These days, Opel doesn’t know what its future will be. But this isn’t stopping the German constructor from reinforcing its range of cars. At the Frankfurt Auto Show Opel unveiled its new Astra, which is greatly inspired by its big brother the Insignia.
Still basking in the glow of winning car of the year in 2009, the Insignia is trying to find a spot in a category where the battle for market share is ferocious and where the more traditional sedans still have a bright future going forward.
It is hard to imagine when looking at an Insignia that this is the direct descendent of the Vectra. Opel has pulled out all the stops to distant itself from this affiliation with a sedan having a very statutory allure.
The Insignia’s style is one elegant, two fluid and three very German. You’ll note the imposing radiator grill, the almond shaped headlamps and the nicely done side bodywork. And there are bits of chrome to accentuate a high end image.
Giving into current styling cues, the Insignia, like most other sedan coupes comes in either four of five doors.
It goes without saying that the Diesel Ecoflex engines, including the most interesting, the 130 brake horsepower version, are the best selling Insignias. At Frankfurt there was an OPC version with 325bhp. We drove the 260bhp V6 turbo version coupled with all-wheel drive.
The style of the interior with its particular dashboard design that continues along the door panels. The design team wanted to tuck the front passenger into a cocoon, which they’ve done very nicely. But we must admit we’ve seen others do the same but with more comfort. While the ergonomics are good, the seats are a tad too rigid.
The Insignia emotes an excellent impression. The finish quality scores high marks, all you have to do is close the door to be reassured about this car’s quality. At speed, sometimes the 1500 kilograms of the Insignia is very noticeable. Fortunately, the power band is very wide. The six-speed manual gearbox is a little long, especially in sixth, which forces the driver to give the gear shift a healthy workout.
The Insignia is best on a smooth patch of motorway but comes up short on secondary roads where the shocks are too soft on extension and too hard on compression.
To sum up, the Insignia lives up to its stature as car of the year. All that remains is to see if this is enough to convince a customer of buying a car built by the German subsidiary of General Motors.