Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Two petrols and two diesels on offer
  • Choice of manual or auto gearboxes
  • No plug-in hybrid variant

Vauxhall’s introduced a totally new range of engines in the Insignia for its 2020 facelift. They consist of two petrol and two diesel options, with power outputs ranging from 122hp to 230hp in the GSi range-topper.

It’s quite a straightforward range, consisting solely of straight combustion engines – there’s no hybrid trickery here to get confused by. That does mean it can’t compete with the growing number of hybrid family cars, such as the Volkswagen Passat GTE or BMW 330e.

Diesel engines

The range kicks off with a modestly-powered 122hp 1.5-litre diesel. It’s not quick, with 0-62mph taking 10.7 seconds when equipped with a manual gearbox or a glacial 11.5 seconds with the optional eight-speed auto.

We’ve driven this engine in the Astra and found it to be pretty pleasant, though, ideally suited to cruising with decent punch in the mid-range and great refinement considering it only has three cylinders.

More suited to the Insignia’s bulk is the 2.0-litre diesel, which has 174hp and will do 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds (8.4 with the auto). It has plenty of shove and should make decent progress fairly effortless.

Both diesels come with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. The latter feels more natural for a big, comfortable car like the Insignia, but both are geared to keep the engines relaxed at high speed.

Petrol engines

The two petrol engines are both 2.0-litres in capacity, and as standard are paired to nine-speed automatic gearboxes. There’s one with 200hp and a 230hp variant reserved for the range-topping GSi, that also comes equipped with four-wheel drive.

Despite the power difference there’s very little to choose between them on performance – the 200hp engine will do 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds, the 230hp in 7.0.

It’s generally a smooth and quiet engine – though it quickly becomes raucous at high rpm, when you’re just pootling around there are plenty of gears to ensure you’re always in the power band.

Both petrols excel at high speed, where they’re nearly silent and have plenty of power in reserve.

Handling

  • Adequate rather than inspiring handling
  • Lots of grip and planted, safe feel
  • Top GSi models have all-wheel drive

The Insignia’s rivals include the great-handling Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6, but it doesn’t disgrace itself on the handling front in this distinguished company. It’s not particularly dynamic, but instead is comfortable, with accurate steering and great control of its big, heavy body.

The car feels planted as a whole and there’s plenty of grip from both ends.

Most models are front-wheel drive which is absolutely fine for most, but GSi cars come with all-wheel drive, capable of sending power to whichever wheel needs it most. It also includes torque vectoring, which utilises the AWD system to aid cornering as well as grip.

GSi models also come with adjustable suspension, which can be set to one of four firmness levels. The standard ‘Tour’ mode is great for cruising around, as it’s very comfortable even on the large, 20-inch wheels that come as standard.