Motors

New Insignia is bigger, lighter and smarter

The new bigger, sleeker Vauxhall Insignia, called the Grand Sport, packs plenty of presence

VAUXHALL has put its Insignia model on a super-size diet to come up with its replacement, this time called the 'Insignia Grand Sport'.

It is a handsome and well proportioned car, available as a five-door hatchback or estate, but the growth spurt means it is now the size of a Skoda Superb.

For those without a tape measure, compared to the Insignia the Grand Sport has grown by more than 5cm in length, 1cm in width and 9cm in the wheelbase while losing 3cm in height.

And, despite being bigger, the new car is lighter - by as much as 175kg, model for model - than that which it replaces. Vauxhall pulled the same trick with the latest Astra, and if the Insignia Grand Sport is anything like as good as that car it deserves to sell well.

Vauxhall seems to have opted to give passengeras loads of space, as the boot is actually smaller than the current Insignia.

There's likely to be a wide range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines - details have yet to be announced - and four-wheel-drive and eight-speed automatic gearboxes will be offered.

There's a barrage of technology aboard, including the latest version of Vauxhall's very effective LED headlamps and a head-up display.

"In its proportions as well as in each detail, we wanted the new Insignia Grand Sport to deliver an upscale quality feel," said Vauxhall's design boss Mark Adams.

"Its design combines flowing lines and subtle surfaces with crisp, precise lines to exaggerate its dramatic proportions: it looks longer, lower and wider than it actually is, and it definitely looks upscale.

"Every design feature conveys technical know-how and the utmost precision.

"The new Insignia Grand Sport is an excellent value proposition with the aura of a car from the premium, upper class."

Those "premium, upper class" cars - models like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, as well as their bigger siblings - have usurped brands like Vauxhall and Ford in this part of the market.

Models like the Cavalier and Vectra, Sierra and Mondeo could once reliably be expected to dominate, but no longer - Vauxhall will be hoping that its more upmarket approach with the Insignia Grand Sport will get it noticed again.

The new car is due to get its official launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

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