Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Review logo

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Review

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1/9

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9/9

1 / 9

heycar review

      Launch year
      2017
      Body type
      Large family car
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
00/10
heycar rating
“Mainstream mainstay is impressive all-rounder”

Best bits

  • Genuinely head-turning good looks  
  • 1.6-litre 136PS turbodiesel delivers good performance allied to excellent economy and emissions 
  • Huge standard equipment list, and admirable active safety equipment, from the base Design model up 

Not so great

  • That badge kills its appeal to many
  • No plug-in, or even mild hybrid models on offer
  • Larger alloy wheels look fantastic, but reduce the Insignia’s fine ride quality

Read by

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Front Side View

Overall verdict

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Driver's Seat

On the inside

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Front View

Driving

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Rear Side View

How much does it cost to run

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Bootspace

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"If the Insignia is lacking in one area it’s badge appeal, the Vauxhall badge just not cutting it in the shrinking mainstream class. Add competition for sales from SUVs and crossovers and the Insignia has an even tougher job, but for a wise buyer it’s an undeniably good car, at a good price and with plenty of standard kit, too. Good looking, well equipped, usefully practical and sensibly priced, the Insignia should be a winner, but the market thinks differently."

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Front Side View

Time was you couldn’t drive down the motorway, park up at a service station or look at neighbours’ driveway and not spot a Vauxhall Insignia, or its Vectra predecessor. 


Vauxhall’s big family hatchback was a big seller. Fleet customers bought them by the tens of thousands, but things have changed, with the Insignia now battling with premium players like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class for that company money, and the upmarket cars have won. That’s not to say the Insignia isn’t worth considering, indeed, this Insignia Grand Sport, as Vauxhall insists on calling the Insignia, was launched in 2017, and it impressed then, and it continues to do so today.


Not least, because now it’s no longer everywhere, it’s actually different, while Vauxhall’s designers created a handsome car, so when you do see it it’s more likely to turn your heads than one of those omnipresent German premium rivals. In this respect, mainstream can be considered the new premium, their relative scarcity making them stand out, while being a low, long hatchback bucks that other current trend for SUVs and crossovers that buyers seem to love these days. 


Being different isn’t really reason enough to be considered, though, but, conscious of its need to fight superior premium rivals Vauxhall gave the Insignia the best chance it could, loading it with the sort of specification that remains on the options list for that intended competition. Indeed, the prices for the Insignia place it in the category titled ‘affordable’. 


For just shy of £21,000 you can have an Insignia with 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen with fully integrated sat nav, Bluetooth, a leather covered steering wheel, air conditioning and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. 


To even get into the showroom of one of those premium rivals you’ll need a minimum of £8000 more in your pocket, before you’ve even ticked a single option box. Stretch to the starting price of those Germans and you’ll be able to drive an Insignia with more toys inside than Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve.  


It should still be everywhere, then, right? Residual values do play their part in explaining why more people don’t buy them, with the Insignia worth a good percentage less used than their upmarket alternatives after a typical three-year ownership cycle. Some rivals, Renault, Citroen, among others have abandoned the class altogether.  Indeed, Vauxhall discontinued the estate version - the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer - after just two years due to slow sales.


That means, doing the maths as business buyers inevitably do, those aspirational Germans are actually as cost effective, and often more so, than the cheaper Vauxhall. Factor in all those SUVs and crossovers, so tempting to the Insignia’s traditional heartland buyer and the Insignia will never sell in the numbers it used to, however good it might be. 


And it is good, indeed, in some forms it’s right up with the class best, and certainly better than its most obvious direct competitor, the Ford Mondeo. For the canny new buyer, it represents a good buy, while those after a nearly new or used Insignia will be able to snap up a big, classy, capable car for not much money at all.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Vauxhall Insignia (2008-2017) review.

Is the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport right for you?

If, like so most of us, you grew up being ferried around in your parents’ large family hatchback or saloon, and you’re now the parents, then the Insignia really should be for you. 


Yes, those premium alternatives are tempting, but you want all of that with fully-loaded specifications in a handsome, head-turning package, then the Insignia is well worth considering. Being a hatchback (some key rivals only being saloons) it’s hugely practical if you really can’t bring yourself to buying an estate version (Sports Tourer in Vauxhall’s parlance), and there’s good space in those rear seats.


Add a low emitting, economical, but usefully powerful 1.6-litre turbodiesel into that equation, in one of the middling, but comprehensively equipped, specifications and you might just find the Insignia shooting up your list of potential buys, and even reaching the top of it. 

What’s the best Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport model/engine to choose?

Pick of the engine range is undoubtedly the 1.6-litre 136PS turbodiesel, which blends fine all-round performance with excellent economy and emissions, its performance so close to the more expensive 2.0-litre turbodiesel, despite conceding 34PS to it. You could have that engine with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission in entry-level Design specification for under £23,000 and want for nothing in specification. 


That said, the SRI above it adds a couple of thousand pounds to that and adds some useful conveniences like AGR approved front seats, front and rear parking sensors, front foglights, rain sensitive windscreen wipers, dual-zone climate control, ambient LED lighting and a sprinkle of smarter kit like 17-inch alloy wheels, sports pedals and a rear boot spoiler. 


To that you could add the SRI Nav if you want built in navigation, but with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, the additional outlay isn’t necessary as everyone uses Google maps and Waze these days. A 136PS 1.6 SRI automatic would be our pick, and should be yours. 

What other cars are similar to the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport?

The Vauxhall Insignia, and its Vectra and Cavalier have long diced with the Ford Mondeo (and Sierra before it) for buyer’s money. Add cars like the cut above Volkswagen Passat, Volvo S60 and Mazda 6 into the mix and there’s plenty of choice from its traditional rivals, but these days you can also add cars like the Skoda Superb and Peugeot 508


At a push you could even include used versions of the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Jaguar XE. Many buyers will consider similar money SUVs as more practical alternatives, but height aside, they’re not, consume more fuel, emit more and aren’t as nice to drive, either.

Learn more

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Driver's Seat

On the inside

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Front View

Driving

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Rear Side View

How much does it cost to run

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Bootspace

Prices, versions and specification