Jun 232011

The strong drive towards making new cars more environmentally-friendly has spread to estate cars and family cars. The new Vauxhall Insignia is an excellent car for carrying around the whole family, as it has acres of room inside the cabin, huge boot space and looks like an affordable BMW or Mercedes and certainly is in a step in the right direction for the rest of Vauxhall’s range.

The normal Insignia is heavy and isn’t the most frugal of cars but for its size, it’s a good contender for those who need large amounts of space but don’t want the van-like stance of an MPV. The estate Insignia adds yet more space to an already cavernous interior, and now with the tweaked 2.0-litre diesel engine and the ecoFLEX badge on the flanks, it is now a little friendlier to the ozone layer.

Vauxhall Insignia - Eco Friendly Family Car

Vauxhall Insignia - Eco Friendly Family Car

The most significant changes are with the engine and transmission. It now sports longer gearing which helps for those long motorway journeys, not only to drown out the thrum of the engine but it lowers the rev-range for 70mph, which in turn will help fuel efficiency. The aerodynamics have been changed, too, with a redesigned grille and wind-channels on the rear windows to help air flow over and past the car, rather than it being caught like a sail. Ultra-low rolling resistance tyres are also used, which help increase fuel efficiency and reduce road noise too, with the downside being that grip and handling are compromised. Thankfully, there are electronic safety gizmos to save you.

Inside the Insignia, not much has changed. The cabin is still its plush self and the dashboard boasts a myriad of easy to read, and find, buttons. The sloping roofline looks good from the outside, but for 6-footers in the back, it can be a squeeze. Loading the boot with large objects can be compromised too because of this. The vauxhall insignia boot floor has a fake floor section, which helps for those taller items, and maximises the 1,530-litres of space.

The Insignia is a big, safe car. It has many safety features such as front seat side-impact airbags, driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags, active anti-whiplash head restraints and electronic stability control. So, even if those eco-tyres try to throw you off the road the on-board computers will try to correct any errors and if you should have an accident, the interior will deploy many airbags.

The standard kit in the ecoFLEX Insignia is very good – there is climate control, cruise control, electric windows, seatbelt warnings tones for those who aren’t wearing their seatbelt, electric parking brake, front electric windows and a 100,000 mile warranty.

The 160ps, 2.0-litre diesel runs through a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 0-60mph time is 9.3 seconds, top speed is 134mph and its combined fuel economy is 55.4mpg and it only emits 134g/km CO2, which is very good compared to its rivals. Insurance group is 21, which is high but with savings on fuel it’s a small price to pay.

For a list of Green Eco Cars, click here.

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