Despite the current economic malaise, Vauxhall's 2009 European Car of the Year has been a resounding success, bucking a downward sales trend with more than 15,000 orders taken in the first month of the car reaching dealer showrooms in the UK.
Enhancing the range still further on 10th April 2009 is the Sports Tourer model, the third significant body style in the Vauxhall Insignia's line-up and the first new model to be added since the car's launch.
Retaining the hatch and saloon's rakish, but graceful silhouette, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is available with all the class-leading innovation found in the current range, such as FlexRide, Intelligent AFL and Adaptive 4x4, but with enhanced practicality, thanks to a 540-litre load area with the rear seats up. Dropping the 60:40 split rear seats converts the Sports Tourer into an even more capacious load-lugger, with a volume of up to 1530-litres.
Wrapping this practicality in a sporty, premium body was a challenge set down to the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer's designers. One of their many solutions was to create a distinctive tailgate with large, fully integrated tail lights that curve around the sides of the car giving a cohesive and unique appearance in this class, while keeping the same wheelbase as hatch and saloon models.
Coinciding with the Sports Tourer's launch is the introduction of the sixth engine to the Vauxhall Insignia range, the 180PS 1.6 Turbo. Available on all front-wheel drive models, (apart from 'S' trim) the new turbocharged petrol engine emphasises Vauxhall's increasing commitment to smaller capacity, forced-induction units, which provide exceptional performance combined with reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The 1.6 Turbo joins the 1.8, 2.0T and 2.8T V6 in the Vauxhall Insignia's petrol engine range, with the 2.0 CDTi 130PS and 160PS diesels also carrying across to the Sports Tourer. All engines meet the latest Euro 5 emissions standards.
The Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer's newly developed chassis, designed to offer a high level of safety and comfort, can be enhanced with the innovative FlexRide system which provides drivers with a choice of three dynamic settings - Standard, Tour and Sport - depending upon their driving style and the prevailing conditions. In addition, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is available with a choice of two base chassis: Sport, which is standard on all SRi models; and Comfort, which is standard on S, Exclusiv, SE and Elite models.
The UK has traditionally been a strong market for estate cars, which is why Vauxhall is predicting that more than 15 per cent of all Insignia sales will be attributed to this model. Like the hatch and saloon, most buyers will opt for the SRi model, with SE and Elite also accounting for a major proportion of Sports Tourer sales.
Inevitably, with their highly competitive CO2 rating of 159g/km and low fuel consumption, the 2.0 CDTi 130PS and 160PS engines will continue to prove popular with private buyers and fleets alike, accounting for around 69 per cent of all sales. However, the new 1.6 Turbo engine will be a significant addition, appealing to those buyers who still prefer the outright performance of a petrol-fuelled car, but who are conscious of the emissions and fuel penalties this often brings.Published 19 March 2009