GRAND ALL ROUND: VAUX­HALL’S HI-TECH NEW IN­SIGNIA MOVES UP-MAR­KET

Vaux­hall has re­launched – and re­branded – its pop­u­lar In­signia sa­loon. What’s it like? We find out.

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page -

VAUX­HALL is cur­rently reimag­ing its In­signia range. The model name of In­signia re­mains the same but the old sa­loon and es­tate ver­sions have been re­branded.

The hatch­back sa­loon has be­come the In­signia Grand Sport, and the es­tate the In­signia Sports Tourer.

It’s un­clear where the Sport clas­si­fi­ca­tion comes into it, as the cars re­main pretty much stan­dard sa­loon and es­tate cars. Pos­si­bly to make them sound more SUV or Cross­over-ish.

That’s not to say there’s any­thing wrong with them. There isn’t.

Take the In­signia Grand Sport, for in­stance. This is the ba­si­cally the se­cond gen­er­a­tion of the In­signia, the first hav­ing been on sale in the UK since 2008 when it re­placed the Vec­tra.

And a lovely job they’ve done of it, too, what­ever the mer­its of the Grand Sport name change.

LOOKS AND DE­SIGN

It’s gone on a star­va­tion diet, los­ing 175kg (that’s about 27 stone) and re­ceived a nice ex­ter­nal over­haul which raises the bar in terms of looks and el­e­gance as it at­tempts to move into Ger­man pre­mium sa­loon ter­ri­tory.

De­spite the weight loss, the In­signia Grand Sport’s wheel­base has grown in size. It’s now chal­leng­ing the Skoda Su­perb and even the Merc E- Class and BMW 5-Se­ries in length.

A swoop­ing roofline gives the car a coupe-like feel (and con­se­quently less rear head­room than some ri­vals).

There’s a promi­nent grille and slim- line head­lamps to en­hance the wide hor­i­zon­tal de­sign. What Vaux­hall calls a “sweep­s­pear”, a crease fea­ture, starts in the front door and sweeps to the back, giv­ing the im­pres­sion that the In­signia Grand Sport is al­ways ready to rum­ble.

The look works: the over­all feel is Merc-like both in its in­tent and its de­liv­ery. With a drag co-ef­fi­cient of 0.26, it’s also very aero­dy­namic.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

En­gines range from 110PS to 260PS with an all-new 1.5-litre Turbo look­ing very nice amongst a fa­mil­iar line-up of diesels and petrols.

There is also a Flexride chas­sis with

Stan­dard, Sport and Tour modes to con­trol the dampers, steer­ing and throt­tle re­sponses.

New in­tel­li­gent all-wheel drive is pro­vided via two elec­tri­cally con­trolled multi-plate clutches which re­place the rear axle dif­fer­en­tial al­low­ing torque vec­tor­ing for the first time (for ex­am­ple, when cor­ner­ing, ad­di­tional torque is trans­mit­ted to the out­side rear wheel).

You will, of course, ex­pect your new In­signia Grand Sport to be packed with the lat­est kit given the ver­i­ta­ble arms-race in au­to­mo­tive tech­nol­ogy.

Next gen­er­a­tion In­tellilux LED ma­trix light­ing is in­te­grated into the new slim­line head­lamps, whilst Lane Keep As­sist, a Headup Dis­play, Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert, Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol with emer­gency brak­ing and a heated wind­shield are also amongst the good­ies.

IN­SIDE THE CABIN

The cabin has been thor­oughly up­graded, and in­cludes seats spe­cially crafted to sup­port the hu­man back – a big plus, if you ask me.

There is ex­cel­lent in­fo­tain­ment and con­nec­tiv­ity, with Ap­ple CarPlay/an­droid Auto, smart­phone

“IT’S GONE ON A STAR­VA­TION DIET, LOS­ING 175KG (THAT’S ABOUT 27 STONE) AND RE­CEIVED A NICE EX­TER­NAL OVER­HAUL WHICH RAISES THE BAR IN TERMS OF LOOKS AND EL­E­GANCE AS IT AT­TEMPTS TO MOVE INTO GER­MAN PRE­MIUM SA­LOON TER­RI­TORY.”

in­te­gra­tion, wireless charg­ing and the abil­ity to con­nect seven dif­fer­ent de­vices to the on­board wifi.

TECH­NOL­OGY In­fo­tain­ment and con­nec­tiv­ity is de­liv­ered thanks to the lat­est gen­er­a­tion In­tellilink sys­tems and Vaux­hall On­star, which with the launch of the In­signia Grand Sport, will of­fer even more func­tion­al­ity for cus­tomers.

New On­star fea­tures al­low oc­cu­pants to book ho­tel rooms and search for suit­able park­ing spots via an On­star ad­vi­sor.

There are seven trim lev­els: De­sign, De­sign Nav, SRI, SRI Nav, SRI Vx-line Nav, Tech Line Nav, and Elite Nav. WHO WOULD BUY ONE? In­signias have al­ways been pop­u­lar with fleet man­agers due to low Bik costs, and this con­tin­ues with even big­ger sav­ings over old mod­els.

That said, it will also be pop­u­lar with gen­eral busi­ness driv­ers and fam­i­lies.

Price ranges from £17,115.00 for a six-speed 1.5 turbo De­sign model to £26,755 for an Elite Nav 2.0 Turbo D au­to­matic. The Grand Sport is on sale now.

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