SAVING cash and the planet has to be important to all of us.
Car manufacturers are playing their part by improving fuel consumption and cutting emissions, so take a bow Vauxhall. The company tells of how a holidaying company car driver achieved 990 miles on one tank of fuel from his two-litre Insignia diesel. The motorist took his family of four on a round trip of 3,200 miles from the UK to Naples in Italy, achieving an average of 59mpg – impressive for a fully-loaded car.
I didn’t manage quite that level of frugality in the latest Flush Magazine road test car, an Insignia Sports Tourer Techline 2.0 CTDi. But aided by its ecoFlex start/stop technology, the big five-door estate’s fuel gauge needle barely seemed to drop, and a low emissions figure means zero first-year road tax. While the Insignia is stingy with fuel, the same does not apply to the level of equipment.
Standard features included a posh satnav, 17in seven-spoke alloy wheels, automatic light control with tunnel detection and LED daytime running lights, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control, digital radio, Bluetooth, CD player with MP3 facility, reach-and-rake adjustable leather-covered steering wheel, tyre pressure monitoring system, electronic climate control and electric parking brake.
I’ve always liked the look of the Insignia, with its dynamic, curvaceous lines. And the refreshed treatment of the latest model has further added to the car’s visual appeal.The revamp includes a wider and lower chrome grille, the Sports Tourer’s rear styling embodying a similar wide and low appearance. At one time estate cars had a simply functional air about them, but Vauxhall’s designers have created a load carrier with a racy, coupe-like profile.
My only niggle was the charcoal upholstery which gave the high-quality interior a bit of a sombre air. On the road, the two litre, 140bhp diesel feels responsive and lays down its power smoothly via the positive six-speed manual gearbox. Ride and handling feel assured and confidence-inspiring, and the car has barely a whisper of wind noise. This is no doubt down to new streamlining which helps cut CO2 emissions, including extended under-body covers, wider front spoiler lip and tail lamp housings designed to enhance airflow.
Load carrying? The figures speak for themselves – 540 litres with the seats in place extending to1,530 litres. And, while the diesel engine makes for an excellent beating heart in the Insignia, petrol can still has a major part to play. For the Sports Tourer has just been recognised as the best petrol model in the annual Tow Car Awards 2014.
The 1.6i 16v Direct Injection Turbo (170PS) beat competitors from Mercedes–Benz and SEAT to be awarded Best Petrol Tow Car in the awards, run jointly by The Camping and Caravanning Club, Practical Caravan magazine and What Car?.
Since even the most avid caravan owners will spend more time driving ‘unhitched’ than towing, the judges looked at more than pure hauling ability. The scores took into account the car’s performance while towing and driving solo, its practicality, as well as buying and owning.
The car features direct injection and Start/Stop technology, helping it to achieve a combined fuel economy figure of 45.6mpg and emit 146g/km CO2.
Insignia Sports Tourer Techline 2.0 CTDi, price: £23,284 OTR