10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE VAUXHALL INSIGNIA​

The first Vauxhall Insignia was launched in 2008 and continued in largely unchanged form for nearly a decade. Although it is descended from the medium-sized Cavalier and Vectra, it is now Vauxhall’s largest car, and can therefore be seen as the modern equivalent of the Carlton and Omega.

It has taken nine years for Vauxhall to come up with a replacement for the original model, but it’s here now, already available to order in the UK with first customer deliveries scheduled for this summer. As you might hope, it’s significantly better in almost every way, giving Vauxhall a better chance of competing against sector rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb.

1. BASED ON A NEW PLATFORM

The new Insignia is based on a new platform only distantly related to that used for the previous car. It has allowed Vauxhall to increase the wheelbase by nearly four inches without making the car as a whole any longer, and also to reduce weight – new Insignias are up to 175kg lighter than their predecessors.

The same platform is also the basis for two other General Motors cars which we won’t be seeing in Europe. The Buick Regal will be sold only in America and Asia, while sales of the Holden Commodore will be restricted to Australasia.

2. MORE COUPE-LIKE DESIGN

The styling of the Insignia is derived from the 2013 Monza concept. The sloping roof line makes it look more like a coupe than a large hatchback, though fears that rear headroom may be limited are dispelled as soon as you climb inside.

3. MORE ROOM FOR PASSENGERS

The Insignia can hold four adults very easily, and at a push five. In particular, there is more space in the back, where there is 32mm more hip room and 25mm more shoulder and hip room. There is also an extra 8mm above the passengers’ heads compared with the previous model.

All this has come at the expense of luggage space. This has actually come down slightly to 490 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,450 litres when they’re folded down in the case of the Grand Sport hatchback.

4. OTHER BODY STYLES

As well as the Grand Sport, there is also a Sports Tourer estate, which can carry between 560 and 1665 litres of luggage.

The Sports Tourer is the basis of the Country Tourer, due to be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Show in September 2017. With its standard four-wheel drive and extra body protection, this is the Insignia for people who need to go off-roading but don’t want to buy an SUV.

5. VAUXHALL FIRSTS

The new Insignia is the first Vauxhall ever to be fitted with an “active” bonnet, which helps reduce injury to a pedestrian in the unfortunate event of an impact.

It is also the first Vauxhall to be supplied with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This unit, produced by Japanese company Aisin and also found in the Porsche Cayenne, is used in the 256bhp two-litre turbo petrol version with four-wheel drive.

6. ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY

Every Insignia comes as standard with the latest versions of IntelliLink and OnStar. IntelliLink includes DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, while OnStar creates a WiFi hotspot and allows you to search for a parking space or book a hotel room.

Vauxhall’s IntelliLux lighting system, first seen in the Astra, has also been updated. It now features 32 LEDs per headlight (twice as many as as before), several of which automatically switch off to prevent dazzling drivers of oncoming cars. In addition, IntelliLux provides a corner lighting function and has a range of up to 400 metres.

7. NEW PETROL ENGINE

There’s no shortage of engine choice in the new Insignia range. Power outputs start at a modest 109bhp for the 1.6 diesel and reach 258bhp for the 2.0 turbo petrol.

In between, there’s a new 1.5 turbo petrol derived from the 1.4-litre unit found in smaller Vauxhalls. Despite its size, it’s quite punchy, with a maximum output of 138bhp. This engine is used in the cheapest version of each trim level.

8. SEVEN TRIM LEVELS

The Insignia is available in Design, Design Nav, SRi, SRi Nav, SRi VX-line Nav, Tech Line Nav and Elite Nav forms. “Nav” denotes that satellite navigation is fitted as standard.

All versions have cruise control, air-conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and a forward camera, in addition to the IntelliLink and OnStar systems mentioned previously. Elite Navs feature leather upholstery, heated seats for the front and outer rear passengers, tinted rear windows and an 8-inch digital instrument display.

9. LOW PRICING

The entry-level Insignia is the Grand Sport Design with the 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine. It costs £17,115, or nearly £3000 less than the cheapest Skoda Superb.

The most expensive Grand Sport is the £27,710 Elite Nav 2.0 turbo petrol 4×4 automatic. Sports Tourer models cost £1500 more, so for the moment no Insignia is priced above £30,000 without optional extras.

10. RUNNING COSTS

The star performer here is the Grand Sport with the 109bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine. Which has combined fuel economy of 70.6mpg and a CO2 rating of 105g/km. Benefit In Kind taxation for business users is 23% in this financial year, rising to 28% in 2019-2020.This engine is not available in the Sports Tourer estate mini-range from launch, but Vauxhall says it will definitely be introduced at some point.