For almost a quarter of a century now - or whenever it was that Clarkson mauled the original Vectra - it's been trendy to make derisory comments about Vauxhall family saloons. Granted, none were class-leaders. But they did seem to come in for an unreasonable amount of stick. Even when Vectra became Insignia, it continued, despite advances made; PH's last experience of the Insignia was up to Scotland in search of lap records, where it actually performed the task at hand admirably well.
Now there's a new Insignia, probably now protected from any vitriol by the fact that family saloons aren't really in the public consciousness anymore. It's an update of the car launched in 2017, now boasting a new range of engines, LED headlights, more driver assistance technology and a mild styling refresh.
While some of the new engine news is significant - with three-cylinder models weighing up to 50kg less than their old four-cylinder equivalents, and full RDE2 compliance on all - the PH focus is understandably on that GSI again. Now the diesel has gone, replaced by a more powerful (as well as cylinder deactivating) 2.0-litre petrol engine with a new nine-speed auto, but the familiar GSI add-ons remain: the Twinster rear differential, Brembo brakes and Competition drive mode, as well as the all-wheel drive system.
While the new Insignia range kicks off at £23,120 for the 1.4 Turbo SE Nav, the flagship GSI is quite a lot more: at £38,850 it sits another £6k above the next most expensive trim, the 2.0 Turbo Ultimate Nav and the SRI VX Line Nav equivalent. Trying to suggest a rival is hard, purely given how few similar saloons and hatches now exist. A petrol Passat isn't available with more than 190hp, a Mazda 6 is similar at 194hp, and the 240hp Ecoboost Mondeo is less expensive. So, it might be a tough sell for the GSI - but when has it been any different for a big, fast Vauxhall? The Insignia is on sale now, and due in showrooms this summer.