The Vauxhall Vectra wasn't a great car. It lacked panache and polish and quickly gained a reputation for being a rep mobile. It was against this backdrop that Vauxhall developed the Insignia with the intention of taking the big Vauxhall upmarket and making it visually more appealing.
The Insignia has road presence. This is partly due to the fact that it is physically relatively big at 4.83 metres long and 1.856 metres wide, but is also a trick of the styling which is confident and distinctive. This gives it a reassuringly solid look which is the first hint that the Insignia is an entirely different animal than the Vectra.
Under the bonnet you will find an appropriately forward-looking engine. The downsized 1.4 litre turbo easily outperforms the 1.8 litre it replaces whilst also being much more efficient. Vauxhall has managed to create a flat torque curve with 147 lb.ft of torque available all the way from 1,850-4,900 rpm where it meets peak power at 4,900-6,000 rpm. This provides great flexibility which makes for effortless overtaking, but unlike a diesel engine it will also rev freely.
Vauxhall has a mixed track record when it comes to making cars that are entertaining to drive. The Insignia is one of its better efforts, it isn't exactly sporting but it is competent and sure-footed and has sensibly compliant suspension too. This, alongside impressive refinement, makes the Insignia a great long distance cruiser.
The Vauxhall Insignia blends distinctive looks, a high quality interior and good refinement. It is a genuine alternative to premium and mainstream models and with the adoption of the 1.4-litre turbo engine it has one of the most flexible units on the market. The fact that the same engine is also capable of impressive efficiency is the icing on the cake.