist of headroom even when leaning back enjoying that fab view of the skyline through the extensive glass roof).

Making it as home-from-home as possible is a wide padded centre armrest (two is always better than three side-by-side, although that's physically possible without any boundary disputes), built-in cupholders, reading lights, hanger slots, damped grabs, magazine pouches, practical door bins, two USB ports, rear cabin air vents and floor-level heating ducts.

Those who value their privacy will rate the dark tinted glass fitted to the long side windows, while parents will be grateful for the three ISOFIX child seat mounting points. And while the full-depth centre section backrest can be handy when folded down for carrying long loads while at the same time accommodating two rear passengers, it can also double as a useful informal table for the kids.

With polished styling, more than enough comfort and a bundle of kit, the value-for-money Insignia Sports Tourer is a competent family-friendly load-lugger that's easy to live with. And it can give even prestige-badged rivals a run for their money (and leave more of it in your back pocket). Fly the Griffin! ~ MotorBar
.
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Tech Line Nav 2.0 Turbo D | £24,080
Maximum speed: 140mph | 0-60mph: 8.2 seconds | Test Average: 45.9mpg
Power: 167bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 136g/km

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