The Humble Opinion: Say hello to my other significant other.

Mike Humble:


A leading light in automotive reviewing and valuations has asked me to join their long term test team. Meet my daily weapon – The Vauxhall Insignia SRi-NAV CDTi 170PS

Its been a funny few weeks to be truthful. I’ve been scared to death in a modern replica of a classic 1930’s circuit racer – the bonkers Cummins Railton, hung by my seatbelt at all sorts of dodgy angles in the all new Land Rover Discovery and enjoyed some rather civil driving in the soothing but interesting new Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport. Be it a British brand or British built vehicle be it a car or commercial, its seemingly never been a busier time for the motor trade. They said Brexit was going to be doom and gloom for the motor trade eh?… trust me folks I think things are going to get busier and ever more prosperous – and long may it do so.

Bringing me along nicely to the present so far as my own personal activities matter. A change in personal circumstances means I now have a little more time on my hands to develop and contribute to my own site and another motor based one I have been involved with for many years; ARonline. Oddly enough, it was the aforementioned web site that spurned me on to create this very one and I know a good few of you have continued to enjoy both sites for many years. For those not fully up to speed, one concentrates on a historical point of view of British vehicles, while on here we look at current and future British made or branded cars, commercials and PSVs.

It takes a lot of time to do this but thankfully I am lucky enough to have a patient and understanding other half.. who also knows what’s what and what she likes from a car in a refreshingly non-stereotypical woman’s point of view. For the record, she intends to have a bit more involvement in my motoring mutterings in the near future. I’m sure you’ll agree this can only be a good thing, there just isn’t enough car related stuff out there from a female point of view. Its taken plenty of nagging and pleading from me but she’s taken the Shilling so it seems and more is to follow soon… I hope.

But the most exciting thing to have come about lately is being asked to join the long term test team with one of the UKs largest and most respected automotive advice, review and valuation organisations; Parkers. This of course wont hamper this site and if anything may even complement it. Also, it will most certainly help me gain valuable experience of the new car trade I haven’t worked in for nearly ten years. Partly, I have the motor manufacturers to thank along with yourselves, the readers who read everything on here which has led to this new opportunity arising. Your support and enjoyment is what matters and I am eternally grateful for that… that’s not stuff and nonsense in a sycophantic kind of way – I do mean it.

Anyway, the long term test car has been collected from the Fenlands and after being thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom by my valeting department (yeah… I wash) its ready to rock and rack up some mileage. She’s a Network Q Vauxhall Insignia SRi-NAV CDTi 170 and its purpose being to assess and review an approved used car sourced via an extremely popular scheme that Vauxhall created back in 1990. Worthy of note is the fact that one motoring magazine recently voted the Insignia as the best second hand buy. This is bound to be come an even better proposition in terms of sheer value once the all new Insignia Grand Sport starts appearing in the showrooms very soon.


Its a bit dark, sombre and fifty shades of grey inside and the ride is notably joggly around town. But its not all bad news, show it a long straight motorway and BOY does it put up a good fight with the other fast moving family saloons or sales rep hammered hacks on the motorway. The 2.0 170PS plant pulls from the very soles of its boots and yet still gives you the right side of 60mpg… So far I’m quietly impressed.

But rather unfairly, the Insignia talked about here has always struggled for kudos and respect – such as shame as its a heck of big car for not much cash. If you have never tried one, have play with a post 2013 model and let me know your thoughts. My initial feelings are positive as it drives well, seems properly put together and in 2.0 170PS diesel flavour really does pull like an A4 Gresley Pacific. The 160+ miles journey from Peterborough to Horsham during rush hour was enjoyable thanks to its strong performance once the traffic cleared away… and an average of 63mpg wasn’t to be sniffed at either. On the downside, your passenger wouldn’t want to try and thread a needle when rolling around town – such is the low speed ride comfort!

Initial Thoughts on the Insignia:

The good stuff:

  • Relentless power & torque at any engine speed
  • Incredible value as a used car buy
  • Slick & fast gearchange
  • Decent touring economy
  • On board technology is impressing and easy to use
  • Gives you a subconscious feeling of safety and solidity

The not so good stuff:

  • Cabin is dark and slightly sombre
  • Steering feel is lacking and feels over assisted
  • Over shoulder rearward vision not great
  • Low speed ride is over firm
  • Rough surfaced roads bring a lot of tyre noise into the cabin

Obviously, I’m running the car for Parkers but I’ll also keep you abreast of events on here too. The Insignia makes perfect sense for us owing to the fact we both prefer a nice comfy family saloon and also our other household car the missus rolls around in is a recently delivered new company Passat. So as you can see the Vauxhall should be an interesting comparison to Ze Germans in terms of driver appeal and contrasting design or engineering aspects – even though the Vauxhall also hails from the Fatherland in terms of production location.

So that my friends is about it for now. Once again thanks for your continued support, interaction and comments on here and other platforms I operate on. And remember… you are equally important to the whole thing as I am – keep your thoughts, comments and words of wisdom coming though!

Up the Brits & Safe Motoring!

Mike Humble




  1. Couldn’t agree more. Although having a couple of vauxhalls in the past (mk2 astra GTE and a mk2 cavalier Sri) I fell out of love with vauxhalls and moved to the other side with a couple of Mondeos which have been great cars. A couple of years ago I was looking to change cars again and saw a 64 plate insignia sri 2.0 140, 13,000 miles, 9 months old for nearly 10 grand under new price so I took a test drive and was impressed.

    In nearly two years its been a decent car with a much better chassis than previous vauxhalls albeit like you said a bit choppy around town. The 140 engine still pulls well for a big car and fuel consumption has been impressive. On a trip to cornwall full up with the other half, two children and all the luggage stacked to the roof it returned brim to brim measurement 64 mpg and that was not driving it like a granny. All in all I’ve been impressed with the car and would recommend anyone looking for a car to put it on their list to test drive especially in facelift form.

  2. Congratulations Mike! Its well deserved and your jovial yet to the point mannerism should and ought to get you far in life.

    Like Craig I too fell out of love with Vauxhall after owning a very temperamental 2.2 Vectra cdt. The damn thing just wouldn’t behave without constant attention from my dealer. More recently though I have heard a lot of good noise about the current Astra and new Insignia, enough to make me find out more maybe?

    Once again, well done and long may you continue to bring a smile to my face.

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