AS it has matured, Vauxhall's middleweight Insignia model line has become one of the best selling cars in its market sector – helped along by bold yet sleek, instantly recognisable exterior styling.
A recent interesting arrival in this still-expanding range has been a powerful new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine delivering 195 horsepower, with CO2 emissions of 129g/km, and government combined consumption of 57mpg.
The standard fit trip computer maintained I couldn't get within 10mpg of that in the test car -perhaps understandably, however, since the solid, accessible mid-range power delivery positively invites a driver to make progress whenever opportunity presents.
Indeed, engine flexibility is so good, 5th and 6th gears are perfectly adequate for average conditions: the car trickles unfussily in 30mph traffic in 5th, yet the same ratio allows punchy overtaking in the cut and thrust of main road motoring. Very firm acceleration is possible in lower gears when needed, and higher speed cruising is effortlessly relaxed. The Insignia's five-seat interior has an air of quality.
Passengers have plenty of space, rear legroom is entirely adequate and there's roomy and flexible load space.
The Insignia's driving dynamics are well matched to the engines prodigious power level: Vauxhall's Flexride adaptive damping system is standard, allowing driver selection of comfortable or firm chassis responses depending on road and driver mood.
The normal automatic setting seems well judged: aided by wide wheels and tyres grip is good, with tidy, dependably positive cornering, and a well balanced feel. Ride quality, while perhaps on the firm side overall, helps inspire driver confidence without becoming uncomfortable for passengers.
The SRi trim level is adequate rather than generous at this price level. It includes a comprehensive safety specification with ESP and a full complement of airbags, along with electric driver's seat height and lumbar support adjustments. The driver's seat and steering column are fully multi-adjustable, there's remote deadlocking, cruise and climate controls, automatic lights and wipers, front electric windows, and heated electric mirrors.