New car review: Opel Insignia Select Sports Tourer DieselMotor Reviews New Car Reviews Motor News
Opel Insignia wagon
Opel Insignia Select Sports Tourer Diesel.
- Badge Description
- Sports Tourer
- Sports Automatic
- Engine Configuration Description
- Gear Num
- Build Country Origin Description
- Fuel Type Description
- Drive Description
- Front Wheel Drive
- Grips well and corners impressively
- Frugal diesel engine
- Good storage up front
- Busy dash
- Ride fidgety at low speeds
- Gruff engine
- Premium pricing
While the Opel Insignia name may not be familiar to Australians, its lineage is. The previous iteration was sold here as the Holden Vectra before Holden decided the whole premium-pricing thing wasn't working, so it switched to sourcing cheaper cars from South Korea.
The car is back - in spirit, at least - and now wears the badge of General Motors' European brand, Opel. The Insignia is the flagship of the Opel range for now and promises mid-size space with some European flair.
Price and equipment
The Insignia overlooks the bottom end of the mid-size market (where much of the volume is) and leaps straight to $38,490, plus on-road and dealer costs, or another $2000 for the wagon (Sports Tourer). For that you get leather trim, an electric park brake, dual-zone climate-control airconditioning, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, trip computer, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers. There's the choice of two 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines, with the diesel bringing a $1500 premium.
Those looking for more goodies can choose the Select, which also brings ventilated front seats, auto high beams, alloy pedals, satellite-navigation with a colour screen, 19-inch alloy wheels (up from 17-inch) and brighter xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
That makes the Insignia Select Sports Tourer diesel tested here a $48,990 proposition, with no electric seats and no reversing camera. Servicing is capped at $349 a year for the first three years or 45,000 kilometres.
Under the bonnet
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel nestled under the Insignia's nose is a muscular unit, pumping out a hearty 350Nm of torque, or pulling power, from just 1750rpm.
A gentle squeeze of the throttle elicits a meaningful forward surge unperturbed by hills.
It's far from neck-snapping in the way it builds speed and there's only a modest 118kW of power on offer, but the diesel Insignia feels solid and hearty in its low-to-middle rev range.
It can be gruff and vocal, though, with an unflattering drone. There's also a noticeable vibration at idle.
Thankfully, the six-speed auto is difficult to deceive, which makes up for its lack of a Sport mode; those wanting it to hold a gear longer have to take over manually with the sequential shifter. Fuel use is claimed at 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres (5.7L/100km for the sedan) and we found it used a still respectable 8.8L/100km during 350 kilometres of mainly suburban driving. Unlike some rivals, though, there's no auto stop-start to shut off the engine in traffic.
How it drives
The Insignia is more about enjoying the drive than cosseting occupants. Large 19-inch wheels slinked in low-profile rubber on the Select aren't conducive to comfort, and it doesn't take an especially poor surface to show up its shortcomings. At lower speeds, in particular, the Insignia patters from one bump to the next.
The body feels solid and resists the imperfections well, but it jiggles away more than some may expect.
Conversely, the Insignia is pretty good at disposing of larger bumps and begins to feel more compliant and settled at higher speeds.
Points are made up when you launch the Insignia at a corner. The larger hoops hang on tenaciously and the Insignia is more capable than its wagon body may suggest. Steering is well weighted and the suspension sits flat through curves.
Comfort and practicality
It may be long on the outside - the Insignia wagon outstretches a Commodore wagon, albeit by only three millimetres - but that doesn't translate to interior acreage.
The rear seats offer reasonable legroom for a mid-sizer, but don't challenge large cars for sprawling space. Headroom in the rear of the wagon is good and noticeably better than that in the sedan. At least the rear space is elegant, with air vents, door pockets and metal-look finishes to spruce it up.
There's a claimed 500 litres of boot space made more useful with split-folding seats, but the small opening makes the space less useful for bulky items.
Speaking of bulky, the tailgate is unnecessarily chunky, although it is automatically sucked closed if you don't shut it hard enough.
Up front, there's also no shortage of bling thanks to a mix of shiny chrome-look finishes and matte silver. And in the case of the shiny fake chrome surrounding the gear selector, it can reflect annoyingly on a sunny day.
Combined with the busy buttons that aren't always intuitive, it's not as inviting as it could be. There's at least a secondary set of buttons surrounding a main controller that allow quick selects to various menus.
Volkswagen Passat 125 TDI Wagon
ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 125kW/350Nm, 6-sp dual-clutch auto
FUEL USE/CO2 EMISSIONS 5.7L/100km and 151g/km
SAFETY Eight airbags, stability control, optional lane-departure warning.
PROS Refined, efficient engine; capable on road; smart-looking cabin.
CONS Rear headroom a bit tight.
OUR SCORE 4/5
Peugeot 508 Allure HDi Touring
ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 120kW, 340Nm
FUEL USE/CO2 EMISSIONS 5.7L/100km and 150g/km
SAFETY 6 airbags; stability control.
PROS Classy cabin; good standard equipment list; strong and quiet engine.
CONS Fiddly buttons on dash; vibration at idle; dull steering feel.
OUR SCORE 3.5/5
Ford Mondeo Titanium TDCi Wagon
ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 120kW/340Nm, 6-sp dual-clutch auto
FUEL USE/CO2 EMISSIONS 6.2L/100km and 165g/km
SAFETY Seven airbags, stability control.
PROS Strong, efficient engine; fun to drive; comfortable ride; roomy cabin.
CONS Interior looks a little plain.
OUR SCORE 4/5
The Insignia is fighting in one of the most competitive segments and it doesn't arrive with the most compelling armoury. Generous equipment levels justify the premium price, but the lack of more affordable models eliminates it from the volume end of the market. Respectable dynamics and a grunty engine are good but, again, not standouts.