From £17,1858

Considerable attention has been lavished on the way the new Insignia looks.

That’s indicative of not only Briton Mark Adams’ talent and influence as chief designer but also the emphasis now placed on fostering desirability among buyers.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The Insignia’s Lane Keep Assist is way too intrusive and turns on by default every time you start up the car. Can we have it the other way round, Vauxhall?

Red, admittedly, is not the car’s colour, but in other, more subtle shades the 2013 Monza Concept-inspired shape – a raked collection of sophisticated angles – is about as eye-catching as a modern mainstream hatchback currently gets.

Its proportions are aided by the introduction of a new modular platform, dubbed E2 by General Motors.

Its introduction makes an already ample product even larger, with a wheelbase that’s 92mm longer and an overall car length of almost 4.9m, even though the overhangs have shrunk.

The extra size is about increasing interior space – particularly in the rear – although it has not been achieved without due attention being paid to the scales.

A more innovative approach to build materials has resulted in the body-in-white being 59kg lighter than before.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

Depending on engine choice, Vauxhall quotes as much as 175kg being shed overall. Even allowing for its predecessor’s datedness, that’s a credible reduction – especially for a longer, lower, wider car that is still without a three-cylinder motor.

Instead, the line-up is underpinned by a new 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit in 138bhp and 163bhp variants and twinned with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The engine is a mildly brawnier development of the 1.4-litre version found in the Astra, although there’s also a 256bhp 2.0-litre engine, which, alongside an eight-speed automatic gearbox, comes with the added incentive of a GKN-supplied all-wheel drive system based on the firm’s torque-vectoring Twinster clutch pack arrangement.

On the diesel side, the bulk of the volume will be attributed to the 1.6 Turbo D, available in 109bhp and 134bhp outputs, while the range is headed by the 168bhp 2.0 Turbo D tested here. All come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with an eight-speed automatic optional on the top-line 2.0 Turbo D.

Aside from the petrol-powered four-wheel-drive model, all versions drive the front wheels on a chassis consisting of front MacPherson struts and four-link rear suspension (the 4x4 gets five-link).

Adaptive dampers, still dubbed FlexRide, are a cost option (and fitted to our test car) on all but the range-topper, and Vauxhall has beefed up the available safety systems to include Lane Keep Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week