British Motor Show - Vauxhall Insignia

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British motorists bought more Vauxhall Vectras than any other nationality in Europe, so it is somehow fitting that its replacement, the Insignia, should be given its global debut here.

However, to equate the two is, frankly, ridiculous. The Vectra was a workmanlike but staid car. The Insignia brings style, excitement, dynamism and high technology to Vauxhall's fleet and family favourite.

Two models are on display - a saloon and a hatchback - both with the same coupe-like silhouette.

The interior is a big step up in class compared with the Vectra. The look and feel of the materials and the interior design all suggest a more premium car.

The wing-like dash, curving into the door trims, will become a Vauxhall signature in the coming years.

The technology it offers also suggests Vauxhall is aiming higher with the new car. It is the first in the world to display the speed limit of the road you are on in the instrument panel. It can also tell you if you are in a no-overtaking zone.

A suspension set-up you can personalise - an improved version of that in the Vectra - and an adpative four-wheel-drive system that distributes the power among the wheels according to road conditions will also be available. So will pretty much everything found on so-called executive cars.

The full range will be available from November, starting at just below £16,000.

Petrol engines are 1.8, 2.0 turbo and 2.8 V6 turbo units, and there will be two 2.0 diesels based on the old 1.9 engine.

It won't stop there. A high-economy diesel, a performance VXR model and an estate are just the start of Vauxhall's expansion plans.

Prices? Well, the 1.8-litre Exclusiv model starts at £15,935. It comes with electronic stability control, automatic headlights, cruise control and climate control.

The entry level 2.0 CDTi costs from £16,935.
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