Well, how about this!? – A sizeable and very sporting family saloon that’s £10k cheaper than all those ‘premium’ marques
The Vauxhall Insignia SRi could well dissuade the canny buyer from the attraction of the three-pointed star, the four rings, the blue propeller or even, at a considerable stretch of the imagination, the serpent swallowing the man in Milan. Not to mention the big leaping cat.
Although the Insignia does not feel exactly quite as ‘tight’ as some of those, it has everything available in all other respects from the engineering point-of-view, including a wizard, 9-speed automatic gearbox.
The test car’s 2-litre engine produces 197bhp and 258lb/ft of torque is on tap from 1500 to 4000rpm. This means that, taking off from a standstill, you hit 62mph in just 7.2 seconds with a most satisfactory exhaust growl as the gearbox races through the first three gears.
Then you’re on the motorway at 70mph and the rev-counter has hardly moved from nothing to a mere 1500 rpm. That’s less than half of the SRi’s claimed top speed.
I was not able to do as many miles as usual on motorways in this car, so the overall indicated fuel consumption of 33.1 mpg would probably have improved to mid- or even high-thirties, had I done my usual routes. (In fact, the WLTP combined figures suggest this at 33.1 to 37.7 mpg.) on shorter trips up to around ten miles, I was getting 24/25 mpg.
The car was always comfortable to ride in and coped with all our bad roads as well as any. The steering was excellent, with just about the right weight and precision. The brakes ventilated disc at the front and solid discs at the rear were well up to the job, including my usual emergency stop practice.
For awkward parking situations, both front and back have parking sensors.
Night-time and winter driving in the VX-Line range are assisted by Vauxhall’s Sight and Light pack that includes Automatic Light Control with Tunnel Detection, plus High beam Assist; I recall being very impressed with this several years ago on the system’s launch in the Astra.
There’s a touch of luxury for the driver, whose seat has its own massage functions.
The car can take three passengers in the back and there’s a capacious boot that’s very easily extendable with Vauxhall’s one-touch seat-folding system.
Infotainment: well up to expectations here, too: there’s an 8-inch colour screen (OK, some cars have bigger ones), and the sat-Nav includes Europe, while connectivity is well catered for. Audio sound is Bose and there are five front speakers and two rear speakers.
The test car was priced at £34,965 — for a car that has so much practicality with a handsome exterior and interior design, along with plenty of fun for the driver, it is outstanding value.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
What, no grab-handles?! And that is, for me, the only slight smudge on the All-New Vauxhall Mokka. It has a charming, perky character, with its 1199 cc, 3-cylinder engine growling away through an automatic 8-speed gearbox. Is there a simpler-to-operate gearchange out there? I don’t think so — certainly not a dinkier one. The little lever is set into the …
“What on earth is that?” asked the window-cleaner’s lad – the one who always takes a keen interest in the test cars that come to our house every week – looking at the stylish looking number outside our doors. “Coming down your drive, I thought you’d got a Tesla Model 3.” “Not at all,” I answered. “It’s the new Corsa.” …
Built from 1903, Vauxhall’s first year of car production, and known as the ‘Light Car’, the model featured a slow-revving, single-cylinder engine producing just five horsepower. Perhaps showing Vauxhall’s roots as a producer of marine engines, the Light Car was steered by a tiller, with its speed regulated by a brass hand-wheel next to the driver. A two-speed epicyclic gearbox …