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Vauxhall Insignia

Quieter diesels have become an ongoing quest for Vauxhall. The company's new 2.0-litre 'Whisper' diesel is the third member of a growing noiseabatement engine family, following the earlier 1.3- and 1.6-litre units. This is the newly-minted 168bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that is destined to become a key engine in the Insignia range, available in both hatchback and Sports Tourer estate car.
The four-door saloon has now been deleted from the regular line-up, and available as special order only. Compared with the more clattery old 2.0-litre CDTi unit that previously powered upper-end Insignias, this one is not only quieter, but also more powerful torquier.
The new engine is gutsier and although it doesn't exactly whisper, it is certainly significantly less intrusive and more refined than we have been used to in previous iterations of the Insignia. Driving this newest version is a reminder that although the big Vauxhall isn't the most dynamic car in its class, it does have a lot going for it. It has poised behaviour and civilised driving manners that have earned it a place on the top ten charts for best-selling diesels.
This new engine should help keep it there, while a crop of fresher rivals are launched, like the latest Mondeo and Passat. It pulls strongly and has good torque across a wide rev range, with the peak of 295 lb ft sustained between 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. It feels lively through the gears, and is an eager mile-muncher on a motorway.
The Insignia's cabin has the familiar vertical dash architecture that Vauxhalls are known for, although with a more driver-focused design than oldergeneration models. The instrument cluster has four clear dials with white graphics on a dark background and red needles, and the central satellite navigation screen is placed high in the dash, level with the upper half of the steering wheel.
Unusually, the centre air vents are a vertical design, hugging either side of the display screen, and the one placed closest to the driver is particularly well located to dispense a jet of cool air for keeping you alert. There's some glossy trim, and the main surfaces are pliant, while the short-throw gear lever has a nice slick action. For supportive contouring and range of adjustment, the Insignia's seats are some of the best amongst mainstream models this size.
With a combined fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg, and CO2 output of 119g/km, this latest diesel Insignia should be quite costeffective to run, in the £30 banding for vehicle excise duty and with a company car benefitin- kind rate of 19 per cent. Our test car came in Tech Line trim, which includes satellite navigation, automatic headlights and wipers, electric rear windows and chrome trim around the windows, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, DAB digital radio, cruise control and an electric park brake, like you'll find on all other Insignias.
With a much quieter engine, good performance and a well-specified kit list, the Insignia seeks to reaffirm the car's place on the popularity list. And while it won't set the drivers heart racing, it's civilised, roomy and practical, especially in Sports Tourer guise, which is why you see so many Insignias on the outside lane of the motorway.

Model tested Sports Tourer Tech Line 2.0 CDTi 16v ecoFLEX
Price £24,284
Made in Rüsselsheim, Germany
Configuration 5-door estate, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1956cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start and selective catalyst reduction
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power output 168bhp @ 3,500-4,000rpm
Maximum torque 295lb ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 137mph/9.4 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 119g/km (C) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 49.6/74.3/62.8mpg
Fuel tank size/range 70 litres/967 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 23/19%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,913/2,084mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 540/1,530 litres
Kerb/max towing weight tba/1,800kg

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