Opel Insignia Tourer Gains Sports Badge

Insignia profileOpel’s re-entrance to the Australian market comes with a fully loaded quiver; sedans, hatchbacks, a performance arm, wagons, diesel and petrol engines providing a wide choice for a prospective buyer.
With the Australian arm of General Motors only having sourced Opel’s small and medium cars previously, the opportunity to sample the larger cars in their native form wasn’t available It’s common knowledge that the very first Holden Commodore was a heavily reworked Opel Rekord and now we get to try the Insignia.
A Wheel Thing spent a quiet week with the diesel engined Insignia Select Sports Tourer. With a torquey (350Nm @ 1750-2500 rpm and surprisingly chattery) 2.0L under its lithe dark grey bonnet, there’s pull on tap from around the 2000 rpm mark, especially when under way. When off boost, the engine does struggle to motivate, taking a couple of seconds to spin up and engage the turbo. Powering through a six speed auto and to the ground via seemingly mammoth and classy looking 19 inch alloys, the Insignia feels a real urge from 3000 rpm Insignia seatsonce on the go. In manual mode the transmission is reasonably quick to move through the gears; however, in standard auto mode it seemed indecisive under minor throttle, finding itself hunting for the right ratio whilst downchanges were akin to a clutch driven box, with the change and the “over-rev” that comes with that form of shift. Although not unpleasant this mannerism was noticeable and intrusive at times, dulling the edge that the firm, sports style right offered. With thin sidewall rubber wrapping the wheels, it was disconcertingly pleasant to find the suspension not tuned as a spine breaking setup, with the springs and dampers tuned to give an initial amount of compliance before rapidly tightening up, allowing speed bumps and potholes to be largely ignored on Sydney’s undulating roads. It’s a quiet and refined ride when the engine isn’t under load, however when asked to do its thing, it’s noisy by today’s diesel standards, intruding into the cabin and drowning both the (excellent sounding) radio and conversation. Having said that, economy is a strongpoint, with a theoretical range of over 900 kilometres on offer from the 70L tank in the time A Wheel Thing had the vehicle.
Insignia tailThe Tourer’s exterior is largely unremarkable with the exception of a fellow German’s prominent posterior apparently being transplanted. The Tourer has a massive and somewhat proportionally wrong looking rear overhang which is at odds with the rest of the body. There’s a scallop in the front doors which looks to be the only crease as such whilst the exterior wing mirrors lack in usable surface area, tapering to a narrow point and not offering enough clear vision at the sides. The front is attractive with a clean Xenon and halogen lamp headlight cluster bracketing the simple chromed grille and balanced by LED and lamp driving lights plus has front parking sensors. The rear windows have a very dark privacy glass, ideal for security. The taillight cluster looks somewhat uninspiring and didn’t seem to merge with the overall shape. The tailgate itself wraps slightly around into the coachwork, making the door a little heavier and ungainly to both open and close whilst simultaneously providing flawless access to the huge cargo area (500L with seats up). There’s a privacy blind with a somewhat fiddly connection arrangement while the rear seat offers a duopoly of access; a 60/40 fold or a skiport. However, from the driver’s seat looking into the rear vision mirror, the shape of the door and the hunched over glass look reduces clear rear vision.Insignia boot
The leather wrapped seats are a semi sport style, with decent comfort and support and have an adjustable headrest angle by pressing a button on one side. The view from the driver’s seat is clean enough, with the dials clean and legible. Of note was the end of the needles shining an almost laser focused red light onto the classic look surrounds on the dials. The centre console, although less cluttered than the Insignia’s smaller relative, the Astra, still looks busy and overbuttoned. Ergonomically it appears to make little sense and isn’t aided by switches for features such as the Navigation being both on the upright and on the horizontal section next to the driver’s leg. Although the layout is ergonomically messy, items such as the Navigation are easy to use, being displayed on a clear and legible 7 inch LCD screen, with a jog dial working intuitively with the display. Back to the driver’s seat, here is another design flaw, with the seatbelt lock being difficult to access due to a non-recessed slab of plastic butted up against the seat.
Insignia dashPriced from a not unreasonable $49685.00 RRP, the Opel Insignia Select Sports Tourer is ideally suited for a 2+2 family; with plenty of space, a battleship swallowing cargo area and an efficient if overly noisy diesel overcoming a somewhat quirky auto transmission, a well specified feature set and a couple of niceties such as the adjustable for angle headrests, it’s a valued added buy for a smart thinking Australian driver.Insignia front
http://www.opel-australia.com.au/vehicles/opel-range/cars/insignia-sports-tourer/index.html
Audio reviews can be heard at www.torqueradio.com.au

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