Vauxhall Insignia VXR
Vauxhall Insignia VXR Review (2010)

The Vauxhall Insignia was introduced as the replacement for the Vauxhall Vectra and was immediately and justifiably voted European Car of the Year. This is a vast model range that covers most tastes and outlooks from eco-motoring to the load-lugging Sports Tourer. And now we have the Vauxhall Insignia VXR version to add to the list.

The VXR range came in being in 2003, as a sister brand to the Opel OPC and set slightly apart form the mainstream cars. In the early days it was a hint at the very successful VX Racing team, which currently holds three British Touring Car Championship titles. For the rest of us, it started with the Vauxhall Astra VXR, before going on to represent an almost standalone brand with the advent of the VXR220 and the Monaro.

So, now it is the turn of the Vauxhall Insignia and not just the saloon but the hatch and Sports Tourer models as well. Prices start at £32,290 for the hatch and saloon and £33,690 for the estate version. Models with satellite navigation are a little more expensive at £33,125 and £34,525, respectively. The Vauxhall Insignia VXR test car had a couple of the optional extras; lightweight forged 20-inch alloy wheels (£1,000) and the Leather Pack, which includes 8-way, electronic seat adjustment and powered, folding mirrors for £1,300. The remainder of the features list that came with the car tended more towards technology and engineering, than niceties.

I have mentioned that the seats were clad in leather but the sports seats are worthy of note, too. These aren't just any Recaros but have been designed especially for the Vauxhall Insignia VXR. The more customary seat back is replaced by a hard plastic shell, which, despite the cushioning, is firm to say the least. The Vauxhall Insignia VXR already sits lower than the regular model and the driver's rear end is a further 15mm lower in the Recaros. The racing pose makes for increased support for the thighs and extra control during the inevitable exuberant driving. All that is missing is the 5-point harness. However, it is not a case of one size fits all; these High Performance front seats have height adjustment with a range of 65mm and 270mm, fore and aft movement. Furthermore, there are tilt adjustment and lumbar support controls.

Other sporty accessories include the newly-designed VXR steering wheel, a VXR gear knob for the 6-speed manual 'box and unique interior mouldings. The instrument dials have slightly different graphics and the VXR sill plates can be seen whenever the door is opened.

As you would expect from a Performance saloon/hatch/Sports Tourer, the Vauxhall Insignia VXR's interior has an almost Spartan, technical feel to it. This impression is emphasised by the black headlining, which makes the cabin feel so enormous you almost expect to hear an echo.

Published : 17/03/10 Author : Melanie Carter

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