Vauxhall Insignia (2008-present)

A big car for not a lot of money, the Vauxhall Insignia is a sensible family car choice

Strengths & Weaknesses


Broad range of engines and trim levels to choose from
Great value for money
Comfortable seats


Lack of rear headroom
Loses vaue quickly
Poor customer satisfaction levels

The Vauxhall Insignia is a large five-door family car, that’s also available as a four-door saloon or a five-door estate called the Sport Tourer. It was first introduced in 2008 to replace the Vauxhall Vectra, and competes with other large family cars like the Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Kia Optima and Volkswagen Passat. However, a lot of buyers are moving away from buying this type of car and going for crossovers and SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Renault Kadjar and Volkswagen Tiguan instead.

From the outside, the Insignia still looks stylish despite its age thanks to a sleek roofline that almost makes it look like a coupe. There are slim headlights that, in some higher-spec models, feature LED daytime running lights, while there are smart chrome details to make it look more expensive.

Inside, the Insignia has a dashboard that almost surrounds the driver - it sweeps round from the bottom of the windscreen and into the doors, while there’s a large central touchscreen to control the car’s entertainment system and satellite navigation (where applicable). The heating and ventilation controls are situated slightly lower, while it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position thanks to comfy seats that have plenty of adjustment. There’s also plenty of space in the front for two tall passengers. Rear seat passengers will struggle a bit more for headroom because of that sloping roofline, however. The boot is a good size, offering 530 litres of space that can be expanded by folding down the rear seats - they don’t fold completely flat, though.

There is a huge range of engines and trim levels to choose from in the Insignia, which could appear daunting on first look. Trims include Design, SRi, VX-Line, Energy, SE, Tech Line, Limited Edition, Elite and VXR, and all models are fairly well equipped. Trim levels towards the top of the range come with Vauxhall’s OnStar connected services. This is Vauxhall’s concierge service that has a central call centre that can help you find a destination, alert the emergency services if the car’s involved in an accident, while the car can also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

In terms of engines, there’s a wide range of petrol and diesel units to choose from, whether you’re looking for the best economy or something more high-performance.

The Insignia is a safe car and received a five-star rating from safety testing body Euro NCAP, plus it comes with six airbags, a tyre-pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control as standard. Owners are not happy with their cars, though - the Insignia came in 165th place out of 200 cars in the 2015 Driver Power survey.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 13:30

Key facts 

Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
530 litres
Tax (min to max): 
£0 to £505

Best Vauxhall Insignia for... 

Vauxhall Insignia SRi 1.6 CDTi 136PS S/S ecoFLEX
The 1.6-litre CDTi engine, which Vauxhall calls a ‘Whisper diesel’ should return around 74mpg and has CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, meaning no road tax bill. This engine is fitted to other models, but SRi trim adds a few sportier touches to the exterior.
Vauxhall Insignia SRi Nav 1.6 CDTi 136PS S/S ecoFLEX
The SRi Nav has all the great economy benefits of the model above, but with sat-nav included as standard, which will be useful for family holidays away and also will be more attractive to buyers when you come to sell it on.
Vauxhall Insignia VXR Supersports Nav
The Insignia VXR Supersports is powered by a 2.8-litre V6 engine that produces more than 300bhp. It’s one of the fastest family cars on sale, and you get a lot of power for the money. It’ll lose its value incredibly quickly, though.
Vauxhall Insignia Design 1.8i 140PS
Entry-level Design models come with plenty of equipment as standard, however the 1.8-litre petrol engine is slower and less efficient than the 1.4-litre Turbo that has the same power output. Also, the Insignia is best when fitted with one of the efficient diesel engines.

Vauxhall Insignia History 

  • July 2008 The current Vauxhall Insignia is launched.
  • April 2009 A new 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is added to the range.
  • April 2009 The high-performance Insignia VXR is added to the range.
  • April 2009 The economical Insignia ecoFLEX is launched - available on all trim levels apart from the SRi and VXR.
  • July 2010 Insignia ecoFLEX CO2 emissions reduced from 136g/km to 129g/km.
  • May 2011 ecoFLEX models' CO2 emissions reduced to 115g/km. A 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine is added to the range, and improved sat-nav becomes available.
  • March 2012 The Insignia BiTurbo with a powerful 192bhp 2-litre diesel engine goes on sale.
  • June 2013 An updated version of the Insignia is launched, with design tweaks and a redesigned interior featuring an optional 8in screen in the centre.
  • September 2013 Engine efficiency is improved.

Understanding Vauxhall Insignia car names 

  • Insignia
  • Trim level
    SRi Nav
  • Engine
    1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX
  • Trim level
    The trim level dictates how much standard equipment is included with your Insignia. Vauxhall makes this complicated, with thirteen to choose from.
  • Engine
    Diesel engines are called CDTi. Petrol versions are followed by the letter T (if they are turbocharged to boost power) or i. The size of the engine is given in litres and the most economical engines are badged ecoFLEX.

Vauxhall Insignia Engines 

Petrol: 1.4T, 1.8i, 2.0i, 2.8 Diesel: 1.6 CDTi, 2.0 CDTi

The current Insignia engine range is quite different to when it was first launched back in 2008. The biggest change is the addition of Vauxhall’s latest 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine. The diesels are the most popular engine choice with Insignia buyers, too, and are particularly popular with company car drivers.

