Opel Insignia hits its mark close to final turn

The new Opel Insignia SRI

The recent revival chez Opel has been as welcome for loyal customers as it has been for the thousands of workers the company employs across Europe.

Certain of its’ models are bang up to date — Adam, Corsa, Karl, Mokka and Astra, with the latter also having put Opel right back at the thick of the action in the critical small family car class as well as having convincingly won the 2016 European Car Of The Year prize — while other, older, cars have benefitted from a range of new engines and a batter of new technical and electronic gizmos.

The Insignia range fits into the latter class and, having endured a period in its’ life when it was nothing more than an also-ran in the family car/repmobile segment, it has gestated into being a serious contender. Trouble is that it is probably too late in the Insignia’s lifecycle for its’ revitalisation to allow it make the sort of impact it should have made from the outset of its career.

Despite the addition of such as the new ‘Whisper’ two-litre turbodiesel engine and the OnStar concierge and infotainment system, the Insignia is now seeing out the last of its’ days and will be replaced within the Opel line-up in the short term. But that is not the end of the world for the car as, with a bit of clever marketing and — more importantly — some judicious price reductions could see this machine selling well right up until the time comes for it to be replaced.

For potential owners too, the car now represents an opportunity to haggle their way to a really good deal and a cost-effective car which will serve them well for a considerable time to come.

For those drivers at the mercy of fleet managers whose decisions dictate what car they will drive, I can assure them that if truckloads of Opel Insignias start arriving in the company car park, they will not end up being a laughing stock among fellow sales reps for having the duddiest car amongst them.

Rather, they will have a car which is not only on a par right now with the Mondeo/Passat/Avensis cabal — not to mention the Korean contenders which are making stealthy inroads into the segment— but which can hold its’ own mechanically and technologically with them.

Its’ once chiselled good looks might have faded a touch since it was a refreshing face on the scene, but the design team has done a good job of keeping it as fresh as possible. Whatever about the looks though, it is the manner in which it comports itself which is probably the single most impressive thing about it. The new ‘Whisper’ diesel is something you’ve got to take with a small pinch of salt because when you start it up there is the usual clatter you’d expect from an oil-burner, but once it is on the move, it is the essence of quiet sophistication and it is no mean performer too.

This engine has some 170 bhp on tap and an impressive 400 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm and will propel the Insignia to a top speed of 223 kph and the 0-100 kph dash is achieved in a decent nine seconds dead.

Fuel consumption should work out at around the 4.2 l/100 km mark (which is north of 60 mpg) while emission levels are just 118 g/km for an annual tax bill of just €200. What’s not to like?

Throw in the excellent OnStar system which combines connectivity with navigation, information and entertainment via an 8” touchscreen and an interior which is notable for its’ spaciousness and comfort and you have a thoroughly decent and modern mid-sized car.

Now it may be that the cost of the SRi specified tester might be too tall an order for some tastes, but you will find much better value down the order. Not one to be overlooked, then.

COLLEY’S VERDICT: ***

The Cost: from €33,850 - €42,134 as tested

The Engine: a modern, impressive, powerful and efficient diesel

The Specification: nothing really to be added to the SRi version as tested

The Overall Verdict: may be ageing, but can still hold its’ own against the younger turks


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