Vauxhall Insignia Elite Nav 4x4 2.8i - Conclusion

By Jeremy Laird



The Insignia is such a great looking car, inside and out, it's tempting to overlook any shortcomings it may suffer. But there's no getting away from the fact that it's pretty ordinary in most departments.

Most disappointing for us is the infotainment system. That's not to say it's a particularly bad system. But given the effort Vauxhall has put into the Insignia in general and the fact that its infotainment system is based on the very latest technology from Bosch, we had hoped for more.

In terms of features and functionality, the DVD800 system does nothing to move the game forward. Indeed, it barely brings Vauxhall level with the current state of the art. Basic omissions include touch-screen functionality and any kind of connectivity to wireless data networks.

That would, perhaps, be forgivable if DVD800 executed everything it sets out to do exceptionally well. But a combination of questionable ergonomics - way to many buttons on the dash! - and an occasionally clunky interface prevents that from being the case.

That said, if we ever found ourselves ticking the Insignia box on a company car order form, we'd still try awfully hard to ensure it was kitted out with the full DVD800 option. It delivers most of the really important features and is pretty easy to live with once you've got to grips with a few quirks. For sure, there are far worse infotainment systems out there.

Nevertheless, for our money infotainment is one area where the mass market manufacturers should be able land punches on the premium brands with imaginative and feature rich systems. You only need to observe what Fiat is doing with Blue&Me to see how a little effort on infotainment can deliver big dividends in terms of value for the customer.

Moreover, because in-car tech can be shared across the entire range, any investment can be spread very broadly. So while we may be a bit biased towards tech here on TR, we remain convinced that many manufacturers continue to undervalue the importance of infotainment and other related in-car kit. On this showing, we must add Vauxhall to the list.

And finally...While our focus is on in-car technology, it would be remiss of us not to highlight the rather exceptional emissions of our test car. Exceptionally bad, that is, at 272g/km, equating to £405 per year in road tax. Granted, this is a high performance variant with a powerful 2.8-litre turbo petrol engine. But to give just one example, BMW has managed to restrict the even more powerful 335i, propelled by a 3.0-litre turbo petrol engine, to just 218g/km and £210 per year. Which just goes to show you can have both power and efficiency.


August 8, 2009, 9:37 pm

TV adds for this car in the UK showed some sort of road sign recognition system. I don't know if this was optical recognition of signs or based on sat nav mapping data. I take it this feature was not included on your test car.


August 8, 2009, 10:05 pm

Lovely looking car - drove the auto diesel version on a business trip to Exeter and back (from South Wales).

Unfortunately, the rear seats are useless because of that lovely raked roofline - makes it look like a coupe, but unfortunately makes it seat like a coupe, too. Can't see the point of a four-door saloon which isn't really suitable for four adults!


August 12, 2009, 10:01 pm

What's the point in reviewing the top of the range model? Most buyers, including fleet, will look at the cheaper end. I use hire cars in my job and I've driven both the TD and 1.8 petrol versions. The TD was okay. The 1.8 was too heavy for the motor, sluggish and frustrating to drive. The seats are too hard, you slide all over the place. Dash is nice though.

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