What is it?
The Insignia is a pretty decent all-rounder, and the Sports Tourer – estate by any other name – is an improvement on the hatch, which is compromised by that raking roofline. There’s more space in the back here, and of course you get the advantage of a bigger boot. It’s not that big, however, and the Insignia still doesn’t drive as well as the best cars in this class. It’s an interesting product that’s far better than dreary Vauxhalls of yore, but there’s not much Sport in it and we’d plump for something else.
Despite obvious in-house improvements, Vauxhall hasn’t quite kept up with the best of its rivals in dynamic terms, still falling short of the Ford Mondeo particularly. Steering is a bit vague and disconnected, meaning the car feels hard to place confidently in quicker corners. The estate doesn’t differ from the hatch-cum- saloon in this respect. It’s a stable and relaxing motorway car – certainly a significant attribute when you consider the number of fleet sales the Insignia will take – but it’s not a great car to hustle across country roads.
Engine choice is fairly crucial here. The Sports Tourer will benefit from a decent bit of torque so a diesel is essential. There are several flavours to choose from, all 2.0-litre CDTi jobs with a reasonable balance of performance and economy. Just avoid the turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 petrol. This is a waste of money when the chassis simply doesn’t do all that poke any justice.
On the inside
The Insignia Sports Tourer redresses one of the hatch and saloon’s principle failings: that there simply isn’t enough room in the back. The aggressively sloping roofline of the five-door hatch means headroom is really pinched and that’s not so much of a problem here. As for the boot, it’s big enough at 540-litres, with our only criticism being that the aperture slopes in towards the roof, which might make squeezing in really bulky things awkward. But there is an added bonus that the rear seats fold virtually fl at, making this one of the bigger load bays in the segment.
The cabin is nice enough, too, if a little fussy for the average high-mileage driver, but the overall quality is reassuringly good.
As a lease hire shoo-in for sales reps, the most important thing for the Insignia is a strong range of diesels. And it has got that all right. There’s a bewildering range to choose from considering they’re all the same 2.0-litre CDTi. But be you fleet or private buyer, the ecoFlex options provide the best fuel returns and emit the least CO2 for those vital tax savings.