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Opel Insignia
Opel Insignia

Insignia brings new technology and efficiency

Opel’s new Insignia will be here next month with some bold claims to being the most aerodynamic hatch in the world at 0.25 Cd. It certainly has the right environmental credentials with a sub 100 g/km variant which is expected to be the best seller.

The Insignia also promises to herald class-leading technology to the class, with the introduction of IntelliLink, a touch screen powered infotainment system, which will be standard on all but the base model, which starts at €24,995.

A new 2.0 litre turbo-diesel with 140 bhp comes in with a remarkable CO2 figure of just 99 g/km and a corresponding 3.7 l/100 km, which endows the car with a huge touring range – something that will suit its target market very well. A higher powered version is also available, with 163 bhp.

We drove both of these variants on the launch, but there are also two petrol options, the existing 1.4 litre turbo with 140 bhp and a new 1.6 litre unit, with 170 bhp.

The interior of the new Insignia features IntelliLink
The interior of the new Insignia features IntelliLink

The new IntelliLink is an interesting update to the touch screen systems already commonplace in the class. This new technology incorporates an 8” touch screen and a second smaller screen with a touchpad between the seats, which supports handwriting recognition.

Together, these control many aspects of the car including the audio system, climate and telephone. Voice recognition and steering wheel controls are also available of course, but it’s the touchpad that’s new to the class.

I reckon it would need a bit of time to get properly used to the system. I found the handwriting system worked accurately but I’m not sure if it was any faster than other methods for tasks such as entering a new destination into the navigation system. Time will tell and Opel should be congratulated for including this state-of-the-art technology.

Although the Insignia is recognisably based on the outgoing model, the exterior has been subtly refreshed and the chassis settings have been further refined. The result is a very secure drive with good grip and road feel.

We drove down to Waterford for the launch from Naas and back again the following day, so we had plenty of wheel time in the car. Particularly on the way back, when the weather was atrocious, I was glad to be in such a well thought out car, which never felt anything less than 100% secure.

Opel Insignia
Opel Insignia

Standard equipment, even on the base S model is generous, with 16” alloy wheels, air conditioning, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, 7 speaker MP3 stereo with 4.2” colour screen, usb, aux in and iPod, leather steering wheel, electric seat height adjustment and lumbar support on the driver’s seat, remote central locking, electric front windows and door mirrors.

Moving up to the SC brings Intellilink with 3D navigation, video playback, voice activation, bluetooth phone and audio streaming. It also comes with steering wheel controls, climate control and an ultrasonic alarm.

SE trim adds cloth/Moroccana upholstery, 18” alloy wheels, rear electric windows, automatic wipers and self dipping rear view mirrors.

SRi brings sports seats, 18” wheels, OPC body kit and interior, front fog lights, rear electric windows and dark tinted rear glass.

Finally, the top of the range Elite comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, electric driver’s seat with memory, Xenon adaptive lights with auto dipping, dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, front fog lights and electric folding door mirrors.

Prices start at €24,995 for the 1.4 litre petrol saloon, with the five door hatch attracting a premium of €600. The Insignia is also available as a Sports Tourer (Estate), which is €1,800 more expensive than the saloon.

The 2.0 litre 140 bhp, which is expected to be the mainstay of the range starts at €26,995 in S trim, with SC trim starting at €28,995.

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