The automaker with the renowned Griffin badge is really going for it at the moment. We only test-drove the new Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport two months ago, and now the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer has been unleashed. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
The first shipments of the Grand Sport we tested in April aren’t due in until the end of June, and ahead of the hatchback’s arrival into Britain, I was invited by Vauxhall to drive its estate version of the car – the new Insignia Sports Tourer. The line-up includes just a couple of models, as the booted insignia was kicked to the kerb some time ago now. We Brits, it would seem, are very happy with our hatchbacks and estates. Indeed, the bulk of Insignia fans are either company car users, or people, like me, with a growing brood in need of a spacious vehicle with decent looks.
At the media launch, held in the beautiful Cotswolds, the first thing that blew me away was the sheer size of the new Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. As our country gets more populated and the volume of traffic swells, you’d think cars would start shrinking. But that logic doesn’t always apply so long as procreation continues. I’m guilty of needing a big car now I have three kids, and all I want to do is protect my offspring, as well as have enough room for them and all their paraphernalia. Vauxhall has certainly bought into this, making the 2017 Insignia Sports Tourer the largest yet.
But having a big car doesn’t mean you have to drive something resembling a bus, so it’s great to see that the new Insignia Sports Tourer is more handsome than before. It’s even more impressive that, within the dynamic design, Vauxhall has carved out a load area offering 1,665-litres. That’s a whole 135 litres more than the outgoing estate. Even better, with just a press of two buttons in the boot, the rear chairs collapse electrically, creating a level floor, large enough for loading up a washing machine – plus a bit more.
Classy and Comfortable
Leg and headroom in the front and back of the car is also generous, and there are handy storage compartments and cubbies all over the Insignia. This shows how much Vauxhall has focused in on the needs of families, or company car drivers that ‘live’ on the road and use their vehicle as an office. Unsurprisingly then, the quality of the materials used in the new Insignia Sports Tourer are classy and the seats are extremely comfortable. Vauxhall claims its interior is now on par with German premium cars. I’m not sure that’s quite the case yet, but the Griffin emblemed automaker is not far off reaching that goal.
It’s also easy to get a good driving position, thanks to a good range of movement in the driver’s seat, while intuitive controls and clear dials add a further layer of contentment. Kit-wise, even the entry-level Vauxhall Insignias get LED running lights, OnStar, cruise control, keyless entry and a touchscreen infotainment unit.
Of course, there is always a downside to every up, and the new Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer feels enormous around town. It’s great on rural routes and on motorways, but it’s not the easiest vehicle to parallel park, or get into a tight space. It also feels a bit unwieldy at the wheel when trying to tootle along a busy high street.
But all that becomes a distant memory once your foot is down and you pick up pace away from suburbia. Driven in 1.6 CDTi SRi Nav 136PS guise, the vast Vauxhall sprints from zero to 60mph in 9.9 seconds. It’s not short of low down pull, which makes overtaking a breeze, and this is all helped by a long-legged, but slick-operating, six-speed manual gearbox. The Insignia Sports Tourer with this engine will do a claimed 62.8mpg, while emitting only 119g/km of CO2.
Handling and Verdict
All-in all, the new Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is an excellent car, if a large estate is what you’re after. It doesn’t handle like a boat, as you might expect for such a big machine – instead it performs powerfully on the straights and without much roll on winding country lanes. In many respects, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and the way the Grand Sport hatch sibling handles. What’s more, its efficiency and clean range of engines makes it a superb company car choice, and a good-value motor for families. The car is on sale now and will be in showrooms soon. To order your new Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to help.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Room √
- Handling √
- Comfort √
- Kit √
- Town Driving X
Fast Facts (Insignia Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTi SRi Nav – as tested)
- Max speed: 131 mph
- 0-60 mph: 9.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 62.8
- Engine layout: 1598cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
- Max. power (PS): 136
- CO2: 119 g/km
- Price: £23,080