They may only have 1bhp, but that's all these angry little cars need...
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The Top Gear car review:Vauxhall Insignia
For:For a boring, three-box saloon, it's very, very good
Against:It's as boring as a three-box saloon ever was
For Mr Salesman, it’s a solid performer. For Mr Stig, you might be left wanting - but it’s still a polished product.
A more mature offering from VXR, but it still leaves you a bit cold. Ticks a lot of boxes, but not all of them at once.
What we say:
Vauxhall continues to hone the impressive Insignia. A 2014 facelift brings it closer than ever to the Mondeo
What is it?
The Insignia is now a familiar sight on UK roads, offering a sleek and good looking alternative to that other staple of the sub-premium fleet-friendly sector, Ford’s Mondeo. Most are sold with a 2.0-litre diesel: for this reason, the new company car idol could be the fancy BiTurbo model.
Facelifted for 2014 - the new Insignia looks neater, has better engines, drives more crisply and brings some much-needed interior improvements to reduce blind-button confsion.
Despite great all-round abilities, the Insignia is not quite as good to drive as its closest rivals. We’re particularly thinking of that other bastion of the service-station car park, the Ford Mondeo. The Vauxhall is less linear and responsive to driver input, feeling a bit detached in corners. Having said that, this lack of immediacy and communication does serve it well on the motorway where it feels very calm and stable at speed, not jiggling about too much or weaving in its lane.
You can have a 130 or 160bhp diesel in your Insignia and either is fine, returning good mileage on a tank with low emissions. The new downsized 1.4 turbo petrols are better than you’d think but avoid the 2.8-litre V6. Go instead for the hot 195bhp BiTurbo diesel, which is much more likeable.
A few Insignia variants are now offered with four-wheel drive too. It’s a bonus element of security if you’re doing major year-round mileage but there is significant trade off in fuel economy.
On the inside
It’s a marked improvement over the boring, boring Vectra in here, with some conspicuous effort to make the cabin, and particularly the dash area, feel a bit more ‘designed’ rather than just cut out and slapped on. It’s solid and really quite attractive now, although not necessarily as logical and easy to interact with as we’d have liked for a car with long journeys in mind. There’s a fussy bit of centre console too, but we’d probably get used to that in time.
As for comfort, rear space is frustratingly limited by that sloping roofline and even shorties will feel a bit hemmed in around the head. But the front is good with lots of space and adjustment to the large, comfortable and very supportive seats.
The majority of Insignias will be leased as company cars rather than owned, and as such they need to be fuel and emissions efficient more than anything else. The two diesel options are just that, with up to 65.7mpg claimed for the 2.0-litre CDTi ecoFLEX and 114g/km putting it in tax band C. All these cars seem well built, too and should do all the miles you have planned.
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