Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Power ranges from 110hp to 210hp
  • New 1.5-litre petrol, plus carried-over diesels
  • Six turbocharged choices in total

There are six engines to choose from – two petrol and four diesels – all of which are turbocharged. Only the 1.5-litre petrol was a new unit, the rest are carried over from the previous Insignia.

Petrol engines in the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

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. It takes 9.3 seconds to get from 0-60mph with the lower-powered engine and top speed is 140mph. This rises to 138mph on the higher-powered engine, while the 0-60mph time drops to 8.4 seconds.

Diesel engines in the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

Expected to account for the majority of sales here is the 1.6-litre Turbo D with either 110hp or 136hp. The 110hp unit offers the best fuel economy and CO2 emissions, and while it doesn’t look particularly inspiring in terms of performance, it feels perfectly capable for a majority of everyday driving situations - especially if you drive alone the majority of the time. There's still 300Nm of torque on offer and even though the 0-60mph time of 11.1 seconds is hardly exciting, this engine is perfectly capable of pulling the Insignia along without feeling laboured. Top speed is 127mph.

The 136hp version sees the 0-60 time drop to 9.9 seconds and top speed rise up to 131mph. Opt for the automatic gearbox and this actually has the same 127mph top speed as the 110hp manual, with a 0-60mph time of 10.2 seconds.

We’ve also driven the larger capacity 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.

Joining the range later on is the 2.0-litre BiTurbo D, producing 210hp and 480Nm of torque. This is only available with an eight-speed automatic and sends power through all four wheels. It takes 7.4 seconds to get from 0-60mph and top speed is 145mph.

Gearboxes in the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

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.

Handling

  • 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 latest car caught up – but didn'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, as we found out in our long termer.

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.

While the steering is initially slow to respond off-centre, this does progressively improve and you can find a certain rhythm down a country lane. The Insignia Grand Sport will never be mistaken as sporty, but the handling is safe and secure, if a little unexciting. To our surprise the steering on the 1.6 diesel model felt better to use than the petrol 1.5-litre petrol SRI Nav model, which suffered from too much artificial weighting and completely masked any sensation of what the front wheels were doing.

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.