Final Report - 14th November 2018
It’s time to say goodbye to the car that has affectionately become known on our fleet as ‘Big Red’. Yes, our Insignia Sports Tourer has now officially left the building. We’ll miss it on our long-term fleet as it’s one of those cars that does exactly what it says on the tin – and does it well.
If you’re after a well specced, comfortable, tech-laden load-lugger that eats away the miles and returns a pretty decent MPG, and all at a P11D value of just £24,485 that has gone up since launch, then you’d be hard pressed to find a better fit than the Insignia Sports Tourer Tech Line.
There’s plenty about this car to keep both the fleet manager and the company car driver happy, whether it be the exceptional safety kit such as the forward collision alert with automatic city emergency braking, following distance indicator and lane-departure warning with lane assist, or indeed the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, touchscreen navigation and infotainment system, automatic heated front seats, climate control, cruise control or front and rear parking sensors.
In short, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer Tech Line is a good car, with a good P11D value and some good kit.
Update - 17th October 2018
The sun may still be shining, but the weather definitely feels more autumnal. So, imagine my surprise on finding that the Insignia is fitted with automatic independently heated front seats.
According to Vauxhall, activation is based on ‘several parameters such as interior temperature, intensity and direction of the sun and temperature setting of the climate control system for the driver and passenger side’. Moreover, it will automatically reduce the heat until it’s no longer required. So, my derriere will be nice and toasty on those cold morning/evening journeys, and I don’t even have to remember to switch the heated seats on!
Seven Month Report
Fleet managers will be pleasantly surprised with the Insignia’s offering of tech to protect their drivers and other occupants. All models comes loaded with lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning and pedestrian warning.
The lane-keep assist does an effective job of steering you back to the middle of the lane if you inadvertently deviate (or have forgotten to indicate), while the forward collision sets off an array of flashing red LEDs on top of the dashboard as well as a high-pitched bleeping, together with a stylized crash image on the small screen located between the rev-counter and speedometer. Pedestrian warning offers similar flashing LEDs, high-pitched beeping as well as lighting up an amber ‘person’ shape icon on the dashboard.
Each of these have been designed to help the driver be more aware of the risks from others, even if the pedestrian system is a little too sensitive. On occasion it almost felt like I had Hyacinth Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances fame sat in the passenger seat proclaiming “Mind the pedestrian dear”. But at least I’m aware of the people on the pavement!
Update - 25th July 2018
Surprise and delight is what car makers call it. What they’re referring to are the little bits of technology, or even just clever little extra lines of code in the ECU, which make the car do something unexpectedly helpful.
This is something that has recently happened in our Insignia Sports Tourer and made me go “wow, that’s clever”.
The feature that surprised me made its presence known in very hot weather when the air-conditioning fan was operating at a high speed and I got a hands-free call. Suddenly, the fan speed temporarily dropped to make the cabin as quiet as possible so that I could hear my caller and they could hear me. Told you – clever.
Six Month Report - 11th July 2018
The start of summer means our garden seems to near constant tending. The result of which is that a great deal of waste greenery needs taking to our local recycling centre, a task for which the Insignia Sports Tourer has come into its own.
While the 560 litre boot is impressive on a day-to-day basis, for these kinds of jobs you need more room. Pull the small switches in the rear of the boot and the rear seats flop down to give you an echoing 1665 litres of space – once you’ve removed the parcel shelf and vertical cargo net.
If you can’t visualise how big that is, it’s two full dumpy bags of garden trimmings.
As well as the van-like main area of the boot, there’s also a small area under the floor that can be used for storage.
Interestingly, if you lift that panel you find the spare wheel well. In the case of our Insignia this is filled, rather inefficiently with a puncture repair kit. You can’t help wonder why the kit isn’t stored more logically – say in one of the alcoves at the side of the boot – to give a larger under-boot space. One for the next Insignia, I guess.
Update - 13th June 2018
Over the past few weeks the Insignia has been doing what it does best – putting on miles and carrying different loads.
It’s worth making the point that the Insignia is an absolutely brilliant long-distance cruiser. It will sit solidly on the motorway offering fantastic driver comfort and first-rate refinement for hour after hour. And it will do this happily with a family of four, or even five, on board. Plus a boot full of dogs.
And on that note, the built-in mesh guard, which sits next to the boot cover, really adds to your peace of mind because you know your pets aren’t going to leap into the cabin should things go wrong.
Five month report - 30th May 2018
While BMW and Volkswagen may be stealing all the headlines about recalls recently, our long-term Vauxhall Insignia has been subject to its own recall.
Having received an official note informing me a seatbelt inspection was needed I thought it was the ideal opportunity to test the Vauxhall OnStar app to book the car in for its check.
At a basic level, this worked well. The app already knows my ‘favourite’ Vauxhall retailer – Eden Motors in Camberley – and it knows the car’s details, so it should just be a case of giving my address and picking a time. However, while this was straightforward and easier than calling the dealer, the app didn’t seem to pre-populate the car’s details. Odd, given it’s connected to the car.
It’s also a shame that GM’s OnStar won’t be available on new Vauxhalls from the start of next year and the whole service will stop working from the end of 2020.
At least the system isn’t being shut down immediately because it’s very useful.
Anyway, the recall work was booked in and I received a confirmation email shortly after. The collection and delivery went smoothly and the seatbelts were fine.
Update - 4th May 2018
A few weeks back we noticed that our Vauxhall Insignia’s hill-hold function seemed a bit intermittent.
Eden Motors, our local dealership, took a look at the car, but were unable to find any problem with the system and reported back that it was operating normally.
