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First Drive: Insignia Sports Tourer

The story:
Vauxhall is hoping its new Insignia Sports Tourer will be considerably more popular than the last one, which took only 8% of Insignia sales. The increased style and practicality of the new car is aimed at grabbing at least 20% this time around. 
Category:D-segment
Key rival:Ford Mondeo Estate
Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 Turbo D 170 Tech Line
Price:£23,825
MPG:53.3mpg
Emissions:136g/km
On sale:Now
The firm is pointing towards an increased luggage capacity of 560 litres, 30 up on the old car. This has been achieved by giving the car a longer load bay and more regular tailgate design than the previous model’s clamshell arrangement, which brings the lift over the outgoing car’s 530 litres.

That’s five litres better than a Ford Mondeo Estate can muster, but 95 and 120 behind a Skoda Superb Estate and Volkswagen Passat Estate respectively. 

First Drive - Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer - side image 2The increase in size over the old car is even greater when the rear seats are folded down (which can be done at the touch of a button from the boot on all trims bar the entry Design level). The new car’s 1665-litre maximum load bay is a full 135 litres up on its predecessor’s. 

The price difference between the five-door Insignia Grand Sport and the Sports Tourer is £1,500, and both come with the same line-up of three petrol and three diesel engines. Vauxhall is predicting a slight uplift in petrol demand, 90% of volume will still be the diesels – the 110hp and 136hp 1.6-litre models and the 2.0-litre 170hp driven here.

“Where the Vauxhall wins is in pricing, because it undercuts its rivals by thousands”

Vauxhall is correct in describing its new load-lugger as an easy-on-the-eye design, with the chrome arc running down the side successful in making the car look lower than it is. Like the hatch, there is more than a faint whiff of Mazda 6 about the looks, which isn’t a bad thing. Both have a low, wide and sleek stance. 

Rear space is, like the hatch, very impressive, and the extra 25mm of legroom over the old car feels like much more; you’ll have no trouble slotting tall adults one behind the other. Headroom that’s claimed to be up 8mm over the previous Sports Tourer’s is less noticeable, but there’s no problem on that score. 

The boot is long, but shallow versus rivals’, and that’s where the Superb and Passat get their extra volume from. Still, it gets four hooks for hanging bags, and a luggage cover that slides back or up for load access. The rear bumper is also smaller than the outgoing Sports Tourer’s, meaning less of a lean in. 

First Drive - Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer - cabin imageThe Insignia drives well enough, and is in the middle of the sector for ride, handling, refinement and performance, although this 170hp diesel is some way off for efficiency at 136g/km, which compares poorly with the 109g/km of a Passat and 119g/km of the Ford Mondeo. The 110hp and 136hp diesels emit 112 and 119g/km respectively, and Vauxhall is claiming it is better positioned for the new and supposed more real-world test cycle that replaces the current system late this year. 

And where the Vauxhall wins in a big way is pricing, undercutting its mainstream rivals by several thousand pounds. Combine that with the looks, increased practicality and very good equipment levels, and the Insignia Sports Tourer really should be a winner. 

 

paul barker

The verdict

The Insignia Sport Tourer seems like a competitive car, emissions apart, until you get to the list price. Then it seems devastatingly good value.