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Vauxhall Insignia review: Insignia of the times

By Roger St Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Published 08/09/2016

Vauxhall Insignia: This Mondeo challenger is one of the good ones
Vauxhall Insignia: This Mondeo challenger is one of the good ones

In a motoring world ever more dominated by computer-generated lookalike styling, branding is clearly a major issue.

You might question the notion ‘What’s in a name?’ but the marketeers will rapid-fire respond: ‘Well, everything.’ – which explains why General Motors’ UK arm has stuck to the very English Vauxhall name for products which are branded as Opel across the rest of Europe.

These cars might be built on the Continent but along with the name that familiar Griffin logo stuck on the grille signifies a deeply ingrained British image. It’s a classic example of badge engineering.

Having been making cars since 1903 the Luton-based Vauxhall operation was acquired in 1925 by General Motors, a Detroit corporation that today vies with Japan’s Toyota as the world’s largest carmaker.

Down the years it’s been a rollercoaster ride. They’ve given us the good, the bad and, sorry to say, too many of the ugly. We remember fondly some memorable transcontinental drives at the wheel of a high performance Lotus engined Vauxhall Carlton, but at the same time cannot forget the friend who had to keep a large concrete slab in the boot of his rapidly rusting Vauxhall Velox to stop the rear wheels from skipping whenever he cornered hard.

So what of the current range-topping Insignia? Well, we are pleased to say this Mondeo challenger is one of the good ones.

For 2016, the multi-model range o/fifers tourer and hatchback versions and adds a useful 1.6-litre four-cylinder ‘whisper’ quiet-running turbo-diesel that offers low emissions, good economy – with 70mpg plus consumption figures attainable – an upgraded interior and an attractive £23,724 price that will hopefully revive the Insignia’s rather flagging sales figures.

Standard equipment levels are unusually high, helping make value for money a key selling point.

Performance is not exactly stunning but a 127-mph top speed and an 11.4-seconds 0-62-mph acceleration figure are surely enough for most of the minor management business operators and family motorists who form the car’s target market.

Online Editors

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