New Vauxhall engines and transmissions
This year it has already introduced the Cascada convertible and a new turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with 168bhp. However, there will also be a 197bhp version of this engine that’s said to combine the performance of a 2.0-litre with the emissions and fuel economy of a 1.6.
Although you won’t be able to buy it in any car until early next year, we have already tried it in prototype form.
The engine doesn’t get into its stride until about 1750rpm, but then it comes on strong, revving up quickly, and with an appealing turbo whoosh.
We also got to try a prototype version of Vauxhall's new 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which will make its debut in the Zafira Tourer this June.
As a replacement for the company’s ancient 1.7 and 129bhp 2.0-litre diesels, it’s said to produce 13% less CO2 than the 2.0-litre in the Zafira.
It also feels impressively flexible around town, and builds speed smoothly, if not swiftly, when you put your foot down. However, it’s the refinement that’s most improved; the new 1.6 is much quieter than the engines it replaces, suffering from very little mechanical clatter.
There was quite a bit of vibration through the clutch pedal of the prototype we drove, but this may well have been down to the fact it was fitted with the wrong transmission.
When it goes on sale, the new 1.6 diesel will be combined with a revised version of Vauxhall’s five-speed manual ’box; we tried this in an Astra, where the shift action seemed to be much slicker.
Vauxhall is also preparing to introduce a new eight-speed automatic gearbox, which will make its debut in the revised Insignia, which goes on sale this autumn.
Like the Zafira Tourer, the revised Insignia will be offered with the new 1.6-litre diesel engine, plus Vauxhall is promising new technology, a comprehensively redesigned interior and subtle exterior styling tweaks.
By Steve Huntingford