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Opel Insignia review: A signature look

Can its handsome face and lissome shape propel the Opel Insignia Grand Sport into the fantasies of company car buyers?

A new flagship for the brand, the Insignia is slightly larger than its rivals, and it has the benefit of good looks.



THINK of the Insignia Grand Sport as Opel's answer to a Toyota Camry or Volkswagen Passat.

If you needed that to put the car into context for you, then you have some idea of the general challenge Opel faces here: it's not that the brand has no idea how to build good cars, but few people are aware of its products.

Did you immediately think of an Opel when fantasising about your next company car? No?

Maybe the new Insignia can change that when it's launched in Singapore tomorrow.

A new flagship for the brand, the Insignia is slightly larger than its rivals, and it has the benefit of good looks. The slim lamps and chiseled grille give it a handsome face, and its body's long, low proportions create a lissome shape.

The Insignia looks like a sedan but is really a fastback, so it has a bit more practicality than a four-door car, courtesy of a tailgate. At 490 litres in size, the boot isn't particularly big, but you can flip a switch to fold the rear seats if you want, say, to chuck a bicycle into the back.

That's not the Opel's only trick. It's equipped with a suite of worthwhile safety features, such as forward collision warning (essentially, a chime that chastises you for tailgating), a blind spot monitoring system, and even an optional pedestrian detection system - if the car spots a person stepping out in front of you, it sounds a warning, then applies the brakes if you fail to react.

All that is pretty clever, but the Opel could do with some charm to go with its brains. The cabin is so plain it's nearly drab, and the slim windows that are a consequence of the sporty silhouette don't allow much light to pour in, so it feels a little cheerless inside, particularly in the back.

You'll smile about the handling, though. The steering is direct and the Insignia holds the road securely enough to encourage the driver to exploit its agility.

Three engine variants are available, of which the 1.5 litre turbo tested here is likely to be the most popular, and it's more serviceable than exciting. It sounds pretty agricultural at low revs and buzzes faintly, but it does smoothen out as you work it hard, while the six-speed auto it's paired with shifts silkily.

There's a more exciting 2.0 turbo with 260hp, but its price veers into BMW and Mercedes territory, where Opel doesn't belong. Good looks can only take you so far.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport 1.5A Turbo Innovation

Engine 1,490cc, inline 4, turbocharged

Power 165hp at 5,600rpm

Torque 250Nm at 2,000-4,500rpm

Gearbox 6-speed automatic

Top Speed 218km/h

0-100km/h 9.4 seconds

Fuel efficiency 6.1L/100km

CO2 138g/km

Price S$152,888 with COE

Agent Auto Germany

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