Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

A sportier profile for the new Insignia.

The all-new Insignia Grand Sport arrived in showrooms on the 1st May, 2017. 

Superseding the old Insignia, which has been around for eight years, the new car is now a more serious-minded player than ever.

It has a sporty profile, with its stylish roofline and expansive body. The Vauxhall’s grille is now more erect, giving the hatchback a more distinctive face, and the wheelbase has been stretched, meaning the car’s overhangs are much shorter. All this helps to give the Grand Sport real kerbside charm.

The drawn-out wheelbase means the Insignia’s cabin is now immense. Legroom up front is as notable as ever, but it’s the space in the back that messes with your mind. Sitting behind a tall driver makes a six-footer in the rear feel as small as a young kid. I got in the rear seat and sat behind where I’d been driving earlier. You’d have to be a man-mountain before your knees met the back of the driver’s seat. What’s more, the Insignia Grand Sport has a trio of rear ISOFIX anchor points across its seats.

Vauxhall has achieved the exceptional rear space, not just by expanding the wheelbase, but by eating into some room in the boot. This is not a worry because, if anything, the old Insignia’s load bay was disproportionally huge. What I’m trying to say is that the Insignia’s boot could afford to drop some volume, and offer it to the rear seats. Not that you’d know, the Grand Sport’s load area still looks big, with 490 litres of room on offer. The outgoing Insignia’s boot has 530 litres.

Behind the wheel, the Luton-based firm has made easy work of driving the Grand Sport. A touchscreen means there are less buttons to mess up the dashboard. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be linked via the infotainment system.

The Insignia Grand Sport has a bunch of engines operating it. These range from the 140ps 1.5-litre turbo petrol, to the top of the tree 260ps 2.0-litre turbo 4×4 model. The Griffin-badged automaker’s diesel lumps include a 110ps 1.6-litre turbo oil burner, through to a 170ps 2.0-litre diesel.

I drove the 140ps 1.5 turbo petrol and found it to be a top handler, especially around twisty British back lanes. The Vauxhall irons out the imperfections in the tarmac well and turns in to bends with accuracy. The most perceptible difference between the Grand Sport and the withdrawing Insignia is how dexterous it now feels; it’s lighter and far less heavy to wield on S-bends. It is also hushed and comfortable at motorway cruising speed.

With the 1.5 engine, zero to 62mph comes in 9.3 seconds and the maximum speed is 130mph. More markedly, the Grand Sport, in this semblance, returns up to 47.9mpg on average, and emissions are 133g/km. The Insignia feels a bit underpowered, though, specifically when dropping down a gear or two for an overtake. The steering wheel also feels too big – an issue I had with the departing model, but these trivial criticisms are not deal-breakers.

Largely, the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is a car to be keen about. Its appearance, comfort, room and selection of powertrains will appeal to many people. Priced from £17,185 in DESIGN 140ps 1.5 Turbo ecoTEC form, the five-door motor is admirable value for money.

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: £17,890

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