Is it the best-value, most practical and comfortable executive estate out there?
There are few sterner tests for an estate car than life with a videographer. They pack in an inordinate amount of gear, which seems constantly to be thrown in and out the back when on shoots. They drive thousands of miles a week. They hurtle down all types of roads, from motorways to deserted mountain passes.
A videographer’s lot is usually on deadline, usually in ungodly weather and usually with journalists, delivery drivers or car owners checking their watches to give them the hurry-up. They need cars that are big, painless, yet still soothing enough to ease away the daily strains and headaches.
Our videographer is thus running a Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer, one of the best-value large estates out there. And so far, they’re delighted. They’ve got the 207bhp turbodiesel engine, fitted with four-wheel drive and an auto gearbox that have already proven man enough to see off the Beast from the East.
Resplendent in Elite Nav spec, it’s a well-stocked thing even as standard. The 20-inch wheels look good, the IntelliLux Matrix LED headlights are simply superb and the well-priced £400 Winter Pack includes heated seats front and rear plus a heated steering wheel.
We’ve also gone for optional 4G wi-fi connectivity. This has already come into its own when streaming Spotify on long trips, and it’s now quickly becoming a must-have photographer’s tool when out on location, too.
That’s because the wi-fi hotspot for occupants is so damn powerful. And is leading to some strange habits. Rather than fight with slow internet at motorway services, or struggle to do something while tethered to our smartphones, our man is now simply sitting in the Insignia and sending stuff back to base from there.
It’s blindingly fast – quicker, he says, thank his home wi-fi. Many megabytes of artistry are sent back to the office in minutes, rather than staring at a blue bar taking an age to edge from left to right. (He also admits it helped him escape from two hours of his wife’s dodgy playlists on a long trip to see the in-laws in the North West: sorry, Gwen Stefani, you were elbowed out.)
And the big Vauxhall is proving chilled in other ways, too. There’s an abundance of safety systems onboard, to make motorway driving truly painless. Lane-keep assist doesn’t just buzz when you edge towards a white line, but will also gently steer to help you keep centrally within it. Safety systems are ever-alert without being over-alert. Relaxing drives are a doddle.
Videographers and photographers don’t hold back when something isn’t right, so the fact the Insignia is keeping them so happy is a real positive, for everyone in the office. It’s a tough test, but Vauxhall’s latest hauler is proving more than up to the task.