With the rise in popularity of SUVs itís easy to forget about the good old estate car. If youíre after an estate car thatís spacious and sensible and just gets on with the job at hand then the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer could be the car for you.
Vauxhall have attempted to give the Insignia a dose of style whilst still making sure it does exactly what you expect from an estate car. One of those things is space and if you just take a moment to just look at the side of the Vauxhall insignia youíll see that itís absolutely enormous - which translates into a great sized boot. If you lift up the tailgate youíre certainly not going to be disappointed as thereís more than enough room for the familyís overnight bags. As for the load area itself itís nice and square with some decent sized cubby holes and tether points. Thereís also no awkward load lip to have to lift things over which is a bonus. If you need even more space then a couple of little buttons on the side will allow you to drop the rear seats. These fold completely flat giving you an even bigger area. In the unlikely event that youíre after even more space then you should really be looking at the Volkswagen W Passat or Skoda Superb estates.
The old Insignia had quite a sloping roof which did have an impact on headroom at the back. However, this isnít the case with this car. Even with the sunroof fitted the headroom is still really good and as for legroom this too is excellent. Even with the seat in front set up for a person of 6ft youíll still have loads of knee room in the back. If youíre looking to use this for a family car then you get a couple of IsoFix child-seat points, good sized door-bins, two USB ports and rear heated seats. When youíre not using the central seat then the armrest folds down with a couple of cup holders. The whole thing really does feel well put together and itís just very comfortable back here.
When you sit in the front of the Insignia you wonít be all that inspired as itís not got the most exciting interior. However, itís still nicer to look at than the Skoda Superb and itís easier to navigate and operate than the Ford Mondeo. The insigniaís previous interior was quite fiddly and very button heavy but in this car this has all been replaced by a sleeker and much more streamlined look. What this means is that most of the controls are now operated through a touchscreen. Unfortunately, itís not the best system in the world as the graphics are quite poor though overall itís quite adequate. When it comes to storage space thereís plenty of it. You get a good sized glovebox, nice deep door-bins, two cup holders, a couple of neat storage compartments and large space under the central armrest. One thing thatís worth mentioning is that the seats have to be adjusted manually as there are no electric controls which seems rather strange for a car that carries an exclusive badge.
The Insignia Sports Tourer range is pretty broad but very well equipped. Even the entry level trim comes with autonomous emergency braking, a touch screen infotainment system with DAB radio, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, keyless entry and cruise control. There are various other trims which all get more kit and extra body styling. The Elite stands at the top of the range and comes with leather upholstery, LED headlights and digital dials while the racy GSI model gets you bucket seats and an aggressive looking body-kit. Vauxhall also offers exclusive models where you can choose any body colour you like. You can simply give your Vauxhall dealer a paint swatch of your favourite colour and your insignia will be painted in it - though weíre not too sure why youíd bother. Last but not least, thereís a Country Tourer version with its extra body cladding and is a cheaper alternative to the Volvo V90 Cross Country.
Thereís a good range of engines on offer with the Insignia. There are three petrol engines which comprise of two 1.5 litre units and a 2.0 litre. If we had to choose between them then weíd probably opt for the higher output 163 brake horse power (bhp) 1.5 litre simply because itís smooth and punchy enough for what you need. If itís four-wheel-drive that youíre after then youíll have to go for the 2.0 litre which also comes with torque vectoring. Many car buyers will still be interested in diesels and for good reason. This is because on the face of it a diesel that offers good miles per gallon (mpg) and low Co2 is still a very attractive option for company car drivers or anyone that clocks up a fair amount of miles. There are four diesels on offer with the Insignia, two 1.6 litre units and two 2.0 litre units. The car weíre testing for this article is the less powerful of the two 2.0 litre units. Itís got 168 bhp and overall itís a pretty good engine. Itís smooth, punchy and just feels like it has enough power for the car. However, one thing that lets it down is that itís fairly grumbling particularly when youíre at low speeds. Unsurprisingly, itís the least powerful 1.6 litre diesel thatís the most economical in the range. This 108 bhp engine returns a claim to 65.7 mpg and Co2 emissions of 112 grams per kilometre (g/km). This translates into a 27% in-kind rate for company car drivers. Still, even this 168 bhp 2.0 litre engine should return in the high 40s.
Our 2.0 litre engine is powered by an 8-speed automatic gearbox and itís pretty good. It slips through the gears easily and just feels well matched. In some rival cars the automatic is often the better choice out of the gearboxes but this isnít the case in the Insignia. This is because the 6-speed manual is actually a pretty good gearbox too and in all honesty you can just take your pick on which youíd prefer and you wonít be disappointed.
Youíd never call the Insignia Sports Tourer a fun car to drive. Itís very much in the same league as the Skoda Superb. Itís involving enough thanks to its accurate steering and comfortable suspension so it soaks up the bumps nicely. However, itís never really going to thrill you. It has a sort of serene driving experience to it though this can be interrupted a bit in the sportier GSI model thanks to its stiffer suspension. However, the adaptive dampers do a decent job of curing this. If you really want a fun estate car to drive then you really need to look towards the Mazda 6 Tourer.
The Insignia Sports Tourer could be described as a big old-fashioned estate car which offers a good alternative to an SUV. However, the best thing about it is what good value for money it is. The Insignia offers a well-rounded package at a reasonable price. If youíre interested in finding a great deal on used Vauxhall Insignia cars for sale then head to DesperateSeller.co.uk where weíve got one of the widest selections in the UK.