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?
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.