Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
  • Good spread of power and economy
  • Efficient diesels and fast petrols
  • New Whisper Diesel produces low CO2

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback performance is doled out via a range of petrol and diesel engines.

Petrol power

The entry-level petrol engine is a 1.8-litre with 140bhp. That’s good for 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds and a top speed of 129mph, plus it’s capable of returning 38.7mpg.

You can get the same power but lower emissions from the 1.4-litre turbo, which produces 124g/km and promises 53mpg.

Finally the top of the petrol range is occupied by a 2.0-litre turbo with 248bhp, good enough to sprint from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds.

For the ultimate in Insignia performance you’ll want the Vauxhall Insignia VXR

Diesel engines

New for 2015 is a 1.6-litre “Whisper” diesel which produces 134bhp and can power from 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds. It’s a quiet running thing as the name would suggest.

It also produces just 99g/km of CO2 with 17-inch alloys and ultra-low rolling resistance tyres, plus promises 74.3mpg.

The 2.0-litre CDTi comes with 168bhp and CO2 emissions of between 114 and 147g/km, plus a claimed 65.7mpg in its most efficient guise.

Previous engines

There has been a lot of change in the Insignia’s engine line-up resulting in some interesting units which can be picked up second hand.

These include a petrol 1.6 turbo which produced 180bhp, and a smooth 2.8-litre V6, also benefiting from a turbo, which powered from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds.

There was also a BiTurbo diesel which could be had with four-wheel drive and cracked the benchmark sprint in 8.2 seconds.

Parkers recommends

The Whisper Diesel is a high water mark in terms of refinement, plus with good power and economy it makes a strong all-rounder.

The Insignia still isn’t up to the standards of its main alternative, the Ford Mondeo, when it comes to driving. It doesn’t corner as well, isn’t as composed and lacks the Ford’s well-weighted and responsive controls. The ride is smooth and comfortable on the motorway, but comes unstuck when dealing with the potholes on backroads – it can be too stiff and doesn’t feel as sure-footed as similar cars. SRi models with larger wheels and low profile tyres are particularly poor. There is the option of a ‘Flexride’ system that allows you to choose a comfortable or sporty set-up for the car. This takes the form of two buttons on the dash marked ‘Tour’ (a more comfortable setting) or ‘Sport’ (firmer and more responsive). The 2.0T and 2.8T V6 – the two turbocharged petrol engines – are also available with ‘Adaptive 4×4’. In slippery conditions this senses when a wheel has little or no grip and applies more power to the other wheels to compensate.

Update in 2013

Following the 2013 facelift, the Insignia handles slightly better thanks to revised suspension. It’s still not the last word in ultimate cornering, but its revised steering and damping do present drivers with improved body control. It’s obvious the car has been tuned mainly for comfort, though – there’s noticeable roll through corners if you take them a little too enthusiastically.