Though you might not spot the tweaks to the new Vauxhall Insignia on the outside, there are big changes afoot under the bonnet and in the cabin. It’s also cheaper than the outgoing model, and will be officially revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013. UK deliveries start in October, with prices starting from £16,279.
What are the facelifted Vauxhall Insignia’s headline updates?
Let’s start in the cabin, where Vauxhall has at last ditched the ugly, button-heavy centre console, instead offering the option of an eight-inch touchscreen interface with downloadable app functionality. Vauxhall’s also reworked the main instrument dials: there’s now three dials in the cluster. The centre readout can be set to display an analogue or digital speedometer, or configured to show smartphone commands or navigation directions.
New leather and trim packages, plus simpler steering wheel buttons complete a decent refresh for the Insignia. That’s the sound of excited fleet buyers rushing to the configurator, but will the engines be as well-received?
What’s new under the bonnet of the 2013 Insignia?
There’s a new 1.6-litre petrol engine, with 168bhp and 206lb ft, and a brawnier 2.0-litre petrol (247bhp and 295lb ft) – the latter can be specced with front- or optional four-wheel drive. Both petrols get stop-start, and the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
But surely the majority of Insignia buyers go for diesel?
That's right – this is a fleet favourite, after all. Vauxhall’s retuned the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, offering 118bhp/236lb ft, 138bhp/273lb ft (both good for 76.3mpg and 99g/km) or a 161bhp/280lb ft version (65.7mpg and 114g/km).
Any other mechanical changes to the Insignia?
Dampers and anti-roll bars have been altered across the range for better comfort and NVH (noise/vibration/harshness), and the electric power steering has been reprogrammed to give more feel.
Go on then, what’s new on the outside?
Not spotted the changes yet? Granted, they’re subtle. Up front are reshaped, sharper headlights and a slimmer grille bar, plus wider lower grilles and foglight surrounds. Vauxhall’s fiddled with the side styling lines, on the hatchback and saloon versions (spot the booted Insignia with its extended C-pillar crease) and the rear now gets a lower-mounted, full-width chrome bar and LED taillights.
All told, it’s looking fresh for a car launched way back in 2008, but is it more stylish that the Aston Martin-lookalike Ford Mondeo due next year? Add your thoughts in the comments below.
And this new Insignia is cheaper than the old one?
Yes – to the tune of £2000, in entry-level ‘Design’ Trim. The range stretches all the way up to £21,379 for a top-spec ‘Elite’ model, though all Insignias get digital radios, USB connectivity, LED running lights and six airbags as standard, plus comfort goodies like climate control, cruise control and part-electric driver’s seats.
The new engines should make the car cheaper to run too, with the fleet-aimed models particularly bullish in the value-for-money stakes. Vauxhall proudly points out that the most efficient 2.0 CDTI ‘Ecoflex’ Insignia with stop-start saves company car drivers £992 in benefit-in-kind tax over three years against a slower Ford Mondeo Edge 1.6 TDCi, and £1118 versus a Volkswagen Passat.