Automotive

Opel turns the Insignia into a slick SUV fighter

Opel turns the Insignia into a...
The Insignia Sports Tourer is a good looking wagon
The Insignia Sports Tourer is a good looking wagon
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The new Insignia Sport Tourer next to the Grand Sport
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The new Insignia Sport Tourer next to the Grand Sport
The Insignia Sports Tourer is a good looking wagon
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The Insignia Sports Tourer is a good looking wagon
The Sports Tourer is up to 200 kg lighter than its predecessor
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The Sports Tourer is up to 200 kg lighter than its predecessor
The Sports Tourer is fitted with the GKN Twinster all-wheel drive setup from the Ford Focus RS
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The Sports Tourer is fitted with the GKN Twinster all-wheel drive setup from the Ford Focus RS
The Sports Tourer will be sold as a Holden in Australia, a Buick in the USA and a Vauxhall in the UK
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The Sports Tourer will be sold as a Holden in Australia, a Buick in the USA and a Vauxhall in the UK
The panoramic sunroof should make the rear cabin feel a bit more spacious in the Sports Tourer
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The panoramic sunroof should make the rear cabin feel a bit more spacious in the Sports Tourer
There's an extra 100 l of luggage space in the Insignia Sports Tourer
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There's an extra 100 l of luggage space in the Insignia Sports Tourer
Cello players, Opel is gunning for you with the new Insignia Sports Tourer
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Cello players, Opel is gunning for you with the new Insignia Sports Tourer
The cabin of the Insignia is a nicer place to spend time
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The cabin of the Insignia is a nicer place to spend time
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the Sports Tourer
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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the Sports Tourer
OnStar will call the police if you crash your Insignia
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OnStar will call the police if you crash your Insignia
The Sports Tourer comes with the full range of assistance tech you'd expect of a modern family car
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The Sports Tourer comes with the full range of assistance tech you'd expect of a modern family car
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Just a week after BMW unveiled a new 5 Series Touring, Opel has turned the Insignia Grand Sport into a slick four-wheel drive fighter. The Insignia Sports Tourer might be blessed with the same good looks and luxurious interior as the sedan launched last year, but there's even more space for kids, pets and luggage down back. Could it convince you to join the wagon club?

As is the case with the sedan, Opel has trimmed back the fat for a fitter, more engaging Sports Tourer. Depending on trim, the new car is up to 200 kg (441 lb) lighter than its predecessor, which will benefit everything from handling to efficiency. In spite of the impressive weight reduction, the wagon has actually grown in every direction, and now has an extra 100 liters (3.5 cubic feet) of luggage space with the rear seats folded.

Luggage isn't the only thing with more space, as passengers have also been treated to a more capacious rear seat. There's an extra 25 mm (0.98 in) of shoulder room, 27 mm (1.06 in) more hip room and 31 mm (1.22 in) more headroom back there, and the optional panoramic sunroof should help make it feel lighter and more spacious as well. Up front, the driver benefits from a new cockpit design that ditches the outgoing button-heavy center console for a clean new layout. The console is tilted towards the hot seat too, just like it is in an old BMW.

Also featured is the GKN Twinster all-wheel drive system from the Ford Focus RS, which is fitted as standard to all Sport Tourers. Although it's able to send all of the torque to one individual wheel, just like it can in the Focus RS, Opel hasn't mentioned whether a Drift Mode will be available on the faster VXR Insignia – but the setup's bag of torque-vectoring, power-shuffling tricks bode well nonetheless.

The Sports Tourer is fitted with the GKN Twinster all-wheel drive setup from the Ford Focus RS
The Sports Tourer is fitted with the GKN Twinster all-wheel drive setup from the Ford Focus RS

Drivers will also be pleased to know all cars come standard with a set of adaptive Flex Ride dampers, just like the sedan. When you're done fiddling around with the dampers, there are plenty of other toys in the cabin to learn about. The central touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there's wireless phone charging in the glovebox as well. A heads-up display is optional as well, perfect for making the morning commute feel like a low-level strafe in a fighter jet.

As you'd expect of a modern family car, the full range of active safety features are available on the Sports Tourer. Along with the requisite active cruise control, there's lane-keeping assist and rear cross-traffic alerts. These systems aren't quite as sophisticated as the setups on the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series, but the fact you can now buy an Opel family wagon with similar technology to the (much more expensive) class leaders is impressive, and proves GM is serious about trying to push its European brands upmarket.

Although all of this looks good on paper, there are still a few questions that need answering about the Insignia. In Australia, this car will be sold as the new Holden Commodore. Like the (recently deceased) Ford Falcon, the Commodore is an iconic nameplate, and buyers are likely to be skeptical of this now overseas imposter. Sure, the Insignia could be the car to kickstart a new era for GM Australia, but it could also undermine a brand already reeling from the loss of local manufacturing.

It's a similar story in the US, where the car will be sold as a Buick. A good Insignia could breathe life back into a brand largely viewed as a maker of cars for retirees, but a bad one will make it tough to shift the also-ran tag. And, finally, the car will be badged as a Vauxhall in the UK, where it goes head-to-head with the immensely popular Ford Mondeo. To say this is an important car is an understatement of huge proportions.

Opel hasn't released details about pricing yet, but you can expect to see the Sports Tourer on the floor of the Geneva Motor Show next month, where New Atlas will be covering all the action.

Source: Opel

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7 comments
navmed
How about mentioning the torque, hp, 0-60 times?
Milton
I imagine manufacturers are going to stop mentioning 0-60 times since Tesla seems to be undisputed king. Still would like to know what it does though.
Jeff Goldstein
It looks ugly. I like SUV's and the way they look. My favorites are the Porsche's and BMW's. They don't try to hide what they are. Once you start lowering the roofs on pseudo SUV's you make them harder to see out and carry less. When you lower them they don't do as well in snow.
Gregg Eshelman
Looks like a station wagon.
Island Architect
Woah!! This is a beautiful GM product just as the Converj was a very beautiful GM product. Is Ma GM bright enough to import this without ruining it like they did to the ELR?
Calson
Mazda has been doing this for years with their CX series. Problem at this time is that the SUV has disappeared and been replaced with AWD 7 and 8 passenger cars that have very little in the way of cargo space. The mini SUV's provide more cargo space than the large models as a result of the latter having a third row seat in all the vehicles produced by Hyundai, Honda, Ford, GM, and Mazda. Only with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota 4Runner can one still buy a SUV with a reasonable amount of cargo space, as these are configured for 5 passengers with two rows of seats.
Future3000
@Island Architect: sorry bro, it's not GM made it's engineered by Germans in Germany only, by Opel (I know Opel is a WW 1 pledge to GM). 89% of all engineering in GM company is made by Opel. That's the only reason GM didn't sold Opel in 2008. Opel (or GM) cars are very well constructed and designed, in a few ways better than Mercedes (I know this, I worked for both). Tragically it's an "Opel" (or GM) in Germany it's known as "cheap car"... This Insignia is very very good!