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Car review: New Vauxhall Insignia Hatchback

Vauxhall has come up with an impressive but less pretentious alternative to the likes of the Mondeo and the Passat. It’s an ideal company car, says motoring reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.

The new Vauxhall Insignia range made its debut at the end of 2013.

It’s offered as a five-door Hatchback, four-door Saloon and Sports Tourer estate.

Also available are a range-topping Country Tourer and a high performance VXR version.

No dramatic changes

Looks-wise, the car hasn’t changed radically.

Starting at the front, the high-gloss chrome grille is wider and lower than before.

The logo-bar that cradles the Griffin badge is thinner and includes winglets that link with the re-designed headlamps.

Standard headlamps are trimmed in high-gloss black with chrome-embedded accents, with the up-level lights getting a wing-signature daytime running light with energy-saving LEDs.

Sophisticated looks

In profile, the New Insignia Hatch has a classic coupe silhouette and is better defined through its unique boot and rear spoiler.

At the rear, the model appears wider and lower.

The high-gloss chrome logo bar has been positioned lower on the tailgate and extends into the tail-lights, while the tail and stop functions of the two-piece tail-lights are illuminated by sparkling LEDs.

There are four new engines, including: a 99g/km 140PS 2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX, offering large cost benefits to fleet and high-mileage drivers.

This is the model I tested, and I’ve got to say that it makes perfect sense if you live on the road.

Impressive range

The car sips fuel from the tank, yet delivers good performance and a safe, cocoon-like cabin.

In fact, I had the Vauxhall all week and drove all around the Midlands to Norfolk and back a few times without ever needing to top up.

That’s not surprising though because the ecoFLEX model can achieve up to 76.3mpg, giving the oil-burner a range of up to 1,175 miles.

Or put another way, you could feasibly travel from London to Budapest on one tank of fuel.

The Insignia offers a raft of technology, safety and comfort highlights.

These include radar and camera-based assistance systems (including adaptive cruise control and second-generation park assist), premium seats, and Open & Start, the keyless entry and start system, to name just a few.

Simple but high-tech dash

The boot is huge too, which is another benefit if, like me, you need to take lots of bags and clothes with you when you’re stopping in and out of different hotels.

Indeed, the car makes a perfect office-cum-home.

Gadgetry such as a DMB (Digital Media Broadcast) radio is standard, but the biggest change is a completely re-designed centre console and instrument cluster.

The dash has been simplified and now has fewer buttons for more intuitive operation of common functions, such as air conditioning, while the instrument cluster has new dials and a fresh, high-tech look.

Classic company car

An eight-inch infotainment display has touch-screen functionality, allowing you to access all functions and sub-menus such as radio stations, song titles, smartphone connection or 3D navigation in a safe way.

Its illuminated, touch-sensitive surface reacts immediately to your finger movements, with even individual letters and numbers being accessible via this method.

The Insignia’s combination of efficiency, design and state-of-the-art infotainment will certainly prove tempting to company car drivers and fleet decision-makers alike.

It may not have the cache of German executive mile-munchers but it’s the perfect alterative to less pretentious rivals such as the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, and Toyota Avensis.

Pros & cons

  • Economy √
  • Boot size √
  • Interior kit √
  • Home from home cabin √
  • Lacks prestige X

Fast facts

  • Max speed: 127 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 10.5 secs
  • Combined mpg: 76.3
  • Engine: 1956cc 4 cylinder 16 valve diesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 138 at 4000 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 258 at 1750 rpm
  • CO2: 99 g/km
  • Price: £20,799

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Tim Barnes-Clay

Leon Poultney

Tim is an experienced motoring writer with a background in radio and TV journalism. He puts his pedal to the metal each week with his must-read car reviews.

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