2017 Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review

Opel's flagship saloon has a new name but is it better?

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport

The Opel Insignia has held its own well against the likes of the Ford Mondeo and the Volkswagen Passat in Ireland, being a particular hit among fleet buyers and those seeking a large family hatchback. An all-new model, now dubbed the Opel Insignia Grand Sport has just gone on sale here.

The ‘Grand Sport’ moniker implies that the new Opel Insignia has grown-up a bit and matured into something more niche and exclusive.

But with pricing starting from €27,350, any ‘notions’ the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport might have are at least not reflected in the pricing.

The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport is actually a longer car than the outgoing Insignia. It’s an imposing car in the metal but there is a coupé-like elegance to the new design. Inside there is more of a limousine feel than the old car, and this is most noticeable in the back where rear legroom has been significantly improved. Despite the coupé-like styling, headroom in the back is not bad at all, while three can sit there in reasonable comfort. The hatchback-style boot reveals a 490 litre boot. In my opinion, large enough to get lost in.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The interior of the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport

Grand by name but grand by nature? At least from the driver’s seat, the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport car feels every inch the grand tourer. The driver now sits lower and feels more integrated with the car, while the brand new interior wraps around the driver. The design is much improved, with a sleek look centred around the Intellilink infotainment system in the centre of the dash. The materials at eye level are all of good quality and the Nappa leather seats on the test car add to the premium feel. There is more scratchy plastic further down but the interior of the new Insignia feels anything but cheap.

The new Insignia is also available with a wide range of technology, driving aids and premium features depending on trim level including the Opel OnStar assistance service, a digital instrument panel, heads-up display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, LED matrix headlights, Bose sound system, AGR ergonomic seats, traffic sign recognition, lane change assist with side blind spot alert and lane keep assist.

The Insignia Grand Sport range is extensive with four trim levels, a number of petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic gearboxes and even four wheel drive. Standard equipment includes Opel OnStar, air con, cruise control, 7″ touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto projection, 17″ alloys and keyless entry and start. SRi (from €29,350) includes navigation, front sports seats, climate control, 8″ touchscreen, rear spoiler and traffic sign recognition. SE (from €29,350) includes a 4.2″ colour information display, front and rear parking sensors and driver’s lumbar support. Elite models (from €31,595) include leather trim and Intellilux LED matrix headlights.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport is a striking machine with real kerb appeal

Power for the range comes from a new 1.5-litre (140hp) turbo petrol unit, the 1.6-litre diesel (110 or 136hp) and the 2.0-litre diesel (170hp). Both the 1.6-litre (136hp) and 2.0-litre (170hp) units are available with both manual and automatic transmission.

The Opel Insignia Grand Sport sits on a new chassis and though the overall car is bigger, it has lost up to 175kg of body weight. On the road it still feels like a large car but there is a deftness to the steering that makes it more than adequate in the handling stakes. It’s still not particularly sporty: the steering weights up at speed but the heaviness cannot be mistaken for real feedback. But in terms of comfort and refinement, this is a fine car for munching up the motorway miles. My test car had the optional adaptive dampers dubbed Flexride for an extra €1300. The car rides beautifully on them. A Tour mode is included that softens the ride even further.

Under the bonnet, my test car was powered by the 2.0-litre 170 hp diesel carried over from the previous model. The performance of this engine is very impressive with 400Nm of torque and a squeeze of the accelerator in any gear yields swift progress. Opel has bolstered insulation and wind noise is non-existent, but there is still a fair amount of diesel gurgle finding its way into the cabin.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport has grown in length and the interior is roomier

Opel has enhanced the kerb appeal of the new Insignia Grand Sport and the makeover inside and out will make the new car a compelling choice on dealer forecourts. In terms of technology, the new Insignia can be had with an impressive list of features, but this can quickly move the car up into premium price territory. The ride comfort and refinement of the car is truly impressive, while the 2.0-litre diesel will not leave you wanting for power. There is currently a squeeze on D-segment cruisers like the Insignia from SUVs, but as a good companion for the road, the Insignia never grows tired, and now has added prestige.

Model tested: Opel Insignia Grand Sport 2.0 170hp Turbo D Elite
Price: €36,095, €46,985 with options (Range starts at €27,350)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
170hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.9 seconds
Top speed: 226km/h
Economy: 
54 mpg
CO2 emissions:  
136g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a large diesel car, you might also like this review of the Ford Mondeo.