Grand Sport, as long as you stay on motorway

We recently put Opel’s estate version of the latest Insignia model — the Sports Tourer — through its paces and, after giving it a 1,000km+ spin up, down and across

We recently put Opel’s estate version of the latest Insignia model — the Sports Tourer — through its paces and, after giving it a 1,000km+ spin up, down and across

Ireland, we found it to be value, well equipped comfortable and practical, but not quite up to the standard-bearers in the class in terms of driving ability.

That test was also conducted with a car featuring a 1.5 litre turbo petrol engine, which was something of a novelty and not at all bad to drive. On this occasion, though, we drive the car which will be the big seller in the Insignia range, the five-door hatch — splendidly named Grand Sport, even though there is little either grand or sporty about it — which was fitted with the 1.6 litre turbodiesel, which will be a huge draw for the repmobile crowd.

So, what is the best way to test one? Rack up a rather large slice of mileage.

So that’s what we did. Some 1,400 klicks over the course of a week certainly did the trick,

which was what we racked up during our seven Insignia days

,

putting the car on track for a 72,000km

annual tally, which is well up there with even the most demanding of sales reps.

And what did we find?

W

ell, w

e found a car that was comfortable when swallowing up oceans of miles, was really well kitted out, and had a nice — and economical — engine. Did we like it? Well, no; certainly not as much as we should a car in which we would be spending so much time.

In the D-segment, as it is known, which is crowded with decent saloon/hatch contenders — such as the VW Passat, the Ford Mondeo, the Skoda Superb, the Mazda6, to name but a few — competition is pretty hot and a lot of those cars are very engaging to drive.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of this new Insignia. While the engine is a decent performer — 135bhp,

0-100kph in 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 211kph – what may appeal more is that it will return a consumption figure of 4.3 l/100km (65.1mpg) and costs just €200 to tax annually, thanks to the 114g/km emission level.

Driving it, though, is a bit of a disappointment, as you’d have thought that Opel would have sorted out the suspension and the handling. Understeer is terminal and, if you lift off mid-corner it becomes a trait which is as unwanted as it is unnecessary.

Certainly, if you drive this thing on a motorway or a

decent stretch of dual

carriageway, it will

behave faultlessly, but ask

it questions on a B-road and you’ll get a

n entirely different and

displeasing set of answers.

However, it is that motorway willingness and pleasantness that is the real

appeal here. People

who drive for many hours at a time will welcome this sort of trustworthiness and capability. They

will also welcome the amount of kit available, though it has to be said that the tester had almost €7,000 worth of options.

Still, the standard IntelliLink system and the Opel OnStar emergency and concierge system are excellent features,

.

and even without some of the additional extras (sunroof, head-up display etc.)

The car is well kitted out. It

while the car is also roomy and comfortable.

So, if you want something that’ll get you not so much from A to B, but A to Z and back again, the Opel will fit your bill, but only if you’re not one to explore the limits of a car. In this case, those

limits are nowhere near most of its opponents.

More in this section

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up