Company Car Today

The big test

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new product test in fleet

Vauxhall is looking to make a big statement with its new Insignia, a car described as the brand’s “flagship” by fleet boss James Taylor.

The Big Test - Vauxhall Insignia Gallery Image 2.0

On the road

On the road

It’s got a bigger name for starters, being known as Insignia Grand Sport to differentiate it from the less visually impressive previous Insignia, and it’s a lower, sleeker and smarter-looking car. 

The dimension changes versus the outgoing car show what Vauxhall has tried to do with a car that’s moved looks-wise in the direction of a four-door coupe rather than upright hatchback. It’s 55mm longer and 7mm wider than its predecessor, but 29mm lower, which makes a real difference to the profile. Nose-on, it looks like it means business, with the wider profile and sleek headlights (which have a hint of Mazda 6 about them), while the side view is of an elongated, almost American car.

Pricing and specification can also be filed under ‘go big or go home’ as Vauxhall seeks to reinforce the Insignia’s sales position well clear at the top of its class – the car has in recent years outsold the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat by a ratio of 2:1. The manufacturer claims it has cut list prices by around £2,500, which is certainly an aggressive move designed to lure undecided user-choosers. A Tech Line trim, which is the model most appealing to company car drivers, with the 136hp 1.6 diesel, costs £21,525. A Ford Mondeo Zetec, one trim level down from Vauxhall’s Tech Line, with the 120hp TDCi diesel costs another £2,195, while a Volkswagen Passat 1.6 TDI 120 in most basic S trim is £1,590 up from the Vauxhall. Even the Skoda Superb 1.6 TDI 120hp in SE Technology trim will cost another £1,200 over than the Insignia Grand Sport. 

However, that doesn’t mean Vauxhall has skimped on the standard specification. The entire Insignia range gets keyless entry and start and  the innovative and pioneering OnStar system incorporating call centre help, wifi hotspot and a host of other useful features, plus DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and automatic lights. Tech Line adds 17-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, satnav, dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen an inch larger at 8.0 inches, lumbar adjustment and automatic wipers. That’s a lot of toys on a car priced to make a statement. 

In the cabin, there has been an improvement all round, but particularly with the changes to the infotainment system. It’s still not the best around, but there’s a better balance between what’s done on the touchscreen versus number of buttons on the dashboard, where the main controls are climate, audio volume and a home button. To be brutally honest, it’s still not the most user-friendly on the market, but it’s a big step forward and is no longer a weak spot for the car. Also worthy of note is that the satnav is very quick to respond, and doesn’t take ages loading either on start-up or when entering a destination. A number of rivals could learn from Vauxhall’s advances here. 

Otherwise it’s all perfectly acceptable inside, and in some places interior quality is actually better than it looks at first glance. This is especially true across the dashboard and door armrests, where the materials are all softer to the touch than they initially appear. Having said that, there are some areas of cheaper plastic further down.

The gearlever is nicely shaped to the palm of the hand, albeit a touch rough around the edges, and on the road there’s a noticeable distortion in the rear view, because of the shape of the rear glass. It’s wide but relatively short, so much so in fact that the rear wiper clears a significantly smaller area than those on other hatchbacks.

In the back there’s certainly a great deal of legroom, to the extent that only the Skoda Superb can really counter the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport’s ability to house big adults. The lower roofline has implications for headroom, though, so much so that Vauxhall has actually cut into the roof lining in the back to create a fraction more space up top.

The Big Test - Real World MPG - Vauxhall Insignia
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This is the second generation of Vauxhall Insignia. The first was launched in 2008 and significantly revised in 2014. 

The Insignia bounced Vauxhall back into contention after a few years of Vectra doldrums, and through its life, powertrain revisions brought efficiency and performance, keeping it competitive. 

The Vectra was never as loved as the Cavalier that went before, and was seen by many as being adrift of its arch rival, Ford’s Mondeo. 

The Vectra name was used through two generations of car – first between 1995 and 2002, and then between 2002 and 2008. 

Before it, the Cavalier name had spanned three generations, and was one of the key company cars from the 1970s to the 1990s. The first generation, launched in 1975 (pictured), was a saloon, coupe and hatchback. In 1981, the mkII version came in hatch, saloon and, from ’83, estate shapes.

The mkIII Cavalier arrived in 1995 as a saloon or hatchback, and this car was the base for the Calibra coupe. Over the three generations, more than 1.8m Cavaliers were sold in the UK.

The Big Test - Vauxhall Insignia Context Pic

What they said

What they said

"The Insignia is a flagship car for the brand. You can see the car looks stunning inside and out, and from a whole-life cost proposition this car is potentially an even greater step than the last change, because we’ve rolled prices back by £2,500 versus the outgoing car. From a P11D point of view we’re in a fantastic spot, plus we’ve seen residuals improve by around £2,000." 

James Taylor
fleet sales director, 


Comparatively speaking

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Need to know

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Three things we like...

The Big Test - Vauxhall Insignia - Things we like - Image 1

At night, the interior lighting around the screen adds a classy touch

The Big Test - Vauxhall Insignia - Things we like Image 2

Nose on is a great view - wide and sleek

The Big Test - Vauxhall Insignia - Three things we like - Image 1

The IntelliLux Matrix headlights are a pretty pricey option at £1010, but they turn night into day

...And one we don't

The Big Test - Vauxhall Insignia - And one we dont - Image 1

The infotainment system is much-improved, but could still be more user-friendly for the uninitiated



Drive  7/10

Decent levels of performance from the 136hp diesel, although sporty handling and driving fun aren’t the car’s highest priorities.

Efficiency  7/10

Emissions figures are behind the class best, although Vauxhall is claiming the car will perform well in real-world comparisons.

Practicality  7/10

Loads of leg room in the back, although head room is not quite so plentiful. The boot isn’t as big as most rivals’ - it goes back a long way but is quite shallow.

Equipment  10/10

Great standard kit levels, including keyless entry and OnStar from the Design base model. Tech Line has all a company car driver wants.

Looks  9/10

A dramatic change from the last car, the Insignia is now lower-slung, wide and sleek. It works.

Comfort and refinement 8/10

Our car had £220 noise-reducing laminate side windows admittedly, but high-speed refinement is great.  Ride is perhaps a touch harsh, but not upsettingly so.

Cabin  8/10

Given the aggressive P11D price, there is a good mix of materials across the cabin. There’s reasonable oddment space, too. 

Infotainment  7/10

Another area of improvement, with a good blend of buttons and touchscreen operation, but it still isn’t the most natural to use.

Whole life costs  10/10

Very aggressive P11D and decent RVs for the sector give the Insignia a big advantage over Ford and VW.

CCT opinion  8/10

A car with strengths and weaknesses, but you can’t argue with the on-paper case. It also looks great and is well equipped.


The low list price and high equipment levels grab the attention, backed up by the styling change.  Not perfect, but it pushes Vauxhall forward in the sector.