Vauxhall Insignia, 2014
The new Vauxhall Insignia range made its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show before first UK deliveries start in October 2013.
There are four new engines, including: a 99g/km 140PS 2.0 CDTi offering large cost benefits to fleet and high-mileage drivers; an all-new 1.6 SIDI 170PS Turbo petrol; and a new 250PS 2.0 SIDI Turbo petrol. Existing diesel units have also benefited from refinement improvements.
An all-new infotainment system, incorporating Bluetooth-operated internet connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, and 3D navigation and voice control, has full smartphone compatibility and allows drivers unrivalled communications while on the move. A DMB (Digital Media Broadcast) radio is now standard across the range.
Since its launch in 2008, the Vauxhall Insignia has largely dominated the mid-size sector and launched the eye-catching design philosophy that has permeated through all subsequent new Vauxhalls. The Insignia's classic exterior lines remain for the new range, refreshed styling at the back and front of the car, but inside there are important changes to its instrument cluster and centre console design, as well as improvements to control-functionality.
The Insignia's range has been simplified, too. There are now eight trims (down from 14 in the outgoing line-up), ranging from Design to Elite, with a mixture of new models that will appeal to both retail and fleet buyers. And like all Vauxhalls, the new Insignia range will come with Lifetime Warranty, allowing first owners peace of mind for as long as they own the car, up to 100,000 miles.
Vauxhall is raising its game in the highly competitive D-segment with the launch of the new Vauxhall Insignia. 167,000 Insignias have been sold since launch in the UK illustrating its popularity with both retail and fleet buyers, as well as its appeal to buyers who had only previously considered premium cars in the D-sector.
While the Insignia has increasingly found favour with retail buyers, much of its success has been in the fleet market with 80 per cent of Insignias going to business customers.
Vauxhall's combination of more efficient engines, premium design and state-of-the-art infotainment systems will certainly prove tempting to both company car drivers and fleet decision-makers alike.
The new Vauxhall Insignia's direct competitors include the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis and Peugeot 508. Other potential competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Mercedes C-Class.
Design and Aerodynamics
The biggest change existing Insignia customers will see when they sit in the new car is a completely re-designed centre console and instrument cluster. The centre console has been simplified and now has fewer buttons for more intuitive operation of common functions, such as air conditioning and infotainment, while the instrument cluster has new dials and a fresh, high-tech look.
Optional across the range is an 8-inch screen infotainment display (up from 5-inches in the outgoing range) and a new, upgraded instrument cluster with an 8-inch, high-resolution colour display. The cluster incorporates two outer dials showing fuel and revs, while in the centre sits a speedometer that can be displayed in analogue or digital form, or changed to show functions such as smartphone or audio use, or navigation.
The 8-inch infotainment display has touch-screen functionality, allowing drivers to access all functions and sub-menus such as radio stations, song titles, smartphone connection or 3D navigation in an intuitive and safe way. Its illuminated, touch-sensitive surface reacts immediately to finger movements, with even individual letters and numbers being accessible via this method. Up to 60 favourite menus can be stored from all functions and apps, available next year, can also be downloaded via the car's Bluetooth-connected internet.
In addition to button, touchscreen and touchpad operation, Insignia drivers can also control the infotainment system via re-designed controls on the new-look steering wheel. The advanced voice recognition function can also be operated by a single push of a button on the steering wheel.
Stylish new leather and cloth trims are available in the New Insignia range, complemented by upgraded dashboard materials and decors.
With 40 industry awards to its name - including the coveted European Car of the Year in 2009 - the outgoing Vauxhall Insignia has earned respect from media and customers alike. One of the pillars of its success has been its premium design - we called it 'sculptural artistry meets technical precision' at launch - and with the new range this has been enhanced still further.
Starting at the front of the car, the high-gloss chrome grille is wider and lower than before. The logo-bar that cradles the Griffin badge is thinner and includes winglets that link with the re-designed headlamps. On Elite models, these feature bi-xenon lamps with AFL (Advanced Forward Lighting), which is optional on all other models.
Standard headlamps are trimmed in high-gloss black with chrome-embedded accents, with the up-level AFL lights getting a 'wing-signature' daytime running light with energy-saving LEDs.
The lower front fascia inserts are designed to appear slim and wide to emphasise the upper grille size. Fog lamps are combined with wide, black inserts and chrome accents, which grow in width as they near the cabin.
