Having taken some annual leave from work recently, the seemingly ever-faithful Insignia has enjoyed some respite from being a commuter carriage to take on the more leisurely role of household hack. After deciding to smarten up the garden and do some around-the-house chores, the back seat has been up and down more times than the ones at your local cinema.
Cramming the boot with compost, bark chippings and even a self-assembly three-seater wooden garden bench has brought to the fore some issues with the cargo loadbay. It’s not so much as a grumble about the available space, far from it in fact, more so about the layout of the floor that could cause a minor concern.
Things that go bump in the boot
The problem revolves around the total lack of a flat and lump-free cargo bay, a bit of a let-down for a large family car.
The backrests of the rear seats fold almost fully flat which you don’t always find these days, but there’s a notable ridge and hump that spans the entire width of the rear floor. This means anything large, flat and heavy requires an extra pair of hands and/or much huffing and puffing to put in.
Once this has been overcome though, you certainly can cram a fair amount of significant clutter into the Insignia, and passenger-wise you can also bundle in a healthy number of people too. Having just ventured up to Essex to do a photoshoot I ended up with a full complement of passengers on the way back. Once again, the effortless way it devours tarmac and distance came to the fore.
It hoovers up the distances and passengers seem impressed
Once all the passengers had alighted upon returning to base, a back seat driver quipped: ‘she goes OK doesn’t she?’. But they also remarked about the lack of a rear centre armrest – once again, a bit of a mark down for a large family car. But practicality and convenience aside, there’s little else to report.
Following on from our last update, the repair to the rear tyre has completely cured the intermittent tyre pressure warning system, and the infotainment software update caused no upset to its operation despite me having to pair up my Bluetooth devices for a second time after leaving the dealership. All I really need to do now is plug the vacuum cleaner in to the extension cable and suck away all that aforementioned gardening detritus from the boot.
Fuel economy: 51.1mpg
By Mike Humble
Update six: Big wheels keep on turning
At my last update, the Insigina was due for some minor attention from my local Vauxhall agent. This was due to a misbehaving tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and the need to get some some in-service recalls sorted.
Well, I am pleased to say these have been attended to swiftly and without fuss by the main dealer a few miles up the road in Crawley. The main fault turned out to be no problem with the car itself after all.
Apologies if you were expecting a problematic read this time, it just doesn’t appear to working out that way after all does it? The TPMS error that was occasionally flagging up on the cars dash panel was actually informing me of a puncture.
This seemed a little bizarre as only a couple of pounds of air had been squeezed into the tyre from an update I’ve already published with nothing else since. But the reoccurrence of the lamp nevertheless required investigation.
Blame the Insignia's ills on a 'Foreign Affair'
It was nothing more than a very slow puncture caused by a foreign object working its way into the centre area of the tyre tread rather than an electronic glitch on the manufacturer’s part.
Arriving at Go! Vauxhall Crawley for the earliest possible appointment (7.30am) the keys were handed over and I retired to the waiting lounge and coffee machine. After a browse through the latest brochures, a couple of sweet teas and a chat with one its used car sales executives putting the motor trade to rights, the car was ready.
The puncture was repaired and the total bill came an agreeable £18, the service recalls were dealt with free of charge. I left the dealership feeling happy and satisfied not to mention impressed with the staff who I came into contact with.
Quality of service was very impressive
As with all of the volume brand outlets, some impress while some can make you feel less than appreciated. The overall experience so far is of a car that just knuckles down to the job in hand and its nearest dealer that compliments it – an ideal motoring package.
A high flyer but with a slightly rough landing: It’s spent plenty of time on the motorway too. We’ve already mentioned about its long legged ability and on the motorway is where the Insignia SRi really shines.
The six ratios are set up for performance lower down the speed range but once slotted into the high overdrive top the car effortlessly laps up the mileage like a Cat does with spilt milk. Only the rather joggly ride in urban environments thanks to the large upgraded wheels and stiff suspension is a notable niggle.
19in alloys look good, but give stiff ride
But on the flip side, I can live with it simply because the car looks that bit more business-like and dare I say it, aggressive with the optional VX-Line wheels, suspension and styling kit. There was a standard SRi in the showroom and it looked rather plain in comparison.
As a long distance battle cruiser the Insignia SRi CDTi 170 is proving to be a competent weapon with efficient back up behind it.
Update five: Tyred and emotional
Oh, how wonderful it is to enjoy ticking off the miles in a reliable car. Let’s be frank, it’s everyone’s ideal world – unless you just happen to be a garage proprietor that is. Our Vauxhall Insignia SRi has settled into the fold so well, you’d almost think we’d owned it from new.
