Insignia Tech Line 1.6 CDTi 136PS ecoFLEX
all the aspirational buzz,
most family car buyers arent
seduced by the glossy glut of SUVs
and crossovers competing for
their hard-earned cash they
still demand traditional room for
THE KIND OF ROOM for driver and passengers, as well as their luggage, that
only a large saloon or hatchback can provide. Think 'sensibly-priced, genuine
family five-seater' and one of the first that springs to mind is Vauxhall's
Insignia. Available in both practical five-door hatch and sporty estate versions,
there's a bodyshape to suit every need.
And that goes for the engines, too. While a 170mph VXR SuperSport hatch with
325PS tops the Insignia range, perfect for most will be the 136PS 1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX
model that not only delivers all the space you'll need but, fitted with Vauxhall's
responsive 'Whisper' diesel engine, delivers low running costs no road
tax ever (thanks to 99g/km emissions) and a real-world 58+mpg (we averaged 58.1mpg
over a week's hard driving).
58mpg is pretty damn good, there may be more to come for 'regular' drivers because
the official Combined Cycle figure is 74.3mpg easy to see why most buyers
are plumping for these wallet-friendly diesel models. Another easy-to-live-with
'plus' is the 70-litre (15.4-gallon) fuel tank which means as much as 750 miles
between fill- ups.
Whisper diesel engine
delivers low running
costs no road tax ever
(thanks to 99g/km
emissions) and a real-
(we averaged 58.1mpg
over a weeks hard
Regular drivers may
do even better because
the official Combined
Cycle figure is
British power outputs for the 136PS/320Nm unit are 134bhp and a hefty 236lb
ft of torque on call from 2,000rpm enough to take the six-speed manual
ecoFLEX to a near-double-the-legal-speed-limit 130mph and hit 60mph from standstill
in 10.9 seconds.
Looks-wise there's nothing 'sensibly priced' about the Insignia hatch. Fronted
by Vauxhall's latest 'family face' large grille and sharp LED headlight
treatment and capped by a coupe-esque roofline that slopes back to a
tailgate with cut-in rear light units linked by a broad chrome bar, it looks
decidedly elegant; and easily as eye-catching as some far more expensive executive
Measuring 4.8 metres long by 1.85 metres wide, the Insignia hatch gives you
a lot of footprint for your money and inside it's as big as it external
lines promise. The curvy wraparound dash promotes a twin-cockpit look, centre
stage of which sits one of Vauxhall's Navi 900 IntelliLink infotainment systems
with a decent size colour touchscreen; immediately below it is a neat cluster
of foolproof controls for the automatic climate system most drivers will
be happy with this set-up because they still like to use their fingers rather
than stab a touchscreen to adjust the heating and ventilation.
The infotainment system is as up-to-date as you need today with all the essential
connectivity tech and includes Bluetooth, SatNav, stereo DAB digital radio,
a CD/MP3 player, USB connection, and aux-in socket. There's also Apple CarPlay
so you can synch your smartphone with the display to access apps for music,
news, etc. Naturally there's audio streaming, and you can have text messages
The SatNav provides timely spoken directions supported by 3D mapping with landmarks
(amazingly useful even when you have some idea of where you are; invaluable
if you don't have a clue!). Full 7-character postcode destination input is another
plus point, and it's reassuring that you can choose either to be asked if you
want to change route to avoid congestion or just set the system to automatically
take care of it for you before you get close.
the Insignia's bodyshell there's space to comfortably accommodate five adults.
There's also a full fist of headroom for those sitting in the front seats, which
are supportive and all the better for quick-to-warm 3-stage heating with
the max setting providing some real heat. The driver is pampered that little
bit more than his front passenger, getting power adjustment for seat height
and four-way lumbar.
wheel is, of course,
controls for cruise and
the speed limiter, phone,
media, and the driver's
The wheel rim is also
heated; if you havent
yet tried one of these
dont knock it not only
is it a real boon on
frosty winter mornings,
but long journeys any
time of the year are better
if your fingers
Both seats benefit from non-intrusive but effective bolstering and smart fabric
upholstery. The footwells are made to take the biggest booted feet and there's
no risk of bashing your shins or knees; the 'clutch foot' rest is set at a relaxing
angle for those long runs 'in the cruise'.
The nicely grippy leather-rimmed steering wheel is, of course, multifunction
with controls for cruise and the speed limiter, phone, media, and the driver's
computer. Dials are clear and traditional in look, with unmistakable white-on-black
markings and glowing red needles. The driver's trip computer display shows all
the essentials including tyre pressures, range, etc, along with a must-have
digital speed readout.
For the record, the wheel rim is also heated; if you haven't yet tried one of
these don't knock it not only is it a real boon on frosty winter mornings,
but long journeys any time of the year are better if your fingers stay warm.
