New Insignia Grand Sport Review

By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring journalist – tweeting @carwriteups

The latest Insignia is not necessarily something you’ll aspire to drive, but you know it’s a logical choice. It’s reasonably priced and there are plenty to choose from. The Vauxhall won’t break the bank to run, either - and it’s big enough to seat five people.

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2017 saw a name-change for the car; it was retitled the ‘Insignia Grand Sport’. But the new Insignia has far more about it than a re-badging. Indeed, Vauxhall has moved the game on significantly. You are still not going to fantasise about leasing or buying this model, but you’ll be beaming at how much car you get for your cash.

So, what’s the Insignia Grand Sport like? Well, the Vauxhall is on a brand-new platform, and it’s now larger than the former Insignia. This translates to more legroom for rear-seat passengers. On the other hand, the coupe-esque roofline does mean lofty occupants will find their heads skimming the headliner. The boot makes up for that bit, though. It’s big and square and has a cargo capacity of 490 litres. This means there’s lots of room for luggage, shopping, or even your children’s bikes and scooters. 

Aesthetically, the new Insignia has a bunch of up-to-the-minute design features. The most pronounced is an elongated bonnet and an attractive boot spoiler. A larger grille and daytime running lights have also been thrown into the mix. It all adds up to a quietly handsome appearance, meaning the car is far easier on the eye than its predecessor.

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Move inside the five-door hatchback’s cabin and, immediately, it’s a familiar affair. If you have driven the modern Vauxhall Astra, you will see that the instrumentation is almost one and the same. This is especially the case around the touchscreen and steering wheel. The Insignia Grand Sport is nicely bolted together inside, although some scratchy plastics spoil an otherwise classy cabin.

On the move, the Griffin-badged car is easy to pilot. The touchscreen means less buttons clutter the dashboard. Furthermore, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can be connected, giving the Insignia a more contemporary and advanced feel. 

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The Grand Sport has a mixture of engines propelling it. These span from the excellent value 140PS 1.5-litre petrol turbo, to the flagship 260PS 2.0-litre petrol turbo 4x4. Vauxhall’s diesel engines encompass a 110PS 1.6-litre turbo diesel, up to a 170PS 2.0-litre powerplant.

I drove the Insignia Grand Sport in 140PS 1.5 petrol turbo semblance, and found it to be a praiseworthy handler, especially around twisty rural routes. The hatchback smooths out tarmac protuberances admirably and turns in to bends with accuracy. The most perceivable difference between the Grand Sport and the retreating Insignia is how ready to act it now is. It is more alert and far less ungainly on S-bends. It is also poised, muted and relaxing when cruising on motorways.

Fitted with the 1.5-litre engine and easy-shifting manual six-speed gearbox, 0-62mph can be reached in 9.3 seconds - and the top speed is 130mph. More meaningfully, the Grand Sport, in this guise, will do just a shade under 48mpg on average and CO2 emissions are relatively ‘green’ at 133g/km. The large Vauxhall feels a tiny bit underpowered, though - particularly when having a crack at overtaking on B-roads. The Insignia’s steering wheel also feels too big still – a point of irritation I had with the last model, but these matters are not deal-breakers.

So, as a package, the Insignia Grand Sport is a car that will satiate your appetite – if a large family hatchback is what you want. You won’t necessarily get all passionate about it, but its looks, comfort, space and variety of engines will delight you. Costing from only £17,635 in simple DESIGN 140PS 1.5 Turbo ecoTEC form, this up-to-date Insignia is a car you should perhaps add to your automotive shopping list.

Pros ‘n’ Cons

    • Looks √

 

    • Space √

 

    • Ride √

 

    • Kit √

 

  • Outsized Steering Wheel X

 

Fast Facts (DESIGN 140PS 1.5 Turbo ecoTEC - as tested)

    • Max speed: 130 mph

 

    • 0-62 mph: 9.3 secs

 

    • Combined mpg: 47.9

 

    • Engine layout: 1490cc four-cylinder petrol turbo

 

    • Max. power (PS): 140

 

    • CO2: 133 g/km          

 

  • Price: £17,635