People have a love affair with their cars. They give them names, talk to them as if they are real people and spend more time with them than most of their family members.
But you may be surprised to learn that London’s fastest selling car is…the Vauxhall Insignia? That’s right. So why are people so attracted to this relatively new entry to the market?
Here are seven reasons:
1. Vroom, Vroom.
You can select from any number of engines, such as the efficient 138bhp Ecoflex diesel and the 1.4-litre turbo. Environmentally conscious people pick the Ecoflex while the petrols go for the big engine and power. Ecoflex is a strong mid-range, so there’s no need to rev it hard to make decent progress, but it can feel a little flat at low revs compared with the best rivals. Besides these two engines, the Insignia offers a mighty 321bhp 2.8-litre V6 in the sporty VXR model. A happy medium between the two would be the 118bhp 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine that returns a combined economy of 76.3mpl and has CO2 emissions of 98g/km. If you need a fraction more power, a 138bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel is also available and will be the engine of choice for most buyers.
2. Stability Is Popular
Cars with large wheels catch the grooves in the road and make drivers nervous or uncomfortable while driving. The Insignia feels much more stable and composed on 16-inch wheels. The ride is generally comfortable, too, and the Insignia doesn’t feel overly sloppy on B-roads although it isn’t as agile as a Ford Mondeo or Skoda Octavia. The 2013 changes to the chassis and steering calibration give it a more direct feel. The re-designed rear suspension improves road comfort. These small changes have done a lot to convince people to buy it.
3. Environmentally Friendly Option Is Available
The Ecoflex diesel versions produces the lowest CO2 emissions in the class. This appeals to companies who have fleets and people who want to do their part for the environment. (However, it’s good to know that all models suffer from heavy depreciation and huge discounts are available to private buyers.)
4. Interior Functions Well
You get a smart cabin that feels like it’s built to last, although the optional digital instruments are best avoided because they reflect in the windscreen at night. Customers love the feel of the car’s interior. Besides the interior, the Insignia offers a list of trim options starting with entry level design. The mid-range Insignia SRi is also popular while the range-topping Elite comes packed with a kit including such extras as 18-inch alloys, leather trim and dual-zone climate control.
5. Safety Rules
With the Vauxhall, you can expect six air bags and stability control. (Note: You don’t get driver’s knee airbag or rear side air bags.) Like most key rivals, the Insignia received five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Meanwhile, Thatcham awarded the Insignia five stars for resisting drive away theft and four of five for resisting forced entry.
6. Touch and Continue
The cars come equipped with a large touch-screen, through which you control the stereo and your phone. It’s easy to move between this system’s various menus. Although dragging your finger while driving presents clear potential problems, Vauxhall realises this and also provides voice control, a scroll knob and a laptop-style touch pad.
7. Cost Matters
The cheapest version of the Insignia, labeled “Design”, is pretty well-equipped, getting Bluetooth, a digital radio, USB and aux-in sockets, cruise control and electric four-way lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat. (You have to spend extra if you want electric rear windows and parking sensors.)
What Will Next Generations Look Like?
When General Motors launches its next version (expected in a year and a half), it will be a global car and will be sold under the Vauxhall, Opel and Buick badges across Europe, the United States and China. The biggest differences in what will be the second-generation Insignia are expected to be: a small stretch in the car’s wheelbase, changes in the styling and a swooping roof line. This new design will increase rear space and make it easier to access the rear cabin, also providing a bigger boot. A new tailgate design with redesigned taillight clusters should help to ensure that the car has a deeper, wider and taller boot than earlier versions.
Under the skin, the Insignia is based on a moderately updated version of GM’s familiar Epsilon 2 architecture. In European markets, the most important engine upgrades will be the debut of the new 1.6-litre CDTi diesel in the Insignia, which will replace today’s 2.0-litre CDTi unit. With a newly engineered installation, GM will try for best-in-class refinement for the diesel Insignias. The new 1.6-litre CDTi engine will be offered in a range of outputs, starting at 136bhp and rising to around 170bhp. Today’s Insignia is already available with GM’s new 1.6-litre SIDI turbocharged petrol engine in 168bhp form. This engine will also be offered in two lower-powered versions.
Featured photo credit: Why Vauxhall Insignia is Fastest Selling Car in London via redpotato.co.uk