GIVEN THE CHOICE, I’d much rather tow with a diesel. The stronger mid-range pull and better economy make diesel engines better suited to towing.
That said, some of the latest generation petrol engines are good enough to rival diesels for flexibility and economy. Take the new Vauxhall Insignia’s 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo engine. It puts out a healthy 147lb.ft of torque, a 14% improvement on the old 1.8-litre petrol. The 1.4 T achieves 49.6mpg on the combined cycle, a figure which would have been impressive for a diesel just a few years ago.
You still get all the advantages of petrol power. Our test drive showed the 1.4 T revs cleanly and more quietly than the 2.0-litre diesels in the Insignia range. It’s cheaper to buy, too. You’ll pay £715 less than you would for the 128bhp diesel.
A kerbweight of 1503kg for the hatchback gives an 85% match figure of 1278kg. However, the legal towing limit is just 1200kg. We didn’t get the chance to do any towing with the car but the engine should cope with lightweight tourers.
Prices for the Insignia 1.4 T start from £18,795, with the first cars due to be delivered on 23 September. Provided you tow a lightweight tourer, the Insignia 1.4 T is worth a test drive before you plump for one of the diesels.