Quick steering, monumental low-down torque and the ability to cling on to a fast long bend as well as a Virgin Pendolino makes the car a really competent and satisfying driving tool – good grief, are we really talking about a Vauxhall here?
It’s very economical too, providing you cruise a lot or commute over a decent distance, as I do. When you’re bored of following that slow-moving object ahead, one quick tug on the gear stick finds you clear and away with no drama – oh, I love its torque.
But flawless behaviour makes for dull reading and I can duly report that the Insignia requires attention. It’s not so much as blotted the copy-book, just slightly blemished it in one small corner. I’ve become a victim of modern technology, but things aren’t that bad.
On a handful of occasions since first taking the keys the dashboard has signalled a tyre pressure problem with the rear offside wheel. Then as quickly as the occurrence happens it all shows normal again, but when the problem does show, the car thinks it has a puncture.
The first time happened on the way back from Parkers Towers which caused me to dive on to the hard shoulder of the M11. After the obligatory scratch of the head and kick of the tyre, a diversion into Birchanger Green services saw me robbed of ten bob on the forecourt.
Sensors working overtime
Tyre pressures were all normal so it was put down to one of those ‘oh well never mind’ affairs. Twice more this happened the other week then again only a day or so ago. Having a bit of mechanical gumption I arrived at the conclusion there might be a glitch in the electronic tyre pressure monitoring system, TPMS, so a call was put into my local Vauxhall dealer.
They must be busy right now as the next available appointment isn’t for a couple of weeks. That suits me fine actually as the fault is intermittent, not serious enough to warrant mass panic and besides, I am off work that week. The jovial service receptionist reckoned another branch further afield could look sooner but I declined.
While I’m there they want to do a couple of in-service recall items and software updates that all manufacturers do from time to time. I’ll be waiting there while they beaver away so expect a report on how efficient they are, not to mention how good the coffee is!
By Mike Humble
Update four: The car’s the OnStar
We’ve had a bit of a change around here at Parkers. As a result, I’ve adopted the Network Q Insignia and I’m pleased to report that it’s settling into the family very nicely indeed.
My initial thoughts are positive. The 2.0 170PS Whisper Diesel unit is well spoken and smooth nearly all of the time - unless you drive to the max that is.
Diesel idle clatter is subdued and vibration-free and the engine only starts to roughen in tone as the engine nears top revs. What I do like is the gutsy get-up-and-go thanks to a decent 400Nm of torque that reaches full cry from 1,750rpm.
That said, and unlike many smaller units offering a similar amount of power, the torque build-up is there much lower down the rev range. Apply the throttle from 1,100rpm in any gear and it’s just there with almost instant response.
Vauxhall claims a sub nine seconds sprint from 0-60mph, but the engine's flexibility makes it feel a lot quicker than that. The six manual gear ratios are just right for a balance of spirited sling-shot or motorway work, it’s quite a decent driver’s car and very relaxing on a smooth, long road despite the sports suspension.
I’m a system addict
The OnStar system (a £405 option on this car) connects you with a 365/24-7 UK-based call centre that can assist with you almost anything from sourcing the nearest electrical shop to finding out what’s the world’s largest teddy bear – ideal for settling those in-car arguments we all enjoy.
It also provides you with a 4G WiFi hotspot to enable those younger back-seat passengers to Tweet, Facebook, Snapchat or whatever their hearts desire to pass the time on long journeys. But OnStar is so much more than that, it really has important advantages and benefits everyone will appreciate.
Despite the name sounding like an 80s pop group, this very clever and seemingly under-advertised unique feature in a mainstream car also offers lifesaving technology. In the event of an accident where an airbag is deployed, the system opens a channel and you are asked if assistance is required.
Should you fail to respond, the trained advisor will pinpoint your car via the 4G WiFi link and send the emergency services to your location. If a warning light shows on the instrument panel, for example, OnStar can diagnose the fault through the vehicle’s management system and advise you of the seriousness of the problem and what you need to do.
Vauxhall seems to undersell this system that has been proven to actually save lives in its extreme capabilities. For the time being it’s pretty unique, far from being a gimmick and both impressive and easy to use. I’ve used OnStar frequently since its UK launch and can honestly say it just works.
Watch our video of OnStar in action:
Mileage: 10,247 miles
Fuel economy: 54mpg
By Mike Humble
Update three: what’s the finance like?
