Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Much cleaner and decluttered look to the dashboard
  • Some important functions retain a physical button
  • Lots of driving position adjustment, even for tall drivers

As before, the Insignia Grand Sport’s cabin may not be the most exciting cabin to look at but it is functional. The dashboard underwent a comprehensive decluttering in this latest version, although there are still proper switches for important things like the air-conditioning and stereo.

The redesigned dash with its more coherent layout should please those coming from the previous generation Insignia and the sat-nav is relatively easy to use, managing to store up to 10 waypoints, should you want to plan a long route stopping along the way - as opposed to six on Fords fitted with the SYNC 3 media system.

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. The main quirk we could find was the heated steering wheel button being easily mistaken for the cruise control. Otherwise there are few complaints, even if it's a little difficult to read what setting the rotary headlight switch is pointing to.

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.

Comfort

  • Longer wheelbase improves ride comfort
  • Even 20-inch wheels offer a good ride
  • Noise levels in the car markedly improved

Covering long distances is what the Insignia does best and it’s all down to a combination of a supple ride, quiet cabin and well-damped controls - from the pedals, to the gearchange - that are easy to modulate.

The initial reservation of having to manage a clutch with a high biting point quickly dissipates thanks to the weighty pedals. The ride on the smaller wheels fitted to Design Nav models is smooth and well controlled, while the longer wheelbase also adds to the feeling of stability when cruising at higher speeds. Even the larger 20-inch wheels fitted to high-spec models don't have a disastrous effect, but we reckon the 18-inch option will be as big as you want to go to retain the balance of a smooth ride and lower levels of road noise on the move.

>> We took our Vauxhall Insignia on an epic drive - how comfy was it?

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. 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 nicely close to the driver.

With the larger external dimensions stepping towards the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, there is plenty of interior space for passengers. Despite the width of the cabin, the armrests are nicely close to the driver. That said, taller passengers sat in the rear may still brush the back of their head against the sloping roof.

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, with only a minor presence of road noise on poorer road surfaces. The optional laminated side windows also do a good job of eradicating wind noise that was present on the last model.