The 136 horsepower 1.6-litre diesel engine is likely to be the biggest seller because of its excellent economy and lowly CO2 emissions. True, it does struggle to motivate the Insignia away from the mark initially (first gear feels very low, and once the revs start soaring, which is almost immediately, the engine begins to sound a little noisy), but once you’ve snapped into second gear, it doesn’t take long for the engine find its generous mid-range grunt, allowing you to roll along happily enough. Just as well, as the last thing you want when trundling along in slow-moving traffic is to be constantly jamming it into first gear.
Although not exactly a fireball, the 165 horsepower 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine is reasonably smooth and flexible, but it does flatter to deceive, something you’ll notice the first time you come to overtake. It’s simply not that quick, and it also suffers from quite a bit of stutter as you step on or release the accelerator pedal.
All the Insignia’s engines we’ve driven have produced clearly audible levels of turbo whistle. The diesel engines are less prone to this than the petrols, but it’s a trait always noticeable as you press the throttle. It’s so pronounced with the most powerful 260 horsepower 2.0-litre petrol engine, you can almost play a tune by stepping on and off the gas.
Although not as slick as the manual gearbox found in a Ford Mondeo, the manual changes are decent, and an eight-speed automatic is also available. Although it’s not particularly rapid when it comes to cog swapping, it is extremely smooth, so it’s sure to be a hit with those who regularly endure congested traffic conditions.