Vauxhall has fitted a new 2.0-litre diesel engine to Insignia, and it’s a big improvement. It’s noticeably quieter than before. The engine isn’t short of punch, either, with 295lb ft of torque. That’s enough for a reasonable 15-second 30-60mph time.
Once up to motorway speeds, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is quite happy in still air, towing straight and true. In crosswinds and between 60 and 70mph the caravan did begin to move around slightly.
It moved around in the lane-change test, too, but the Insignia always dragged the caravan straight again.
In the hill start, the Insignia was a victim of its own high kerbweight. Towing significantly more than the lighter family estate cars on test, it took plenty of revs and a careful balance of clutch and throttle to persuade car and caravan to the top of the 1-in-6 test hill.
As a solo drive, the Insignia is undoubtedly improved by its new engine, but it is feeling its age compared with the new Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat. It’s a comfortable motorway car, but not as taut and precise as a Passat on a twisting country road.
Passenger space is reasonable, but for an estate car the boot is rather limited. There wasn’t enough space for a full load of holiday luggage, which lost points from our practicality testers. However, it earned some back because Vauxhall says the tyre repair kit may be used when towing (space saver and full-sized spares are optional).
Resale values aren’t strong, so be sure to haggle hard for a discount if you are buying new.