17 October 2013

Opel raises the bar with new Insignia

Opel is raising its game in the upper mid-size segment with the launch of its flagship new Insignia which goes on sale here in November priced from €24,995-€53,495, writes Trish Whelan.

The range includes a 4-door saloon, 5-door hatchback, the Sports Tourer, the new Country Tourer, and the star performer, the 325hp OPC.

This latest Insignia is aimed at fleet and private customers, mostly males aged from 35-55, who want mid-size and premium type cars. With the first generation model, fleets accounted for almost half its sales.

New Insignia comes with premium technologies, frugal fuel consumptions, a world best for aerodynamics and a whole new infotainment operation that will most definitely appeal to those who love technology and who need to stay connected to the outside world while in their cars.

Powerful and efficient engines are a pair of 2.0 CDTi diesels with 140hp and 163hp, and two petrols of 1.4 140hp and the new 1.6 turbo with 170hp. There's a 2.8i V6 Turbo 4x4 OPC at the top of the price list.

The 140bhp 2.0 turbo diesel returns a frugal 3.7 L/100kms over the combined cycle and 99g/km C02 putting the car in Tax Band A2; it delivers 10 percent more horsepower while consuming 14 percent less fuel and emitting 13 percent fewer C02 emissions. With 163bhp on tap, the 2.0 turbo diesel uses 4.3 L/100km and emits 114gkm so is in Tax Band A4 with €200 road tax per year.

While the first Insignia was a very good looking car, this new model is quite stunning in its all round style while retaining the coupe-like stance.

Improvements have also been made to the chassis for better road handling as well as for improved ride comfort, while the hatchback and Sports Tourer are the most aerodynamic cars in their class - in the world! The cockpit has been redesigned to simplify the control panel.

Key to the car's advanced new technology is its unique IntelliLink infotainment system. This four-way infotainment system is controlled by a unique touchpad in the centre console, an 8-inch touch screen, and steering wheel controls or voice command.

Opel say it rivals similar systems in premium brands.

Customers can also download a free, user-friendly owner's manual for the Insignia from the app store, the myOpel Manual. Once the app is installed, simply scan any part of the car which needs explanation with the smartphone's camera. It is initially available for the iOS operating system, with an Android-based version to follow shortly.

Insignia has been awarded a maximum 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Features include modern radar and camera-based driver assistance, and safety systems like full speed adaptive cruise control, imminent collision breaking, a rear camera, lane-change assistance, blind spot alert, and rear cross traffic alert.

Direct competitors include the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and Peugeot 508. Others potential competitors are the Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Mercedes C-Class.