Vauxhall Insignia 2.0i Turbo SRi 4x4 review

Is the four-wheel-drive 2.0 turbo Insignia SRi a better performance Vauxhall saloon than the VXR?

Evo rating
Price
from £26,345
  • Refined, comfortable, well-handling sports saloon
  • Excitement-free; a Mondeo's better

What is it?

Of the bewildering 81 models available, and given the extra-hot VXR’s £30K+ price-tag, possibly the optimum affordable driver’s Insignia. It costs £26,345.Technical highlights

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The ingredients look promising - firmer and lowered UK-only chassis set-up plus four-wheel drive, lusty and flexible four-cylinder 2-litre turbocharged engine with 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque, 6-speed manual ‘box, heaps of standard kit, fine build and imposing yet subtle good looks. And it’s not that much slower than the 2.8-litre V6 VXR (150mph and 7.4sec 0-62mph vs 155mph and 6.7sec) but much less thirsty with a combined consumption of 30.7mpg (24.7mpg for the VXR).

What’s it like to drive?

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A frustratingly mixed bag. The Insignia has some endearing qualities. The fine driving position, seats and instruments are a good start and the way the suspension quietly smoothes away the disturbances of weather-scarred urban tarmac is impressive given the firmer set-up. Damping and body control at speed are pretty good, too, while grip and traction clearly benefit from the all-wheel drive.

But the gearchange is a notchy, long-winded affair, the steering feels a bit sleepy and numb and the engine’s potent-looking outputs are blunted by the long gearing. In short, there’s nothing much wrong with the way the SRi covers the ground, but there’s little joy to be had in extracting all its pace. It feels far more at home hoovering up motorway miles, which it does effortlessly and with remarkable refinement and comfort.

How does it compare?

The areas in which the Insignia is found wanting are those the identically-powerful Ford Mondeo 2.5T Titanium Sport excels at. The Ford isn’t quite as refined or comfortable, but it’s the car you’d rather point down an enjoyable road.Anything else I need to know?

Although the Insignia’s cabin appears to ooze quality in a way the Mondeo’s doesn’t, look more closely and you’ll see some pretty basic plastics in service. Audi has little to worry about.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1998cc, turbocharged
Max power217bhp @ 5300rpm
Max torque258lb ft @ 2000rpm
0-607.4sec
Top speed149mph
On saleNow, £26,345
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