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First drive: Vauxhall Insignia 1.4 turbo



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Vauxhall has decided to leave a full-on cosmetic facelift of Insignia until next year, but has updated the fleet favourite with new engines, telematics and safety features.

The Insignia has sold well since its launch in January 2009 with 36,000 units sold in its first full year and 103,745 in total to date.

Vauxhall is expecting the volume push to continue in 2011 having already hit 29,987 sales as of July.

Company car drivers will make up 80% of sales.

Simon Prior, Vauxhall’s product manager for Insignia, told AM the brand was still seeing a lot of trading down, with customers moving from BMW and Audi to something more affordable that still has premium features.

Options like satellite navigation are specified on 29.76% of all Insignias and Vauxhall has upgraded its system to an SD card version.

New sat-nav features include the ability to separate records of private and business mileage, as well as the ability to select the most economical route including estimated fuel cost.

New safety features include a front camera with lane-departure assist and a collision alert warning system.

Running costs have also been reduced with the introduction of new engines, including a peppy 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol, which replaces the naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre.

Vauxhall is phasing out the 1.8 engine, but will continue to manufacturer it at the request of UK dealers due to the cheaper list price by £825.

As an entry-level petrol, the 1.4 turbo is decent, offering up enough grunt to pull the Insignia comfortably to cruising speed.

The rack-assisted electronic power steering feels lighter than the previous model, but it’s not drastically different. Handling is still accurate and direct.

The 1.4-litre can achieve 49.6mpg (33% up on the 1.8) and CO2 has been reduced by 25% to 134g/km.

This equates to a drop in VED and benefit-in-kind tax from £315 to £115 and 24% to 16% (2011-12) respectively.

There’s also a new 2.-0-litre diesel in 128bhp and 158bhp power guises which both carry stop-start technology and an Ecoflex badge.

Emissions have been reduced for both power guises from 129g/km to 115g/km (158bhp) and 116g/km (128bhp).

The more powerful engine has a slightly better emissions output due to different gearing ratios, according to Vauxhall.

BIK for the hatch and saloon Ecoflex goes down from 18 to 13%.

Driven: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi SRi

Two door handles and a roof aerial are the only bodywork items the GTC has in common with other Vauxhall Astras.

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