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By Anthony ffrench-Constant
30 October 2008 11:17
Pleasant. Much has already been written on the minutiae of driving dynamics comparisons with the likes of Mondeo, and in that context alone the Insignia romps gently home in second place. But who really cares? The four-wheel drive chassis improves handling grip in low-speed corners, the steering’s accurate but not all that nicely weighted at speed, and the ride’s perfectly comfortable.
The cabin’s a pretty classy place to be, and build quality takes a huge hike over the outgoing Vectra. In fact, pretty much everything takes a huge hike over the outgoing Vectra, and you’d be hard pushed to unearth any major gripes about the V6 Insignia as a competent, high velocity motorway cruiser. Unless you were in the back, that is, where legroom has considerably improved, but headroom decidedly has not.
Couple of things I didn’t get round to mentioning in my 900 mile drive back to Luton the other day: Unlike the cats cradle of wiring necessary in a Mondeo, an iPod connects quite happily, since both auxiliary socket and recharging 12v supply are in the centre arm rest box. True, you can only adjust the volume through the car controls, but at least it can all be hidden away.
Vauxhall has, mercifully, thrown out that horrendous electric indicator system, and even afforded the Insignia a sat-nav system within which traffic alerts may actually be switched off altogether rather than simply interrupted each and every time they start up, as was the mind-boilingly irritating case with the last Vectra I drove.
However, the new electronic handbrake is simply vile, requiring monster revs to drive off through automatic disconnection. It’s also equally reluctant to engage, causing huge mirth to the clearly pie-in-face-humour obsessed populace of Baden Baden, and very nearly the first low-speed accident I’ve been involved in without actually sitting in the car.
This is a pity, because the presence of the electronic brake frees up enough transmission tunnel space to afford the driver a second multimedia screen control button which falls far more readily to hand. This is, admittedly, a mere duplicate of the button on the centre console but, unlike the latter which bizarrely requires you to concentrate hard enough to push only the outer ring of the button, it’s much easier to use.
I can think of no one who’ll actually own this car except, of course, a Vauxhall dealer principle. The 2.0-litre turbo I drove home makes a far more arresting proposition, and you can spend the £7000 you’ll save on something to run your granny down to the shops for cat food and corn plasters of a morning.
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Vauxhall Insignia 2.8 V6 4x4 (2008) CAR review
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RE: Vauxhall Insignia 2.8 V6 4x4 (2008) CAR review
About two of these will every be sold - and thats vauxhalls record for its 2.8 V6
26 April 2009 08:32
"It’s as smooth as the left buttock of an Hawaiian tropic gurl at a Le Mans pit-lane walkabout" Do you mean "a Hawaiian Tropic girl", Anthony?
"the only disappointment is that it isn’t quite as vocal as you’d like when pressed." That's why this Insignia is called 2.8 V6 instead of OPC/VXR, I guess.
supercarrambler, I like the Insignia's rear end (saloon and hatch only), but all mainstream D-segment cars must offer plenty of rear room. People who buy cramped cars of this size would take the XF or CLS instead of an Opel/Vauxhall.
31 October 2008 14:27
Hurrah. The best car reviewer on the team once again raises both spirits and mirth. He is a gem worth polishing, but I suspect that Mr f-C is too busy doing that himself. Excellent. Made my day.
31 October 2008 04:53
Good looking inside & out. 20K is about the most you would sensibly want to spend on one. I've always been a Ford man. My dad and uncles worked at Dagenham. Nuff said. However this is the first time I'd choose a Vauxhall (spit!) over a Ford. I'm just not taken by the new Mondeo, so given a choice the Insignia gets my cash. Now I'm going for a lie down...
30 October 2008 21:16
The Insignia has a pleasing sideprofile and I like the line of the 'C' and rear haunch, grill looks a bit Mazda 6ish (Am I getting repengitist). I'll be surprised if they shift many top end models at £28k and this is where Saab should roll in and take up the prestige mantle rather than be the underfunded B'stard son. You're right Bimmer, although I don't like the Vauxhall badge (I do mean the badge design and name) they should be given the keys to Detroit Rock City.
30 October 2008 20:37
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