So, we’ve done the sums on our Insignia SRi VX-Line Nav to see how much it’ll cost you in monthly payments, as you can still get this old model brand new from the dealer.
High monthly payments
The cash price is £27,385 with the options of our car fitted, however if you choose to buy the car outright at the end of the agreement (a £7,773 optional final payment), you’ll actually be paying £29,205 once you’ve added the interest charges.
Is it cheaper to finance a new Insignia Grand Sport?
Yes, it is. Rather confusingly, you can still order the old Insignia, despite the new Grand Sport also being available to order.
We’ve calculated how much it’ll cost if you go for the new and improved Insignia Grand Sport, and it’s looking favourable for the new car.
You can order the exact same spec – SRi VX-Line Nav (top-spec Elite pictured) with the same 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine – and we’ve added options so the models are comparably equipped. However, the new car’s cash price, with those extras, is £24,815; considerably less than the old model to start with.
With the same £3,000 deposit, the new Insignia Grand Sport will cost £383* per month over 37 months at the same 3.7 % APR interest rate.
There’s a higher optional final payment of £9,820 if you wish to own the car at the end of the term, however you’ll still be paying less overall – £26,600. That’s even less than our Insignia’s cash price before any interest charges, too.
Better deals on the new Grand Sport
Vauxhall appears to be its own worst enemy when it comes to finance costs. Based on the exact spec of our long-term test car and its brand new equivalent, there’s no benefit in opting for the older model thanks to the new car’s lower list price and monthly payments.
The only saving grace would be if you’re able to wangle a deal on the outgoing car with your local Vauxhall garage if you must buy one new.
And the rivals?
Opt for a Ford Mondeo in sporty ST-Line spec with a similar list of equipment, and you’ll pay £412* per month over 36 months with a £3,000 deposit and 9,000-mile annual limit. An optional final payment of £9,111 means you’ll pay £26,940 overall – the car’s list price – as Ford is currently offering interest-free credit.
The Skoda Superb Sportline 2.0 TDI with 150hp offers more interior space than both of these cars and, at £376* per month with 4.9% APR, it’s the cheapest to pay for monthly (again with a £3,000 deposit).
This is partly thanks to a £2,500 deposit contribution from Skoda on top of your £3,000 deposit, but you’ll still be paying £30,805 overall if you choose to pay the £12,130 optional final payment to make the car yours at the end of the agreement.
Meanwhile, drivers after the most upmarket large five-door hatchback could actually save money over the outgoing Insignia with the Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI ultra, which weighs in at £485* per month with the same contract terms.
If you’re looking for an Insignia on finance…
Go for the Grand Sport. Not only will you get your hands on a newer, more up-to-date car, you’ll also be forking out less each month and over three years, depending whether you choose to buy the car at the end of the term.
If you’re not too fussed about having the newest version of the Insignia, though – and manage to haggle a huge saving on the outgoing car – then this could work in its favour.
Mileage: 8,438 miles
Fuel economy: 45.1mpg
By Tom Goodlad
*Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week.
Second report: What you get for the money
When a car nears the end of its production cycle, manufacturers like to throw some extra bits of equipment at them, sometimes at lower prices to tempt some last-minute buyers into grabbing a deal before a new version comes along.
And, to some degree, our Insignia benefits from this treatment with a healthy list of standard kit for the price.
What’s standard on an Insignia SRi VX-Line Nav?
As well as that catchy name (thankfully it’s not spelled out across the bootlid) SRi-spec cars come with the following kit thrown in:
- Lowered sports suspension
- Sports pedals
- Sports seats with extendable cushion
- Tinted rear windows
- DAB radio
- Bluetooth phone connectivity
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- LED daytime running lights
- Cruise control
- Automatic lights
The VX-Line Nav version builds on this with:
- 19-inch ‘Atomic’ alloy wheels
- Body kit including small rear lip spoiler
- Flat-bottomed leather steering wheel
- Visible exhaust
- Navi 900 Intellilink touchscreen sat-nav
Our car also comes with:
- OnStar (£405), which allows access to a concierge-style service (Vauxhall calls it your ‘Personal Onboard Assistant') providing automatic emergency assistance, onboard WiFi and sat-nav directions downloaded straight to the car via a central call centre in the UK. We’ll focus more on the OnStar services in a later update
- Front and rear parking sensors (£460) are a must on a car of this size, especially as rearward visibility isn’t a strong suit
There are some interesting quirks, though – while the car has automatic lights, it doesn’t have automatic wipers, two things that usually go hand-in-hand.
