The Vauxhall Insignia is one of the most popular choices for company car buyers who clock up a lot of motorway miles. First introduced in 2008, the Insignia is a sensible choice in a hugely contested executive hatchback market. The Insignia isn’t the most exhilarating car to drive in its class, nor does it have the best resale values, but it is practical, reliable, and incredibly efficient if you choose the right model.
An update in 2013 featured a major facelift, with more attractive aesthetics, new engines, and improved safety technology.
Solid build quality, but not the most luxurious
One of the Insignia’s weaknesses is in its cabin. Build quality is excellent, but the materials used aren’t anywhere near as classy as in a Volkswagen Passat. There’s plenty of storage space, but not class-leading, whilst there’s also generous equipment, even in basic models.
The dashboard, updated in 2013, takes styling cues from the rest of the Vauxhall range. That makes it feel contemporary, but it’s let down by a lack of prestige. The materials used to make the cabin feel built to last, but they don’t feel as plush as those you’d find in a Ford Mondeo, or a Passat. It should be said that it isn’t nasty in any way, and controls are well-damped, but it just isn’t up there with the class-leaders.
Storage space in the Insignia is pretty impressive, though again it is not class-leading. With a 530 litre boot capacity there’s more than enough room for a big family shop, or even a full family’s holiday luggage, but it’s still smaller than the Skoda Octavia (590 litres) and the Volkswagen Passat (585 litres). The boot opening is nice and wide however, so getting awkward shaped items in and out is nice and easy.
Equipment levels in the Insignia are pretty impressive, even with the most basic Design trim. A car specced in this guise still comes with climate control, cruise control, DAB radio, electric windows, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. If you need sat-nav, it’s worth upgrading to the Tech Line trim, which also adds automatic lights and wipers, as well as a few other luxuries.
All in all, the interior of the Insignia is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s well-built, generously equipped, and reasonably spacious, but is let down in key areas.
On The Road
Comfortable, but it’s neither refined or fun
The Vauxhall Insignia isn’t the most engaging car to drive in its class. There’s plenty of grip through the corners, and for when the weather doesn’t hold up, but the steering feels artificial. It actually offers very little feedback, which makes for an uninspiring, numb driving experience. Compare it side by side with the Ford Mondeo, and the Insignia doesn’t even come close.
Suspension and Chassis
One area in which you’d expect the Insignia to excel is motorway ride refinement. Unfortunately however, this isn’t the case. The ride is particularly choppy on 18” alloy wheels, but even on the standard 16” wheels it doesn’t feel settled. It actually feels quite nervous on the motorway, which is far from ideal. There’s also a lot of road, engine, and wind noise at speed, so it’s not the best cruiser in the class either.
Gearbox options in the Insignia come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual that’s well geared, though it is a little notchy. There’s also a six speed automatic available that’s both smooth and refined, and better suited to the Insignia’s capabilities.
Super efficient diesels are the pick of the bunch
When it comes to deciding how you want power your Insignia, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s a good range of outputs to suit most buyers needs, whilst the diesels are super efficient.
If you’re all about performance, there are two obvious choices - the petrol-powered 2.8T V6 VXR, with its 325bhp engine, that can hit 60mph in just 6 seconds. Or, if you want something that gives you all the performance you could ever want, without the juvenile flashiness, the diesel-powered 2.0 CDTi does 0-60 in 9 seconds and kicks on to 140mph. That’s going to be enough to keep most drivers happy.
Eco-conscious buyers will be pleased with some of the engines in the Insignia range, and in particular with the 2.0 CDTi (140) ecoFLEX engine. This diesel unit produces just 98g/km of CO2 emissions, which is not only great for the environment, it’s also great for the pocket, as this model is road tax exempt. This engine is also the best option for money savers, as it is the most economical in the range. With up to 76.3mpg on offer, you can save yourself even more money at the fuel pumps each week.
There’s a big range of engines on offer in the Insignia range so it’s worth sitting down and considering your options before buying. The diesel engines are without doubt the pick of the bunch, both for family, and fleet drivers.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests with a good range of standard safety features
Like nearly every car in its class, the Vauxhall Insignia easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. The Insignia scored impressively in the adult safety category, with 94%, though the 40% pedestrian safety results is a little on the disappointing side. Nevertheless, Vauxhall supplies the Insignia with an array of safety features. Even entry-level models come with stability control and six airbags. Optional extras include lane assist, and adaptive cruise control, which utilises an automatic emergency braking system.
Value for money
Good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Vauxhall Insignia is one of the best value cars in its class. Not only is it one of the cheapest to buy, it’s also affordable to run. This obviously varies from model to model, but if you stick to diesel you’ll get low CO2 emissions and high fuel consumption. The VXR model is one to avoid unless you’ve got deep pockets however, as it’s both thirsty, and incredibly expensive to tax each year.
Insurance groups, again, vary completely depending on which model you choose. Starting at insurance group 7 for the entry-level 1.8i VVT Design, but continuing all the way up to group 38 for the immensely powerful 2.8T V6 VXR SuperSport Nav. Generally speaking, whichever model you choose to go for, you shouldn’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Insignia, but is mainly of concern if you’re buying a new one. First year depreciation is a big consideration with any model, but particularly one that fits in the more mainstream end of the market, such as the Insignia. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Vauxhall Insignia is a very sensible option if you’re a family buyer looking for a reliable spacious hatchback, or a fleet buyer looking for a solid mile muncher. It’s not quite as impressive as a Ford Mondeo, or a Volkswagen Passat, but it is significantly cheaper, especially when you’re buying a used model.
Buying a used Vauxhall Insignia online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Vauxhall Insignia for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Vauxhall Insignia. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Vauxhall Insignia online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Vauxhall Insignia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Insignia, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Vauxhall Insignia, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Vauxhall to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.