How will the new Insignia cope in the new SUV world?
Vauxhall has a long history of producing ‘full-size’ saloons, and although the ‘Grand Sport’ is a five-door hatch it does follow its predecessors in true fashion. Vauxhall did produce high-end motor cars before the Second World War rivalling Bentley and Sunbeam. But it was in the 1960’s that the company hit the jackpot with the Cresta PB which sold 87,000 and Cresta PC which ran from 1965-1972 which sold 53,000 with a price of £807 and competed with the Ford Zodiac, Rover 2000 and Triumph 2000. Then came the Victor FE in 1972, followed by the Carlton in 1978 and Omega in 1994. At the same time the ever popular Cavalier was in the model line-up. Then, as now, competition is fierce so how will this new Vauxhall Insignia fare.
For a car in this sector to sell, it has to be good, I mean really good, as customers demand the best looking car that is full of technology and specification, with a good range of engines that are economical and of course offer value for money.
This new Insignia really is all-new, it is up to 175kg lighter than the outgoing model, it has class-leading aerodynamics and has a large coupe style design. It has a longer wheelbase and is slightly wider which creates more rear leg and hip room and when you sit in the rear, this is noticeable.
There is a good choice of engines, including a new 1.5 turbocharged petrol that produces either 140ps or 165ps. Diesels on offer are the 1.6 Turbo D that produces 110ps or 136ps and the 2.0 Turbo D that produces 170ps. The highest-powered engine comes in the form of the 2.0 Turbo petrol, which pushes out 260ps but is only available in the Elite Nav 4x4 automatic derivative.
The equipment level is excellent for this new Vauxhall and some very nice options too. Some models now have heated front screens and heated front and rear seats, which are a must when the weather turns cold. New ‘OnStar’ services, which I have never been able to fathom, includes hotel booking and car parking, for some unknown reason, I generally book hotels and car parking whilst at home and not when I’m in the car but that’s me, I guess being old fashioned.
There are many safety and driver assistance systems available, either standard or options including: Head-Up display, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Advanced Park Assist, Next Generation IntelliLux LED Matrix lighting to name but a handful.
The all-new interior has a clean, crisp, uncluttered look touch and feel to it and boasts a spacious layout, it does have a premium and expensive look to it. The seats are particularly comfortable, as Vauxhall seats have been for many years, the company does spend a lot of time and money ensuring all occupants have some of the best seats in the business.
When you look at the price list and see there are 64 derivatives to choose from, it can look a bit confusing and to be honest it is a bit confusing. However, given the amount of engines, manual and automatic gearboxes, plus the wide choice of options I am not surprised by the long list of derivatives but it could well be a challenge for a customer to choose one.
I drove a diesel around Gloucestershire and it felt so solid and well put together, with hardly any noise in the cabin from road, wind or engine, it was so smooth and so quiet. All the controls are easy to find and are very intuitive to use.
The exterior is very modern with some fantastic lines running from front to rear, they are so crisp and getting them to look almost razor-like must have taken a lot of design and engineering time. These swage lines set the car off a treat and the Insignia looks good from every angle, everything is in proportion with its longer, lower stance, the design team have really combined constantly improving metal pressing techniques and used these to their best advantage, they have been bold and it has worked.
Debuting with the new Insignia range and taking personalisation to the next level, Vauxhall-Exclusive allows customers to select their car in the colour of their choice, using any colour they like. Vauxhall-Exclusive will also offer further personalisation including leather options, a selection of wheels and decorative design elements.
The new Insignia is certainly a well thought out car that has a clever design a quality interior along with some nice pieces of useful equipment. Although as the SUV market strengthens, at the expense of the traditional hatch, you have to wonder as good as the Insignia Grand Sport is, will customers simply move away from this type of vehicle, and buy a more practical and flexible, and more useful vehicle. There will of course always be those who want a five-door hatch, but it is likely those will get less as time goes on. But this new Vauxhall is a good choice for those preferring to remain with a hatch, as it does offer plenty of interior space for five adults and loads of luggage space.
Prices start from £17,185.00 OTR and go up to £28,410.00 OTR
Noise reducing laminated side window – £200 option on all
Rear view camera – £310 option on all
Inductive charger for portable mobile devices – £160 option on all
IntelliLux LED matrix headlights with front camera - £1010 option on SRi and above standard on Elite
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