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Vauxhall Insignia (2013) engine overhaul and facelift

By Phil McNamara

Spy shots

25 January 2013 10:30

Vauxhall will relaunch its Insignia hatch and wagon in September 2013, with a revamp that goes way beyond the nosejob and butt-tuck visible in our pictures. New, competitive petrol and diesel engines will be plumbed in, as Vauxhall embraces the downsizing trend to boost fuel economy.

As well as flying around the Nürburgring, prototypes will be tested on UK roads, to make sure the chassis revisions work on our pothole-ravaged roads.

New fourpot engines ahoy for 2013 Insignia

Critical to the Insignia is a cutting-edge, smaller displacement diesel. In comes a 1.6-litre turbo, with an aluminium block to minimise weight and closed-loop combustion control. This helps optimise combustion to get the right balance of power and economy, and to keep a tight grip on carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel consumption improves 10% over the 128bhp 2.0-litre CDTI unloved by British Insignia buyers, and the new 1.6 also beats it on power and torque, with 134bhp and 236lb ft.

Vauxhall is also fine-tuning a new, 1.6-litre turbo petrol, with spark ignition direct injection. This downsized engine will allow Vauxhall to phase out the 2.0-litre turbo. The incoming 1.6 Eco Turbo musters 170bhp and 206lb ft, and there’ll be a higher-pressure turbo version with 200bhp and 221lb ft. An entry-level 150bhp version will also be available. Engineers promise a smooth, refined engine, with chain-driven balance shafts to calm vibrations. It should punch hard too: Vauxhall claims a 20% improvement in fifth-fear acceleration time, between 50 and 75mph.

What else is changing on the MY2014 Insignia?

Vauxhall is working on its first dual-clutch transmission, but it won’t be ready until 2014. So this upgrade focuses on suspension changes, to improve ride quality and dial out road noise. ‘We’re doing a lot of work with Opel engineers at the Millbrook testing facility,’ said a source. ‘We’re testing cars in the UK, because if they can work here, they can work anywhere!’ It’s called the Frank Sinatra school of car development. 

The other significant change is in the cockpit. Vauxhall has waved the white flag in the buttons arms race, introducing a bigger, central touchscreen. This frees up the engineers to slice back on switches, and should make Vauxhalls less distracting for drivers to operate.