The only complaint about the Insignia Sports Tourer Business Executive 1.5T: the rear seats are oddly low. Opel wanted to gain headroom and legroom with short, flat seats that fulfill their purpose but limit seating comfort. On the other hand, Jeffrey and Kayley, eight and ten, nestle there just as easily in Mama’s Aygo. For them, daddy’s new lease happiness is paradise.
For daddy himself too. The backrest can be flattened to create an almost flat loading floor of two meters. You could spend the night in it at the campsite. Opel couples will find that an indecent proposal. They have their champs and therefore a caravan, or they are going to fly. To a resort among other Dutchmen, nice and normal in a wrong country that Volvo drivers avoid on principle. Such friendly people, nothing to worry about.
That’s how life in an Opel smiles. Opel combis used to be called Caravan, a name that struck their place under the sun with deadly innocence. Even if he wasn’t there, you could see the towbar that belongs to Opels like the PVV’s Holland, its tulips and its windmills.
Still, I loved those cars. They competed with honorable underdogs who challenged their lowliness with the only thing they could be great at: space. My favorite was the Omega station, a kind of German Volvo brick with no engineer or master title, tried and tested in the school of life. He stole my heart, the second-hand dealer I saw touting such a brave chest as a ‘neat caravan tractor’.
Then Opel decided to look for the better middle class with the Insignia, people who found Opels under their rank and would finally see the light. The station version became a lifestyle combination with a sporty slanted rear window. They called him Sports Tourer, a name for the hockey world that Volvo as the sponsor of the national team had already protected against unwanted intruders. Even the payload was sacrificed to its impossible task of finally counting. The experience was served with a multimedia system and pseudo-chic materials, but for that piece of status you, as an Opel man, gave up 300 liters of cargo space compared to the Vectra C, while the target customer didn’t seem to burn out of his Volvo. It was a drama.
The new Sports Tourer gets more than a hundred liters of cargo volume and although the Omega was larger, the design boys have found the language of the people again through their pink glasses. They baked a juicy Big Mac, king size. The test car has been battered with a spoiler threat package that does not mask its sheepishness but magnifies it, the thick rims are a parody of its being. You don’t have it for the sprints, this five meter long freighter with the civil peace of a real Opel.
He inherits the luxury from his predecessor. Local Opel guys think it’s like an Audi with those fancy buttons for the air conditioning and the mood lighting in the doors. They see that well. As before, the name echoes the gentility of the beau monde: Business Executive, go away. But the premium pageantry is freed from the false pretense that stuck like a swearing splinter in the previous model. Assistance systems, online Wi-Fi and LED lighting match this time with the solid style of the house, modern without frills. He’s a service car again, a little too subservient sometimes, with a computer voice that warns of traffic jams you’ve been in for half an hour. The bottom line is: it smells, feels – and it sounds like an Opel.
That is remarkable, because the engine is new. It is the 1.5 liter turbo that with a choice of 140 or 165 hp is probably the most requested, now that diesel is out of favor. It is typically one of those downsize blocks that you can’t say a bad word about. It performs well with a slightly drawled dynamic that you don’t feel physically due to the indirect response to the accelerator, although you feel you are not slow; like being in a simulator imitating an Opel. The impression is enhanced by the somewhat vague, soft strokes of the gearbox, which will be a feast of recognition for Opel drivers; just like before.
They are little things. In terms of finish, sound and driving comfort, the Insignia is among the best in a class that it is entering on an equal footing for the first time. Do not be shocked by the price for the test car packed with options: with this engine you have it for 36,000 euros. And the ultimate Opel word applies to that amount: neat.