If ever there was a week to fully road test the Insignia Grand Sport Elite, this was it. Little did I know that I would be using 722Km of the available 800km fuel range when Opel handed me the keys. Some weeks are busier than others, some cars are up to the task, and then some excel at everything you throw at them.
The week started off with the usual list of tasks ahead of me. Little did I know by the end of the week I would have travelled across the midlands to Portlaoise, up to Drogheda across some magnificent back roads, cutting a scenic line across Slane along the way. Conquering many motorway miles in-between, there was not one twitch of back ache. This is in large part due to the wonderful design tech that’s gone into making the Opel’s seats some of the most comfortable I’ve ever spent time in. I can see why so many road warriors choose the Insignia as their mobile office.
One journey in particular to Monaghan and back, saw the car fully loaded and comfortably fitting a 6’7 individual in the back no less. And before you ask, yes he was offered the front seat but was more than happy to enjoy the trip up and back to Dublin from the rear bench. All 4 adult passengers were comfortably seated in the cabin and from what I could tell, very much enjoying their surroundings, commenting and asking plenty of questions about the car. The leather AGR sports style ergonomic seats are a €3,500 option.
I’m surprised they weren’t a little more shocked when I told them the fully specced price of this particular car was €46,985. (The base price of the Insignia range starts at €27,350.) The ‘Dark Caramel’ metallic paint option is €995 , it’s stunning when clean and in the bright sunshine but the same as anything tends to fade away once the motorway miles pile on. Still, for an ‘everyday’ saloon, it managed to turn a few heads right up to the end of the week when it was covered in all motorway miles.
One thing that kept coming to mind over and over was how good this car would be at camping. It’s not a campervan, it’s not designed to be one but there’s something about the sheer size of the boot that makes me want to go camping in it. Not only could you fit all your hiking gear in it but you could quite easily stretch out in it at the end of the day for a night’s sleep, so big is the boot. It’s huge. The stats say 490 litres, “and then some” for the hatchback opening boot lends itself to a wide opening which allows loading of many an awkward object.
The boot closing isn’t perfect, it’s quite heavy and so a number of times I had to re-shut the boot to get it right. Another oddity is the wiper attached to that large rear aperture which I didn’t ever use. It seems a waste to have it there. The rear visibility is tricky over the boot, that wiper isn’t going to do anything to help, so speccing cameras is an absolute must. I usually try to manually park cars as much as much as possible but the rear dimensions of the Insignia make this far too risky a venture when that paint is so special and probably something that will take some time to match if ever it needed repair.
Make no mistake, this is no SRi but it can hold its head high in the company car park. One thing about the multimedia interface that I appreciated, was its simplicity. Some manufacturers have overly complicated systems, making their operation dangerous, commanding three clicks and presses of wheels before completing a command, where one click should do.
You can tell when a designer is trying to impress a manager when their system is overly complicated, and is both designed and demonstrated at a desk. Multimedia systems should be created in the environment which they will be used (in a driving simulator). You should never be distracted from driving but you will want to change a station or turn off George Hook and bring up Spotify or a zen podcast. Completing the task with minimal clicks and whirrs is a must.
There are three usb charging ports available which are placed in all the right areas. Every time, without fail, I got into the Insignia with Bluetooth activated, the phone connected and started to play wherever I had left off. I’ve been in cars recently where it took 5 mins of faffing about to get the phone just to connect to the car, nevermind play music, radio or use map services. Designers please impress us with your simplicity! And hopefully more people will make an effort to use the bluetooth systems that are going to waste.
Special mention : The sheer space inside the cabin
Needs work : Rearward visibility is limited, speccing cameras is necessary
|Max Power 170ps||Diesel / Manual|
|0-100 kph in 8.9s||Road Tax € 280.00|
|Price €46,985 (as specced)||Claimed economy 54.3 mpg|