A Grand design
IN an era where SUVs and crossovers are all-conquering, the demise of the traditional family hatchback and saloon has been widely touted.
Well, step forward the Insignia Grand Sport which represents something of a fightback as – with a highlycompetitive price tag of £21,670 – it offers remarkable levels of comfort, equipment, practicality and style.
It is a package Vauxhall hopes will give a quality, attractively-priced alternative to the likes of the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4 as well as continuing to take on traditional rivals like the Ford Mondeo and those pesky crossovers.
The Insignia Grand Sport is not short of hi-tech kit as sat nav, air con and DAB radio – accessed through a colour touchscreen – are just for starters.
The main course includes cruise control, smartphone connectivity and keyless entry and ignition, while a delicious dessert sees a wi-fi internet connection and Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge service complete the tasty menu for the SRi Nav model.
With fleet buyers key for the latest Insignia, it is clear Vauxhall have made it a priority to cater for company sales reps ploughing up and down the motorway.
The 1.6-litre, 108bhp diesel is a punchy, yet frugal motor with a claimed combined town and motorway fuel economy figure of 70.6mpg and company car tax-reducing emissions of 105g/km.
There is also a 134bhp version as well as a two-litre oil burner producing an output of 168bhp, plus three petrol engines.
The Insignia Grand Sport sits on an new platform, which has allowed the car to expand compared to the previous incarnation. This, combined with a longer wheelbase, gives extra legroom for rear-seat passengers.
The swooping roofline means headroom isn’t quite as good, but it does give the exterior a sleek look and combines nicely with new design features such as a large grille on the front, natty daytime running lights and sculpted doors at the sides. The understated yet elegant look continues with the long bonnet and neat spoiler on the boot lid.
The interior design is obviously inspired by the current-generation Astra as many elements are similar – including the steering wheel and media controls. Material quality is good, and the fit and finish are excellent.
Once on the move, the ride is smooth in town with most humps and hollows well absorbed by the efficient suspension set-up.
The Insignia Grand Sport is a refined beast with engine and wind noise effectively excluded from the cabin – even at motorway speeds.
Take on a winding country lane and it shows a marked willingness to have fun with good levels of grip and weighty steering giving the driver plenty of confidence. For what is quite a big car the latest Insignia is nimble and composed.
It is easy to get comfortable behind the multifunction steering wheel and, despite the fact you sit fairly low, visibility is good and parking sensors make the car easy to slot into city centre spaces.
The boot offers plenty of room with 490 litres of space available with the seats up.
Since the first Insignia was launched in the UK ten years ago it has sold well and the latest Grand Sport version has every chance of proving just as popular.
TEST DRIVE VAUXALL INSIGNIA GRAND SPORT
Model: Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport SRi Nav 1.6 Turbo D Price: £21,670 Mechanical: 108bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox Max speed: 127mph 0-60mph: 10.9 seconds Combined mpg: 70.6 Insurance group: 14 CO2 emissions: 105g/km BiK rating: 23% Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles