New Vauxhall Insignia goes premium to rival BMW

A radical new Vauxhall Insignia is less than two years away and is set to take the British marque into a fierce battle with premium brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes – but still at mainstream prices.

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Although Vauxhall has reaffirmed its status as a company for the masses under Tim Tozer’s leadership, the aim is to tempt buyers out of bottom-end premium products with a vehicle offering the design, quality and tech to rival more expensive cars – but at prices similar to today’s model. And the Insignia is just the start, with a large premium SUV also arriving by 2020.

While the sleek new British-built Astra will make its public debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Insignia is a couple of years away. It’ll mark the start of what GM Europe design chief Mark Adams describes as ‘Vauxhall/Opel Design 2.0’.

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As our exclusive images and spy shots reveal, the Insignia is set to grow by as much as six inches and take on a more coupé-like style with a low roof and long, sleek hatchback rear. Yet the front end is more upright than we’ve seen from a Vauxhall for many years, with a shape that’s not unlike Jaguar’s XE and XF, helping to give the car a more premium look.

Many of the design features from 2013’s Monza concept will appear, with Adams quoted as saying: “The seed for Opel Design 2.0 has been planted in the Monza concept, which will define the design of our production vehicles for the next eight to 10 years.”

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The new Insignia’s more upright nose features thin, wide, flat-fronted ‘wings’ across the top of the grille, housing the Vauxhall Griffin badge. There are Monza-style air vents at each side below slim new headlights that will benefit from the very latest Matrix-beam OLED technology.

Along the flanks, Mark Adams’ trademark blade surfacing has evolved, with wide LED lights accentuating the car’s width at the back.

The extra length and stretched wheelbase will give the new Insignia interior space to rival the VW Passat and Skoda Superb. And although the roof is much lower, there’ll still be plenty of headroom for rear passengers, with wide-opening doors for easy access to the classy interior. 

The new Insignia is being engineered in Europe, but sits on an all-new global platform that’s likely to contribute to a weight loss of up to 200kg over the current car, in spite of the size increase. 

An evolution of the current range of engines, including new versions of the Whisper diesel family, will be fitted. And with an eye on the global market (the car is sold as the Buick Regal in countries like the US and China), there’s also the possibility of Ampera-style plug-in technology. 

A VXR version would also be expected, with VX-line sporty trim levels increasingly important in the battle against Audi’s S line and BMW’s M Sport models.

The interior will look very different to the current Vauxhall family, dominated by tech with large touchscreens – although not quite to the futuristic level previewed by the Monza. Plush materials will feature, and Vauxhall’s award-winning OnStar system will be available throughout the range.

Vauxhall’s ‘Caddy’ SUV here by 2020

Vauxhall is set to launch a trio of posh new SUVs between now and 2020, topped by a large seven-seater that’s likely to be priced to challenge the Land Rover Discovery Sport, but with more space. 

This new model – hinted at in our exclusive image (above) – is being developed by Cadillac in the US, but as with all new Vauxhalls, it’s expected that some development work will be carried out in the UK to tune the car specifically for the European market.

Although the smaller SUVs will be seen in the next few years, we’re likely to have to wait until the end of the decade for the larger, Cadillac-based model to arrive.

Will the next Insignia be able to mix it with the likes of BMW and Audi? Let us know what you think in the comments below…

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