Aug 4 2009 Steve Hughes
Vauxhall's proud Insignia
VAUXHALL has been given a massive boost with the accolade of European Car of the Year 2009 for the new Insignia.
One of the reasons for the stylish Insignia claiming the most coveted European automotive crown is its incorporation of life-saving technology, such as Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Warning systems which come courtesy of a dual-function front camera.
This piece of kit not only reads speed limits and road signs but also displays the information on the dash and when necessary sends out an audio-visual warning.
The Insignia, which is out to grab the glory from Ford's Mondeo, costs from £17,125 for the entry-level 1.8-litre hatchback.
Also in the range are 1.6T, 2.0, 2.0T and 2.8-litre V6 petrol versions plus two-litre turbodiesels with outputs of 130bhp and 160bhp.
There is also a VXR 4x4 model costing £30,995 with 155mph performance and a 0-60mph acceleration time of just five and a half seconds.
Meanwhile Vauxhall continues to perfect the small car theme in the form of the reworked Agila, which has brought further versatility to the city car market.
Costing from £9,425, the clever design allows for more than 1,000 litres of luggage space with the rear seats folded flat and has five doors and five grown-up seats.
It is offered with petrol engines of 1.0 litre and 1.2-litres plus a 63mpg 1.3-litre diesel.
Britain's best selling MPV, the Zafira priced from £16,015, has also gained some styling tweaks and a pair of new trim levels. The Exclusiv trim level replaced the Club version and comes with an impressive equipment list including air conditioning, stereo with CD, electric front windows, side, front and curtain airbags and remote central locking while all models get curtain airbags as standard.
Other models in the extensive range include three and five-door Corsas from £10,000, the versatile Meriva MPV from £13,125 plus the Astra in three and five-door hatchback plus estate car and coupe-cabriolet body styles from £13,145.
The Corsa and Astra both come in impressive VXR guises, costing £16,795 and £21,365. The Corsa version uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine to generate 190bhp for a top speed of 140mph and acceleration to 60mph in 6.8 seconds with economy of 35mpg.
The Astra VXR is powered by a two-litre petrol engine that generates 237bhp to achieve a top speed of more than 150mph with acceleration to 60mph in just over six seconds and economy of 30mpg.
The company also has a chunky SUV model in its range in the form of the Antara, which is a practical and competent 4x4 costing from £20,725, rising to £25,840 for the lavishly-equipped SE model with leather upholstery, satellite navigation and cruise control.