While it’s not the end of the world, it’s disappointing that a car costing north of £25,000 new doesn’t come with them. However, as a nearly-new offering for the same price as a brand new Corsa, we can’t complain too much – you still get a lot of car for the money.
We’re keen to see how Vauxhall’s OnStar service works, though. Hopefully we won’t need to make use of the emergency assistance on offer (although it’s nice to know it’s there should the worst happen), but we will be trying out the facility to have a destination downloaded straight to the sat-nav via the company’s central call centre very soon.
Economical 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine
The 170hp 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine under the bonnet of our Insignia is a tried-and-tested one, with some appealingly low official economy figures bound to tempt potential buyers looking for manageable running costs.
Claimed fuel economy is 62.8mpg – we’re keen to see how close we can get to this on commuter-style journeys up and down the motorway – while CO2 emissions are rated at 118g/km. As it’s a 66-plate car, it falls into VED band C under the pre-April 1 2017 system for £30 annual road tax.
In terms of performance, the 0-62mph benchmark sprint can be completed in 9.4 seconds, but it’s unlikely we’ll be finding this out on the road – this car is more about cruising on the motorway, and so far it’s impressing us with strong refinement and its punchy diesel powerplant (that’ll be the 400Nm of torque on tap from 1,750rpm).
In fact, in just a couple of weeks the Insignia has been pounding the tarmac and we’ve put just over 1,000 miles on the clock.
So far, it’s returning close to 50mpg in varied driving and over 600 miles on a tank of diesel – long may this frugality continue.
Mileage: 7,544 miles
Fuel economy: 47.8mpg
By Tom Goodlad
First report: Welcome to Parkers
With new car finance the dominant way of purchasing a car these days, focus has overwhelmingly switched to buying new.
But what if you don’t want to tie yourself into a three- or four-year contract or pay high interest charges? You can still go for a used or nearly new option with the benefits of buying new, such as the remainder of a new car warranty and the guarantee it's been prepared to a high standard.
With a new Insignia Grand Sport just about to launch in the UK, we’ve got our hands on a nearly new version of the outgoing Insignia in SRi VX-Line trim to see if it makes sense to go for this sensible - yet popular - mile-muncher as a run-out model.
New, this car cost £25,805 before adding any options, but a quick Parkers Valuation reveals this six-month-old example would now be on a Vauxhall forecourt for £16,780 - a signifcant saving.
We're also keen to see how it compares with the new Grand Sport when we swap it over for one this summer.
Our test car is a 2.0-litre diesel in SRi VX-Line trim
You’d struggle to believe the Insignia is an eight-year-old design – it still looks good thanks to a refresh in 2012, especially in our SRi VX-Line Nav trim. We’ll dive into what kit comes as standard in a future update, but first impressions are good and we think it still looks very smart.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine with 170hp driven through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
My 100-mile round trip to and from the Parkers office five days a week is prime commuter-style journey (the Insignia is a firm favourite with company car drivers), so it’ll be good to see how well it laps up the miles.
Trying out Network Q dealer service
We picked up the 66-plate car from Forest Gate Vauxhall in Corby with just shy of 6,500 miles on the clock – it’s been plucked directly from Vauxhall’s Network Q national stock. Rather conveniently, Network Q’s national storage and refurbishment centre is located just down the road.
Why this dealer? It may not be Vauxhall’s flagship showroom, but it was the dealer that debuted the Network Q system more than 20 years ago.
It started off as a multi-franchise used car scheme that offered multi-point checks to ensure the car was up to standard, a comprehensive warranty and roadside assistance among the benefits.
We’re hoping we don’t need to make use of these services in our time with the car, but buyers will no doubt feel reassured with this back up, should anything go wrong with their car.
The Insignia has settled in well to the rigours of life on the Parkers fleet after just a couple of weeks. It feels solid and well-built and, because of its 6k mileage, it’s already nicely run in and the engine feels pokey and refined. We think it looks especially good and bang up to date in SRi VX-Line trim with its enormous 19-inch alloys and body kit.
We’re looking forward to seeing how it copes as a commuter car (we have high hopes) and if it makes sense to go for an older model that costs almost £10,000 less than it did six months ago.
In a few months’ time we’ll be swapping VX66 KKN for the all-new Insignia Grand Sport to see just how much Vauxhall has stuck to what appears to be a winning formula for company car drivers.
Mileage: 6,486 miles
Fuel economy: 62.8mpg (claimed)