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Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRI VX-Line Review

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2019 Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRI VX-Line Review

We tested out the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRI VX-Line for one week, here is what we learned about the car.

What is the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRI VX-Line about?

In short, it’s Vauxhall’s answer to the BMW 3-Series and Audi’s A4, although it’s always been a closer competitor to the Ford Mondeo and the Mazda 6 than any of the Germans. The first-gen Insignia proved to be a massive success for Vauxhall, outselling the Ford Mondeo and falling just behind BMW’s extremely popular 3-Series in terms of sale figures. Vauxhall redesigned the Insignia back in 2017, after almost eight years on the market. Vauxhall hopes to make the new car an even bigger hit than the original one, but the benchmark set by the first-gen Insignia is very high.

Despite its lengthy name which causes a lot of confusion, the Insignia Grand Sport is a relatively simple car in terms of its intended audience. Vauxhall themselves categorise it as a large family car, but as with the original Insignia, expect to see a lot of company cars.

The Grand Sport is the only saloon in the family, as the other variant are both estates. In terms of direct rivals. It’s not a bad looking car by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn’t as distinct as the original.

To a lot of people, the fact that it looks new and modern more than makes up for it. The front fascia is more aggressive now, especially in this VX-Line model, and the dual exhaust tips (one either side of the bumper) are a really nice touch. If you prefer something that’s sharper than a Mondeo or even a Passat, the Insignia definitely fits the bill.

How does it drive?

Sportier than you think but not as sharp as its German rivals. The 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder makes 200 horsepower, and power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed conventional automatic gearbox. It’s not a DSG so it isn’t anywhere as quick as Audi’s or even BMW’s ZF unit, but it is smooth and refined. If you leave it in auto it seems to shift whenever you think it should shift, it’s lovely.

You can use the paddles to change gears yourself but I wouldn’t bother. It isn’t made to be driven at ten tenths, so you could end up frustrated with the speed of the shifts, or lack of speed thereof. Leave it in auto and just enjoy the drive.

In terms of performance, it’s what I’d call adequately quick. The sprint to 60 mph takes 7.5 seconds and flat out it can do 144 mph. it’s weird to think we live in a world where sub-8-seconds to 60 isn’t considered fast anymore, but such is the rate of progress. The reality is that in the real world, you’re almost never going to wish it had more power.

The turbo engine pulls strong from low down in the rev range all the way to redline. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to run out of breath near the top of the rev range as most turbocharged engines do. It doesn’t make a particularly exciting noise, but it is refined from inside the cabin.

I was pleasantly surprised by the adaptive damping, it has to be said. There are three modes you can choose from: Normal, Touring, and Sport. Although Sport stiffens the whole car up and does make a difference in terms of how the car behaves, I found myself driving the car in Touring most of the time. It suits the character of the car perfectly. Softening the dampers making the car float over bumps.

What is it like inside?

Really plush and incredibly spacious. The first thing you notice once you get inside is just how much space there is. Even with five adults inside, you’ll find it has more than enough legroom and headroom.

The boot is immense too. Vauxhall has done an excellent job of stepping their game up in terms of build quality, which really helped the Insignia move upmarket. The seats are nice and comfortable, but I especially liked the low driving position. The seats in the front are both heated and cooled, which I honestly did not expect to find in a car of this price.

The instrument cluster is a blend of several analogue dials and a digital screen in the middle. They work great together, but it does feel slightly lacking compared to the all-digital clusters you get in some of the competition.

I will say that the infotainment screen makes up for it, however. It comes with all the regular features you’d expect such as Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

The experience

It’s probably not your first choice if you’re a serious driving enthusiast, as the BMW is sportier, but compared to the Mazda 6 or the Ford Mondeo, I can absolutely see people choosing the Insignia over the other two. It looks great, it drives well, but most importantly, they’ve improved the interior significantly, making living with it a lot better. Wind and road noise are kept at a minimum, and there’s very little in the way of engine noise except under hard acceleration.

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRI VX-Line Cost

For £32,500 it’s a lot of car for the money. Although you can skimp on a few things to make it cheaper or go for a lower-powered engine, I think in SRI VX-Line the Insignia is a great proposition.

Verdict

The only thing I can recommend is getting optional IntelliLux LED Matrix headlights as the halogens in the standard car leave plenty to be desired. They do a good job of illuminating the road, but they don’t look brilliant on a £30k+ car. The LEDs would really make the Insignia come alive, especially at night. Otherwise, I suggest you go out and drive one before making a final purchase. It just might sway you over that Mazda 6 or that Mondeo you’ve been thinking about getting.

Specification

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRI VX-Line Specs

  • Price: £32,515
  • Engine:1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Power: 200 PS
  • Torque: 300Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • 0-62mph:  7.5 seconds
  • Top speed:144 mph
  • Weight: 1,447 kg
  • Economy combined: 36.7 – 39.8 mpg
  • CO2: 153 g/km

Take a look at the gallery of the car here.

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