Vauxhall's jumbo estate
AS SALES of diesel cars take a knock, Vauxhall is keeping options open with its new Insignia estate. The Insignia Sports Tourer, as Vauxhall is calling its stylish load lugging newcomer, has an all-new turbo petrol engine in the line up – and it is an impressive piece of kit.
It may be only 1.5-litres in capacity but boosted to 165ps it doesn’t struggle to pull all 1.5 tonnes of the latest Insignia.
It can even manage to move the car plus a trailer of up to 1.4 tonnes such is its feisty nature.
Like the new Insignia Grand Sport hatch – launched just a few months ago – the Sports Tourer is very much a car of the times and the Design Nav models come with full connectivity, sat nav and instant access to Vauxhall’s OnStar call centre and SOS help desk.
All models have an electronic parking brake and cruise control with a speed limiter while extras include the IntelliLux LED Matrix headlight system that can scythe up to 400 yards through darkness without dazzling other road users.
There’s even a full colour head up display unit for the driver – and that’s a gizmo taken straight out of the American Corvette sports car.
At just over 16ft long the Sports Tourer is some four inches longer than the Grand Sport and with a wheelbase of 9ft 3ins is nicely roomy inside.
Cargo capacity is all important and the new Insignia is significantly bigger than the model it replaces with maximum space up 135 litres to 1,665 litres.
The load bed is also now more than two metres long.
Inside, the Insignia estate is nicely appointed with a modern approach to the instrumentation but most importantly the Insignia is very comfortable, especially over long distances.
Sleek styling is a forte of the new Insignia range and the Sports Tourer is a most handsome estate that’s good and practical in every aspect – families or business users who need a car that can carry plenty and is proud to wear a British badge have never had it so good.
CHRIS RUSSON UK-BASED Williams Advanced Engineering has created a new pod that can safely transport new-born infants in the case of an emergency.
They will be used in Intensive Care Ambulances by Great Ormond Street Hospital ensuring the most precious cargo is kept safe and secure.
The Babypod 20 was built with high-speed F1 crash safety knowhow, and its lightweight carbon-fibre structure is said to be able to withstand a 20G impact - 20-times the typical force of gravity.
Craig Williams, managing director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “The parallels between a Formula One car and transport device for babies may not be immediately apparent, but both demand a lightweight and strong structure that keeps the occupant safe in the event of an accident, and can monitor vital signs whilst remaining easily transportable and accessible.”