In-cabin storage space is in keeping with the Insignia's family-friendly status,
with plenty of cubbies one small and one medium box under the centre
front armrest (with USB and aux-in jacks and a 12v power source), twin siamesed
cupholders that also serve as a bin with a sliding lid, a deep 'coin' box in
the right-hand fascia, and a damped, lit-and-lined glovebox.
While Vauxhall's OnStar is optional, few will object to paying the extra £405
for this personal connectivity and mobility assistant because it provides in-car
4G Wi-Fi; it also connects you to an OnStar advisor rather than an automaton
and, most importantly, automatically notifies the emergency services if the
Other standard-fit equipment that's part and parcel of the Tech Line spec but
not already mentioned includes an electric parking brake (with hassle-free drive-away
automatic releasing), power-operated one-shot windows, rain-sensing wipers,
automatic lighting control (with tunnel detection), auto-dimming rearview mirror,
electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring, and
tinted glass. Externally there are LED daytime running lights and a set of 7-spoke
17-inch alloy wheels.
rear seat base height is just right so getting in and out of the rear cabin
is easy. The doors shut behind you with that pleasing thunk long associated
with quality engineering. Once settled, your passengers can truly 'lounge' thanks
to well-set backrest angles and decent knee-room.
turbodiesel lives up to
its Whisper name
you rarely hear it.
The 1.6-litre unit in the
Insignia does a fine job
of keeping it
refined in the cabin
the car shows its best
side as a restful long-
distance cruiser, when
you can settle back in
your seat and
let the miles waft
Views out are good with no penalties from the arching rear roofline and the
long windows power down all the way into the doors unusual on coupe-style
four-door models but nonetheless welcome for those who like a breath of 'real'
air. Also handy are the bottle-holding door bins and magazine pockets on the
The ecoFLEX turbodiesel lives up to its 'Whisper' name you rarely hear
it and yet it's a diesel of which even the best can sometimes give themselves
away. The 134bhp 1.6-litre unit in the Insignia does a fine job of keeping it
all refined in the cabin the car shows its best side as a restful long-distance
cruiser, when you can settle back in your seat and let the miles waft quietly
It helps too that with 236lb ft of torque you never need to 'wring it out'.
If you do feel you need to give it some wellie you'll find it keen enough, with
a willing partner in the smooth-changing six-speed manual 'box. It's also handy
to be able to turn off the eco-boosting stop-start system should you feel the
The front-wheel driven Insignia hatch has a 'can-do' stance that implies it's
'planted' and it feels that way from behind the wheel. There's decent
grip on offer, decent turn-in from the direct steering with composed and predictable
cornering, and the driver can see the road down the bonnet, so placing the Insignia
accurately is never a problem. In fact there's also fine visibility to the sides
and even through the narrow but wide rear screen. B-roads? Bring 'em on!
Vauxhall's engineers have also done a worthy job of balancing driver-friendly
handling with a passenger-friendly ride quality: overall it's a compliant and
even ride; more so when cruising. And the 225 section tyres play an active par
their deep ('55' profile) sidewalls absorbing some of the physical disturbance
from harder bumps.
For some people a boot is just somewhere to sling the weekly shop… The Insignia's
boot is big enough, at 530 litres, to take a lot more than just a week's shopping.
And while there's a short drop over the load sill down into the boot, it's not
a problem it's also surprisingly deep with flat sides, so when loading
cases and regular-shaped items you can utilise every inch.
those occasions when you need to utilise the full loadbay, dropping the 60:40
split-folding rear backrests takes but seconds (the belts stay well out of the
way, which is good) and opens up a cargo bay that will swallow as much as 1,470
litres. And, unlike in some hatchbacks, the space opened up by folding the Insignia's
rear seats is a full-width and full-height rectangular cut-out so you really
can make full use of it.
some people a boot
is just somewhere to
sling the weekly shop...
The Insignias boot is big
enough, at 530 litres,
to take a lot more than
just a weeks shopping:
folding down the
60:40 split rear backrests
opens up a 1,470-litre
If you prefer to pull your load along behind you then the 136PS ecoFLEX unit
can haul a braked 1,800kg. And should ever have the misfortune of a puncture,
you'll find a tyre repair kit under floor.
Safety is well covered with a EuroNCAP five-star rating, six airbags, height-adjustable
front seatbelts, and Isofix child seat mounts in the rear. ESP (Electronic Stability
Programme) is standard plus there are a number of optional advanced driver's
aids such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise
control, and auto-park with front and rear cameras (with blind spot and rear
With a 'whisper quiet' diesel under the bonnet, room for five adults, over 500
litres for luggage, and 58+mpg, the smartly-styled Insignia is a big hit with
buyers. Better still, buying and running one won't break the family bank. ~
Vauxhall Insignia Tech Line 1.6 CDTi 136PS ecoFLEX
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-60mph: 10.9 seconds | Test Average: 58.1mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2: 99g/km