Continuing with a growing reputation for innovative interiors at Vauxhall, the Insignia features another new idea: the centre tunnel that separates the two individual rear seats can be moved back under the boot floor to reveal a folded seat that can be raised electrically to make the Insignia a five-seater. The tunnel, covered with fine leather and exclusive Macassar ebony wood inlays, also conceals an integrated DVD player with folding screen and cool-box.
Boot capacity is 410 litres when the Insignia is being driven as a four- or five-seater. Folding the complete rear seat forward gives a level surface with up to 970 litres of load-carrying capacity.
The driver is also especially well catered for in Insignia with a cabin that features three-dimensional instruments with the most important functions made of satin-finished and polished aluminium. All ‘secondary’ control panels such as the infotainment system or the air-conditioning are hidden away under sliding covers in the centre console.
Insignia also features dials which have been ‘reversed’ so that the dials themselves are positioned in front of the needles – meaning the numerals are not hidden as the needle moves past them. This has been made possible by the use of transparent dials that are easy to read in any light conditions through the use of modern light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Pantograph technology for doors and tailgate
Pantograph technology means that the doors move parallel to the body rather than swinging outward but without the sliding rails. The advantage of the pantograph mounting principle used for the two rear doors is obvious, allowing even large doors to be fully opened in small parking spaces or garages.
Because of their advantages, pantograph hinges with two pivot points have often been tried before but this is the first time that the door has been successfully fitted without multiple levers and without destroying the harmonious styling.
Vauxhall’s engineers have succeeded in designing a sophisticated but simple mechanism inside the pantograph support arm. When the door is closed, the aluminium support lever disappears elegantly into the door trim. Vauxhall’s engineers are confident that the kinematics of the Insignia’s rear doors will puzzle many observers, and how it exactly works will, for the time being, remain Vauxhall’s secret…
The potential for the pantograph system can also be seen at the rear of the Insignia, even though this is a conventional design, with articulated parallelograms. Both the large tailgate and its rear window can be opened parallel to the roof by remote control, allowing them to be opened even if the car has been reversed up to a wall for example. A total of 45 electric motors are installed, used to open and close the doors but also move the seats forward automatically to make access to the rear easier.
Rear-wheel drive and V8 engine
Insignia is powered by an all-new GM rear-wheel drive architecture being developed for future global product. And with double wishbones and coil springs at the front and a five-link axle at the rear (decoupled for refinement), the Insignia delivers exemplary road manners and high directional stability.
Insignia is powered by the Corvette’s 344-hp aluminium V8 engine, producing a maximum speed of 156 mph (electronically controlled) and with acceleration from zero to 62 mph in under six seconds.Published 30 May 2004