The 1.6-litre CDTi diesel - sometimes referred to as ‘Whisper’ diesel - is the newest in the range and produces 134bhp. Vauxhall claims it will return more than 70mpg, but the big news is that CO2 emissions are below 100g/km which means you won’t pay a penny in road tax if you choose this model in ecoFLEX guise. On the move it’s fairly quiet, although the ‘Whisper’ name is a little misleading - plus it’s quick enough for motorway overtaking manoeuvres and keeping up with traffic. It’s the best all-rounder.

If you want something quicker, you’ll have to go for the 2.0 CDTi which has 168bhp, yet has emissions figures that aren’t a million miles behind those of the 1.6, so it shouldn’t cost too much more to run.

If you prefer petrol power, there’s a 1.8-litre engine with 138bhp, but this engine is quite old and outperformed by Vauxhall’s newer, more efficient 1.4-litre turbocharged engine. This is the petrol engine to go for if you don’t want a diesel because it’s smooth and refined and with reasonable running costs. There’s also a 2.0-litre with nearly 250bhp, although this is quite thirsty and will be quite expensive to run. Not quite as expensive as the 2.8-litre VXR model, though, which has a top speed of 170mph and will go from 0-62mph in just six seconds. But you won’t get more than 30mpg and it will be expensive to tax, too.


Fuel economy



Top speed





0 - 62mph: 10.9sec






0 - 62mph: 11.5sec






0 - 62mph: 7.7sec


2.8i (VXR)




0 - 62mph: 6.0 sec


1.6 CDTi




0 - 62mph: 11.4sec


2.0 CDTi




0 - 62mph: 9.0 sec


Vauxhall Insignia Trims 

Design, Design Nav, SRi, SRi Nav, SE, Energy, Tech Line, Limited Edition, VX-Line, VX-Line Nav, Elite, Elite Nav, VXR

Thanks to a bewildering thirteen trim levels, there’s plenty of choice if you want a Vauxhall Insignia.

Kicking things off is the Insignia Design. It comes with DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, 17-inch wheels, cruise control, climate control and electric driver’s seat. Design Nav adds satellite navigation, so this could be an ideal model if you just want a car with the basics covered. Energy models add 18-inch alloy wheels and different interior trim to the Design.

SRi models are slightly sportier, with 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, leather steering wheel and sports seats, while there are front foglights and dark tinted rear windows. Again, SRi Nav models add sat-nav. This is the one to go for if you want a generous amount of equipment with a slightly sportier look.

VX-Line models add even more of a touch of sportiness over SRi models, with large, distinctive 19-inch alloy wheels, a VXR styling pack with lower front bumpers, side sills and a small spoiler at the rear.

SE models feature standard Insignia styling, but adds electric rear windows, automatic lights and wipers and chrome window surround over entry-level Design models. Tech Line - a favourite with company car drivers - adds sat-nav and Vauxhall IntelliLink touchscreen infotainment system.

Next up is the luxurious Elite trim. This features dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, heated leather seats, bright xenon headlights, electric folding door mirrors and Vauxhall OnStar system - what Vauxhall describes as “your own personal connectivity and service assistant.”

There’s also the Insignia Limited Edition. This features unique bi-colour alloy wheels, the VXR styling pack from the VX-Line, parking sensors at the front and rear, heated seats and OnStar.

The Insignia VXR features aggressive-looking, sporty styling on the outside, plus Recaro sports seats, bespoke VXR pedals, gearknob and floot mats, sat-nav, climate control and cruise control.

Vauxhall Insignia Reliability and warranty 

Using data from the 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, the Vauxhall Insignia is far from the most reliable car on sale. It came 165th place out of 200 cars overall, while it performed even worse in the reliability category - placing 179th. It also came in 159th place for build quality, despite the look and feel of the interior materials appearing impressive at first.

However, should you need to take it back to Vauxhall for any work (there haven’t been any recalls), there are plenty of dealers across the UK, and Vauxhall’s warranty covers you for three years and 60,000 miles. It’s not quite as good as Toyota’s five-year warranty or Kia’s seven-year warranty, but the Insignia shouldn’t cause you too much hassle and there haven’t been any reports of serious issues, despite what Driver Power figures tell us about Insignia owners’ satisfaction.

Used Vauxhall Insignia 

The Insignia is a hugely popular car with both company car users and private buyers and, thanks to being around for a while now, there is a huge choice on the second-hand market. This means you can afford to be picky because there has always been a wide choice of engine and trim levels to choose from, plus the car’s weak residual values (how much of its original value it retains over the years) will work in your favour if you’re buying used. The car will take its biggest hit in depreciation in its first couple of years, so if you buy one that’s a year or two old, you’ll benefit from a great saving on its original price, but it’ll still be under manufacturer warranty. Again, there will still be a lot of choice at this age, because Vauxhall frequently run offers across its range, be it on a new car, a pre-registered car or a second-hand one. The 1.6 CDTi diesel engine that we recommend is quite a new engine, so examples of this model will be newer and more expensive than others, so if you can’t quite stretch to that, we’d go for one of the 2.0-litre CDTi engines which are almost as efficient and economical, if not quite as quiet and relaxed on the road. 

List price

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Best for performance







Insignia VXR Supersport Nav






Best for families







Insignia SRi Nav 1.6 CDTi 136PS S/S ecoFLEX






Best for economy







Insignia SRi 1.6 CDTi 136PS S/S ecoFLEX