Opel Insignia misses the chance to make its mark

The new Insignia is a solid performer with classy features, but its ride is too jittery on the motorway

Make: Opel

Model: Insignia

Year: 2013

Fuel: Diesel

Date Reviewed: October 29, 2013

Wed, Oct 30, 2013, 06:00


Launched to some considerable success in 2009, this is the first major update for the Insignia which retains its position as Opel’s flagship. It’s also the only mainstream saloon car to have a range that runs the full gamut from affordable compact petrol and diesel models to a storming 4WD turbocharged V6 OPC model costing more than €50,000.

For 2014, the Insignia’s exterior styling gets a subtle massage, as does the cabin. Out goes the oft-criticised button-heavy centre console and in comes a new, cleaner look with a smartphone-connective infotainment setup called Intelli-Link. This combines an 8” touchscreen with a laptop-style trackpad and voice control, all of which should allow the Insignia to sidestep any potential driver-distraction legislation.

While we’re still awaiting the arrival of the new 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine family, the new Insignia does get a revised version of the existing 2.0-litre CDTi unit, which now has 140hp and scores a class-leading, claims Opel, 99g/km Co2 emissions figure. The existing 163hp, 114g/km 2.0-litre diesel remains on sale.

While it’s hard not to be impressed by the Insignia and its updates, there are some niggles that annoy and which prevent the car taking what should have been an easy grab of the class crown.

On the upside, it’s comfy, sure-footed, has excellent steering, high quality and it’s well priced. Safety levels are also very high and Opel’s standard equipment list is generally much more generous than those of its German competition. But the engine is a touch too noisy and never quite feels as if it’s delivering the kind of torque hit that makes overtaking that much more comfortable and safer. The Intelli-Link system is also quite fiddly and the ride quality, although excellent around town, jitters annoyingly on the motorway, where you would assume the Insignia would reign supreme.

The Insignia was a good car, and it remains just so. But the opportunity to really push the envelope and make it a great car has been missed.