- Power ranges from 110hp to 260hp
- New 1.5-litre petrol, plus carried-over diesels
- Six turbocharged choices in total
There are six engines to choose from – three petrol and three diesels – all of which are turbocharged. Only the 1.5-litre petrol is a new unit, the rest are carried over from the previous Insignia.
First up is the 1.5-litre Turbo – expected to be one of the big sellers in the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport line-up – with two different power outputs, 140hp and 165hp.
Top of the petrol range is a 2.0-litre, 260hp unit with a muscular 400Nm of torque, which comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission and torque vectoring all-wheel drive system, which we’ll explain further in the Handling section.
Expected to account for the majority of sales here is the 1.6-litre Turbo D with either 110hp or 136hp. While the 110hp unit offers the best fuel economy and CO2 emissions, it doesn’t look particularly inspiring in terms of performance.
We’ve driven the top-of-the-line diesel - a 2.0-litre unit with 170hp carried over from the last car – and were impressed by its punchy mid-range performance. There’s a bit of a delay at low revs and little value in stretching it beyond 4,500rpm, so you need to work the gearbox to keep the engine in this fairly narrow operating range.
Matched to a six-speed manual, we found all of third gear was needed to accelerate quickly to motorway speed. Still, it accelerates smoothly and is nice and quiet on a cruise.
There’s a choice here between a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic. The former is standard with most engines and the latter is an option on all but the 260hp petrol, where it is standard.
We’ve not driven the auto ‘box but found the manual to be easy to use, with a light and springy action that slots positively into each gear.
- Adequate rather than inspiring handling
- Lots of grip and planted, safe feel
- Torque vectoring and FlexRide options
This is one area where the old Insignia fell behind its rivals slightly, and the new car has caught up – but doesn’t exactly move the game on. And despite the fact the Mazda 6 and Ford Mondeo are still better to drive, the Insignia Grand Sport’s handling is more than up to the job, it's just not particularly entertaining.
The steering is quite light and doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback, but the car feels planted on the whole and there’s plenty of grip from the front and rear wheels.
Bearing in mind the size of the car and the quality of the ride, body control is impressive. You can induce quite a bit of lean in a fast corner but it doesn’t lurch around or dive badly under braking.
Torque vectoring all-wheel drive and FlexRide
Pick a car with all-wheel drive and torque vectoring and Vauxhall reckons the Insignia will handle even more precisely. That’s because it can send power to the wheel that needs it most, reacting quickly to changing surfaces and conditions.
We’ve yet to sample this system, or the adjustable FlexRide suspension, the latter offering a more comfortable or sporty ride depending on what sort of driving you’re doing.
- Much cleaner and decluttered look to the dashboard
- Some important functions retain a physical button
- Lots of driving position adjustment, even for tall drivers
The dashboard in the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport has undergone a comprehensive decluttering this time around, although there are still proper switches for important things like the air-conditioning and stereo.
This car retains its button-fest steering wheel, which on the one hand is quite useful but on the other is a bit of a headache to navigate at first.
While on the whole the interior is much better than before, in terms of material quality it still doesn’t quite feel as good as its premium rivals, or the more mainstream Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb – both of which are nicer to look at and use.
That said, the Insignia’s cabin looks a lot more upmarket now, especially if you opt for the larger digital display behind the wheel. The rev counter and fuel gauge are physical instruments but the speedometer is a customisable graphic version with a large numerical display.
It’s also easy to get into a comfortable driving position thank to the highly adjustable seat and steering wheel. Despite the width of the cabin, the armrests are appreciably close to the driver.
- Longer wheelbase improves ride comfort
- Even 20-inch wheels offer a good ride
- Noise levels in the car markedly improved
Thanks to a longer wheelbase than the previous car, the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport boasts better ride comfort than before, even on the large 20-inch wheels of our test car. We reckon the 18-inch option will be seriously smooth, and also a bit quieter on the move.
The front seats are large and cossetting and can be set really low down – great for tall drivers, and also improving rear passenger vision, making the cabin feel large and airy whereever you’re sat.
Heating is available for not just the front seats but also the two rears – plus the steering wheel can be warmed to help combat cold hands in the winter.
Engine noise from the 2.0-litre diesel at least is admirably hushed, although it gets a touch vocal at the top of the rev range. There’s a bit of wind rustle on the motorway but on the whole the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is a quiet and relaxing place to spend a long journey.