While my car was in the body-shop being fixed, the insurance company saw fit to give me the dubious pleasure of using one of these for a week.
Now I know that it's a stereotype that Vauxhall make dull boring repmobiles that no-one in his right mind would spend his own money on, but at least the Insignia looks reasonably interesting from a styling point of view, at least compared to the hideous Vectra models which preceded it.
Sadly, that's about as good as it gets. Let's start with the interior. It's big. Big and full of hideously cheap plastic and ugly mis-matched displays with varying shades of orange, while the main instruments are light blue with red needles. Yuk. You would have thought that they could afford to pay a decent industrial designer to at least colour co-ordinate some stuff.
Some odd stuff too like part manual/part electric seats. WTF? It just makes it seem like the cheaped out from making them all electric in a bout of penny-pinching. This alone would drive me batshit.
Next the engine, or whatever passes for one. Not sure what the 'S' stands for in 'SRi', but it sure ain't 'sport', except perhaps as a bad joke. This particular example didn't appear to actually have an engine, some joker having substituted a vacuum cleaner motor in it's place. Perhaps it's a hire-car-special, dunno. It's pretty smooth, but offers almost imperceptible acceleration, however hard you push the throttle, wherever in the rev-range it is. I guess this is positive in the sense that a taxi driver will never be able to spill any of his passengers' coffee, however ham-footed he is. The 6-speed gearbox is kind of pointless - it's not like it had a power band to keep within, being equally gutless everywhere in the range.
Despite the minuscule engine, economy was not a strong-point, in fact being piss-poor, not to put to fine a point on it. While my (petrol) A3 returns close to 40mpg when cruising on motorways, the same journey in this bus returned low-30s. I guess this is attributable to the thing being made from pig-iron or something. I have no idea how much it weigts, but my scientific guess is "a fuck of a lot".
Handling - To be honest, I can't say I noticed any, it feels like a big marshmallow. It seemed to have a decent amount of grip, 225 tyres and all, but I didn't actually push it because the steering felt so dead, so I didn't fancy finding out where the limits were. On the other hand, ride was comfy I suppose. I guess weighing "a fuck of a lot" helps here.
Now I don't want to come across a a car snob, but I'd take my 12 year old Audi A3 over this uninspiring muck any day. If this is the kind of car they still make, I'm not surprised they get constantly slated. It's not that it's actively bad, just dull in the extreme with obvious signs that *everything* was made by the lowest bidder (including presumably the brakes).
Must try (much) harder.