2. Vauxhall Insignia

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Jim Holder
23 July 2008

2. Vauxhall Insignia

Now here's a car that's going to sell and sell - and judging from how it looks in the metal, it deserves to do so.

The Vectra replacement is a bold leap forward for Vauxhall - so much so that it even carries a new company griffin logo on the front.

Two models are on display in London - 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.

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.