Opel Insignia Sport 2.0 Turbo Review
(in) Sign (ia) of the Times

Story and Photos by Raymond Lai
24 Apr 2010

It's goodbye to the unloved Vectra and hello the Insignia - can Opel's award winning model lift the brand's fortunes over here?

New beginning

There's a common motoring term in the UK called the repmobile. It refers to cars that fleet companies operate for ‘reps' or company sales executives/representatives to drive and the typical models are mainstream saloon cars like the Ford Mondeo, base spec BMW 3 Series variants, Peugeot 406, Renault Laguna and the Vauxhall (a.k.a. Opel) Vectra among others.

These cars are typically used for high mileage motorway use and hence, have to be comfortable and economical to run when cruising. Amongst the abovementioned models, the Mondeo and the Vectra are probably the most common of Britain's repmobiles. The Vectra is now no more though and has been replaced by a brand new and more sophisticated model called the Insignia. Opel's mid-sized saloon has been on sale in Europe for over a year now but GM's recent financial woes and doubts about its European division of Opel and Vauxhall's future means it was only recently that the Insignia made its local debut. The new Insignia also heralds a new logo and corporate identity for the brand.

With the Insignia, Opel signals its intentions to battle it out competitively with entry level executive models from more prestigious German brands like the BMW 318i, Audi A4 1.8 TFSI and the Mercedes-Benz C180 CGI.

At 4830mm in length, the Insignia is more generously proportioned than its Vectra predecessor, has a more up market feel and commands more presence on the road. As one of its main purposes in its primary market in Europe is a company car for executives, it means that the Insignia is relatively conservatively styled, especially when viewed from the front. Take away the LED daytime running lights on the headlamp lenses and the oversized Opel badge on the chrome radiator grille and it just looks too nondescript - one might even mistaken it for a Camry or any other large saloon from an Asian manufacturer.

The Insignia's styling starts to take on its own character when you go round the flanks though - two prominent feature lines run along the doors. The upper one runs from the front wing to culminate at the tail lamps, hence creating a prominent shoulder line. The lower line runs along the doors but as it nears the front, it kinks upwards to meet the upper line on the front wings. The unique treatment of the feature lines certainly give the Insignia a more distinctive look when viewed side on rather than from the front.

Things start to get even better at the rear - the Insignia has a boot line that resembles that of a BMW 6 Series' and the tail lamps somehow that look like those found on the Bentley Continental Flying Spur. In addition, the sleek and tidy C-pillar meets the boot line in a rather graceful fashion. The rear is rounded off by a chrome strip on the boot lid that runs between the tail lamps and twin exhaust tail pipes. Like the typical German executive saloon, the Insignia's styling is overall well proportioned and inoffensive.

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