The SRi VX-Line package brings a welcome degree of visual flair but without indulging overly in the sort of ‘boy racer’ stick-on addenda you might associate with the acronym – souped-up Nova, anybody? Bumpers are suitably sporty at both ends, and the two-tone 20in alloys go some way to lending a bit of kerb appeal (and a good deal of kerb vulnerability – you’ll cringe your way through high-kerbed multi-storey car parks). It’s a shame to no longer have the estate at our disposal, but the long-roof car’s pleasing proportions failed to translate into strong sales, and so the Insignia is, these days, a one-shape-fits-all solution.
Upon entry, any illusion of charisma is quickly quashed by the Insignia’s steadfastly bland cabin decor; the recent facelift wrought few tangible revisions to the interior, and so you’re met by a sea of not-all-too-premium-feeling black plastic and leatherette. It’s hard not to take issue with such unimaginative design when other PSA brands are successfully forging their own distinct – and appealing – interior identities. But as is the case with the Corsa and Mokka, the Insignia wins back some marks for all key functions being within reach and clearly visible, a sensible balance between touch and physical controls, and an intuitive driving position with plenty of adjustability. The sloping roof means taller passengers will be happier in the front seats, but legroom in both rows is more than ample, and while its 490-litre boot won’t win class honours, there’s room for the weekly shop and plenty more besides.
We’ll single out our test car’s seats for a mention: they’re nicely cushioned and reassuringly firm, but their ‘sporting’ bent means the bolsters are so close together that I almost phoned up Joe Wicks to complain about my pre-summer weight loss routine. He’s off the hook, though, as a much smaller passenger said much the same thing as me. Definitely a point to consider, as just 10 miles would be enough to have you shuffling around to find a more comfortable position.
The Insignia otherwise makes for a competent long-haul cruiser. Rolling noise is kept to a minimum at speed – and would no doubt be even better subdued with chunkier rubber underfoot – and it clears gaps in the Tarmac with impressive composure. The 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, while not as rorty as the nameplate and decoration would suggest, serves up its 197bhp and 258lb ft convincingly, pushing the Insignia to 62mph in 7.2sec.