However, I’ve recently discovered why I’m having an issue with the system.
Unlike every other car that I have experienced with an automatic hill hold function, the Insignia’s only works on steeper slopes. A gentle incline won’t activate the system. This means that on lesser gradients the hill hold doesn’t activate and you will find yourself rolling backwards if you’re not careful.
Four month report - 4th April 2018
We’re now well over half way through our long-term test of the latest Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer and it needs to be pointed out how good the car is.
The Insignia does exactly what it was designed to do.
As a large estate car it should be able to travel long distances with ease and efficiency, and it does exactly that. On a recent 300-mile round trip the average fuel consumption registered a shade over 60mpg without any real eco driving – just a lot of motorway work. And after the best part of the day in the car, I suffered no back pain.
What’s more, it’s not just good at long distances. A few weeks ago my youngest child broke her foot and as a result has been getting a car ride to school every morning.
Despite the cold-start short journey, the Insignia is still averaging just over 48mpg. Although I did see the warning to keep driving so the particulate filter could clean itself – which it did in 15 mins.
Couple this to the fantastic standard kit and a P11D price of just £23,025 and the affection for the car just grows even more.
And better still, when big red is clean it looks like a car costing far more.
Update - 21st March 2018
Intermittent problems in cars can sometimes lead to self-doubt. Is the problem real, or is it just user error?
In our Insignia this recently manifested itself in the auto hill start function.
I was stopped pointing uphill at a set of traffic lights, but when I lifted off the brake the car rolled backwards.
A quick call to Eden Vauxhall in Camberley had the car efficiently booked in for investigation, on a collect and deliver basis, the very next week.
Unfortunately, due to the intermittent nature of the problem, they weren’t able to replicate the issue.
So, if and when the problem re-occurs, I’ve been advised to come in with the car to demonstrate the issue.
For the moment, I’ll be driving with extra caution when stopping on hills.
Three month report - 21st February 2018
Our Insignia, like many Vauxhalls, comes with OnStar – the connectivity system developed by former parent firm GM – and it is simply excellent.
Setting up the system and linking it to the Vauxhall app is easy – just a case of pressing the blue OnStar button in the car and talking to the operator.
Overall, the OnStar system offers far more than I regularly use. For instance I’ve, fortunately, not had to use the automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance or emergency call-out. I’ve also not yet used it to book a hotel or find parking.
What I use it most for are two things.
Firstly, the app on your phone allows you to search for your destination then beam this to the car. And when you get in the car, up pops a message with the destination – just press ‘go’ and the satnav is set. In fact, I use the app when I’m in the car already (while parked, of course) because it’s faster than programming the satnav.
I also use the vehicle diagnostics – mainly for checking the tyre pressures, but you can also see oil life, mpg, fuel range and to check you’ve locked the car. If you haven’t, you can do that from the app, too.
Update - 7th February 2018
One of the very few options on our Insignia is the Winter Pack 4, and over the past few frosty months it has been my best friend.
For £410 you get automatic heated seats, a heated windscreen and a heated steering wheel.
Heated seats aren’t that rare but the auto function that puts them on as soon as you get in the car on cold days works well.
The heated screen defrosts in less than a minute, which saves either time scraping or wasted fuel sitting in the car with the engine running waiting it to defrost.
However, my favourite in the trio of winter warmers is the heated steering wheel. It shows how a small thing can really make a car feel special.
Update - 20th January 2018
As we mentioned last time, our Insignia was suffering from a known issue; Apple CarPlay only connects for a minute or so, then drops out.
The booking process went well, with Eden Vauxhall in Camberley able to offer a collect-and-deliver option inside a week.
The collection took place as planned and I supplied the dealership with a written note to say the car was suffering an issue with Apple CarPlay. The dealer plugged in an Android phone and couldn’t find a problem. Given that this is a known issue, I was a little disappointed at the lack of effort expended by Eden’s staff.
The good news is that the car has now been fixed by Vauxhall HQ technicians and I can again listen to podcasts uninterrupted.
It’s been a few weeks since Big Red arrived and we’ve now had a proper chance to familiarise ourselves with the car and put a few hundred miles on the clock.
First mention has to be given to the truly cavernous boot area. With 560 litres available under the boot cover it has already proved big enough to handle some surprise purchases at Costco (see pic) that would have you cursing and folding the seats in lesser estates.
The driving experience is also stress-free. The Tech Line Nav trim level sits on 17-inch alloy wheels with tyres that have decently high sidewalls. Couple this with suspension that is well set up for the UK’s decidedly poor roads and you’ve got seriously decent comfort.
The only negative we’ve spotted so far is that the Apple CarPlay function always drops out after a couple of minutes after connecting an iPhone. Google says this is a known issue, so the car is booked into my local Vauxhall retailer to be fixed.
I found, and contacted, my nearest dealer using the rather excellent ‘My Vauxhall’ app that can also be used to connect via the internet to the Insignia through OnStar system. But more about OnStar in a later report.
Big Red has arrived. I’ll be running new Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer (estate to you and me) for the next six months, and I have to say I’m pretty happy about it.
A full introduction will follow in a future issue of Company Car Today, but we’ve gone for the 136hp 1.6-litre turbodiesel which emits 119g/km of CO2, putting it in the 25% benefit-in-kind tax bracket.
So far, I’ve only driven the Insignia to the airport to drop off my father-in-law after a brief stay, but early impressions are very good indeed.
The most immediate thought is what good value the Insignia represents. For a P11D of £23,025, the Tech Line Nav spec has all the essential kit, and more, that
a company car driver would need.