The New Insignia range's Hatch and Saloon models are better defined through their unique tailgates and rear spoilers. The crease line on the C-pillar of the Hatch fades out before it reaches the spoiler's trailing edge, giving it a classic coupe silhouette. On the Saloon, the crease line continues along the edge of the spoiler to emphasise the body's length.
At the rear, the New Insignia range models appear wider and lower. The high-gloss chrome logo bar has been positioned lower on the tailgate. It extends into the tail-lights and incorporates the slim-look reversing lamps. The tail and stop functions of the two-piece tail-lights are illuminated by LEDs throughout the range.
The Sports Tourer's rear styling embodies a similar wider and lower appearance. The main visual enablers are again the stretched chrome brand bar, also framing the reverse functions, and an uninterrupted body-colored division between the tailgate glass and the longer, slimmer light units. The rear bumper moldings for all models also incorporate several black 'cut-out' inserts according to the powertrain choice, with or without visible exhaust tailpipes.
The New Vauxhall Insignia range offers a raft of technology, safety and comfort highlights. These include state-of-the-art radar and camera-based assistance systems (including adaptive cruise control and second-generation park assist), premium seats, and 'Open & Start', the keyless entry and start system, to name just a few.
Vauxhall's new Insignia is not only the lowest CO2 emitting car in its sector but now also the most streamlined vehicle in the world in its class.
Thanks to clever changes to the body design of the new Insignia, Vauxhall's engineers have reduced the vehicle's drag coefficient to under 0.25 for the Insignia hatchback and 0.28 for the Sports Tourer. New extended underbody covers, wider front spoiler lips, tail lamp housings designed to enhance airflow separation and an integrated rear deck lid spoiler contribute to the new Vauxhall Insignia's slippery shape.
Insignia 2.0 CDTi eco FLEX (120/140PS) models with Start/Stop also feature an additional, ultra-modern aerodynamic element: an active front air shutter. Air flowing through the front grille to cool the engine usually accounts for up to eight per cent of total vehicle air drag. To reduce this effect, a shutter in the lower front grille automatically closes to prevent air entering and causing turbulence. For cold starts, an additional advantage is a faster engine warm-up, which also helps reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Whenever the engine needs air for cooling, the shutter opens automatically.
These changes help the new Insignia eco FLEX (120/140PS) achieve class-leading CO2 emissions of 99g/km and 76.3mpg on the combined cycle.
This gives the eco FLEX a range of up to 1175 miles, which means that an average UK driver covering 8,200 miles, would only have to refill with diesel seven times per year. Or put another way, an eco FLEX driver could travel from London to Budapest on one tank of fuel!
ENGINES AND CHASSIS
The new Insignia range's powertrain line-up has been broadened still further with the addition of an all-new petrol engine and new derivatives of the existing 2.0 CDTi unit.
Now available with a choice of three power outputs - 120PS, 140PS and 163PS - the New Insignia range's 2.0 CDTi engine offers drivers ultra-low C02 emissions of 99g/km (76.3mpg combined) for the lower two outputs and 114g/km (65.7mpg combined) for the higher output unit (figures for Hatch models). But performance hasn't been compromised, with even the 120 and 140PS models producing up to 320 and 370Nm of torque respectively, and the 163PS model up to 380Nm.
For company car drivers, the new diesel engines offer an even more compelling argument, with both the 120 and 140PS eco FLEX Hatch versions emitting just 99g/km of C02 and dipping in to the 14 per cent Benefit-in-Kind category for the 2013/14 Tax Year.
Also new to the engine line-up are two direct injection petrol units: the new-generation 1.6-litre SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) producing 170PS/280Nm that recently launched in the 2013 Cascada convertible, and the 2.0-litre SIDI, producing 250PS/400Nm. Both engines provide an exceptional mix of refinement, economy and performance. They can be coupled with a six-speed manual transmission and Start/Stop function, or with a new, low-friction six-speed automatic gearbox.
Across the New Vauxhall Insignia range, there have been improvements including dampers, roll-bars and steering, which result in improved noise and vibration behaviour and even higher levels of comfort. Completely new suspension control arms and carrier housings were built into the axle architecture to improve driving comfort. Electronic Power Steering (EPS) is standard in all but the VXR models has been reprogrammed for improved feel. Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels have also been reduced for enhanced occupant comfort.
Vauxhall's Flex Ride adaptive damping chassis system, with its real-time driving style recognition, is also used in the new Insignia. This innovative chassis networks all driving dynamics systems and features electronic damper adjustment, as well as speed-dependent power steering. The driver can choose between three driving modes: Standard for driving comfort, Tour for an even softer, more comfortable drive, and Sport for a more direct, sporty driving experience.