Thursday, July 20, 2017

Opel/Vauxhall Insignia B Grand Sport and Sports Tourer

The Insignia, a favorite among company car drivers and fleet decision makers across Europe, is now on its second generation and it's even more promising than ever thanks to its new look, new interior, new tech, new dynamics, and new engine choices, setting the new gold standard for midsize cars in this ever-changing landscape. So, what's new about the Insignia B range?

2018 Opel Insignia
2018 Vauxhall Insignia
2018 Vauxhall Insignia

The all-new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia range sets the new standards in the executive midsize car market by promising new and exciting features way unheard for most midsize saloons in the market and it promises world-class quality ready for the world's toughest challenges, whatever lay ahead. There are now two styles to choose from such as the Grand Sport fastback and the Sport Tourer and wherever you live, you can see one of these worldwide as either a Buick Regal or Holden Commodore, wait what? 

The new Insignia is the new Commodore in the Aussie market? Sadly, it is and because of Australia stopped making cars at the late quarter of this year, Australians will be getting the new Insignia as their new Holden NG Commodore next year and what does it mean? It's the end of Aussie muscle as we know it but let's not lament on the first-ever front-wheel drive Commodore for the Australian roads. We're talking about Insignia for the European people and in terms of design, there is a high possibility that some people may easily mistake it for a Mazda Atenza because by the looks of it, the new Insignia does look like an Atenza by all means necessary. Because the current Mazda Atenza is a good-looking midsize saloon to look at it, so is the new Insignia and mistaken identity aside, it's still very pleasant to look at one of these on the road and it's now easier to refuel because they have to ditch the old twist-off cap so drivers can refuel it quicker, easier, and without the spills.

2018 Opel Insignia interior

The inside looks rather similar to the outgoing model but because it now runs on a new platform that was used on today's Chevrolet Malibu, it's now surprisingly spacious than before so people at the back can get themselves accommodated and as for boot space, the trunk volume of 490 to 1,450 litres makes it enough to accommodate most of your grocery shopping stuff of the day as well as some stuff your grandma needs such as a walker or a wheelchair. In the Sports Tourer, meanwhile, it's been given more convenient ways to like about its boot space that can accommodate up to 1,665 litres such as the special tailgate that can be opened at the lift of your foot in case your hands are full. Because of such generous space, both the Grand Sport and the Sport Tourer are very accommodating indeed.

Regarding the tech word, both the Insignia Grand Sport and Sport Tourer now come with IntelliLink system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility so no matter your smartphone, these tech saves you more than just distracted driving and for occupants who are so busy doing stuff on their mobile phones, OnStar's 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot is ready for these kinds of people who want to do silly status updates on social media sites. Convenient, isn't it?

2018 Opel Insignia
2018 Opel Insignia

In terms of handling, the new Insignia, apart from its Malibu-derived platform, feels very above average for midsize saloon, in fact it is pretty good indeed for a car made for company car drivers and fleet decision makers but there's a real kicker to this new Insignia because later on, a 4x4 variant with the Torque Vectoring will make the new Insignia range very convincing for a company car because with torque vectoring on a 4x4 Insignia, you might almost have the same driving impression as the Ford Focus RS and that makes it from pretty good to very good if you got the chance to sample its clever four-wheel drive powertrain that works like a Ford Focus RS in every tangible way. Yes, please.

The choice of engines at launch comes with a 1.5L DI Turbo and a 1.5L ECOTEC DI Turbo but later on, a 2.0L turbo, 1.6L diesel (with or without ECOTEC), and a 2.0L diesel may follow, and depending on the choice of engines, they can be mated with either a 6-speed AT, MT, or even an 8-speed AT at a later date. Most of the engines are made out of aluminum and because these engines are very light indeed, they are contributed to such better fuel efficiency fit for today's roads. It may not be much to satisfy your driving style but they're very decent enough for a midsize car like this.

To keep the new Insignia well-suited for today's driving conditions, it's been given a host of safety features such as a brand new 360-degree camera, Rear View Camera, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Advanced Park Assist, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Following Distance Indication, Forward Collision Alert, Traffic Sign Assist, and a wide range of radar and camera-based automatic assistance for a safe driving feel that will satisfy most of health and safety standards.

Should you buy one? The new Insignia starts from 25,940 Euros (17,185 GBP) for the Grand Sport fastback while the Sports Tourer costs 26,940 Euros (18,685 GBP). That sounds like great value for money for a pretty good executive saloon fit enough to become the ideal car for company car drivers and fleet decision makers but the new Insignia is more than just being a company car, it's an ideal family car fit for day-to-day use and it's starting to gain shape with all these new features but demonstrating its world-class capabilities is yet to be seen but I'm sure that for the rest of the world, it feels fine for a midsize saloon of this caliber but for the Australians getting one next year as the new Holden Commodore, that's going to be a very different story that should be taken very seriously.

Photo: Opel/Vauxhall

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