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Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Review

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Model/Engine Size: 2.0 CDTi 160PS

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 47.1 mpg

The Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer looks as good as the hatchback and saloon, and the entire 2009 European Car of the Year award-winning package is a huge leap forward over the Vectra. The 2.0 CDTi emits less than 160g/km – but only just. So surely it’s already looking like this is a car to be recommended? Well, we have some news for you, so you’d better read on…

Before we release the big news, you should be aware that the 2.0 CDTi currently comes in a 130PS and a 160PS version – but both have identical fuel consumption and emissions. The main difference is the price – the 160PS has a £500 premium.

So as long as you don’t mind paying the extra cost, more power for the same economy seems like a better option to us, so we tested the 160PS version.

The first thing you notice is the appearance of the Insignia. The subtleties of the curves and the other styling devices instantly gives you the impression of a much more expensive class of car. And with a Cd 0.30 it’s the most aerodynamic Vauxhall estate ever.

The Sports Tourer obviously has a new rear end compared to the hatch, and although it looks good, with its wrap-around rear lights it certainly seems to share a close resemblance with the rear of the new Citroen C5 estate. From the rear three quarters view, especially with the wheels on this test car, there is also a stance very reminiscent of a BMW 5 Series Touring.

This appearance of quality not only applies to the exterior – the interior also shares the more upmarket feel, both in terms of design and equipment. It comes in different specs of S, Exclusiv, SE, Elite and SRi, with differing levels of equipment, but all generally have a good selection of toys, and most cars bought will probably end up with SatNav.

Standard on all models is a power tailgate which can be programmed to rise to different heights via a button on the driver’s door, in the eventuality of opening the boot in a garage or other location with a low ceiling. Because the rear lights rise with the tailgate, it has secondary tail lights, which become exposed when the tailgate is up.

The quality theme continues in the driving experience. This is a brand new chassis and it drives well, but the dynamics still aren’t as sharp as a Mondeo estate; the Insignia is relatively soft in the suspension and steering responses.

FlexRide is available as an option on certain 2.0 CDTi specs, which gives you the choice between three chassis settings: Standard, Tour and Sport.

There is also a 4×4 version available, but only with petrol engines at the moment, however a more powerful diesel is on its way and this will be available with the Adaptive 4×4 option. When combined with the FlexRide, a more rearward bias to the 4×4 set up is possible.

If the Insignia sounds appealing but diesel isn’t your thing, a new 1.6 turbo petrol engine has also been added to the range, designed to provide decent economy with the characteristics of a petrol engine. The 1.6 turbo has the same combined fuel consumption as the non-turbo1.8 petrol (35.8mpg), but a 0-62mph acceleration time of 8.7 seconds rather than the 11.6 seconds of the 1.8. The 35.8mpg is still some way short of the 47.1mpg of the 2.0 CDTi.

Things we don’t like? There is still front-wheel drive torque steer, the ride certainly felt jiggly on certain roads, and the overall engineering, such as in the drivetrain department, just doesn’t feel as solid as some rivals.

Really trivial gripes? The central console seems too wide, resulting in it digging in to the driver’s left knee, and it still seems too wide further back next to the seat belt, making it very tight to get the seat belt in its holder.

The rear load cover also seemed very difficult to re-attach, and visibility isn’t great; the pillars seem thick, and the door mirrors are small. And sorry, we’re just not a fan of electronic handbrakes, which the SE model comes with as standard.

If you want maximum cargo area, the curves of the Sports Tourer means that it doesn’t have the largest load space in its class (540 litres with the rear seats up, or 1530 litres with them down). It should really be adequate for most requirements; if you need more space, why not consider a van?

However, minor niggles such as these apart, if you’re in the market for a car in this class, the Insignia Sports Tourer is very compelling, especially for its competitive price, and so you should give it serious consideration.

But if you want the most economical and lowest emission Insignia Sport Tourer, don’t buy yet! Just announced is the ecoFLEX version of the Insignia. In the immediate future only the saloon and hatch will be available as ecoFLEX models. Their vital statistics include emissions of 136g/km and a combined figure of 54.7mpg, which is a 10 per cent improvement on the 2.0 CDTi model. This is due primarily to improved aerodynamics, including a 10mm lower ride height, and higher gearing, along with low rolling resistance tyres; resulting in the performance being virtually identical to the 2.0 CDTi. Vauxhall assures us that the driveability of the ecoFLEX version isn’t compromised.

So based on these figures for the saloon and hatch, we’d recommend to wait until the ecoFLEX version of the Sports Tourer arrives, especially for business users who are planning lots of miles up and down motorways, as it should promise all of the good points of the 2.0 CDTi, but with significantly lower emissions.

Fuel economy extra urban: 57.6 mpg

Fuel economy urban: 35.8 mpg

CO2 emissions: 159 g/km

Green rating: VED band D – £145

Weight: 1660 Kg

Company car tax liability (2009/10): 22%

Price: £20,450 (From £17,865 to £30,690)

Insurance group: 10

Power: 158 bhp

Max speed: 132 mph

0-62mph: 9.3 seconds