What's all this about?
A bloody huge estate car. This whopper is the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer and it's a big barge.
It's long. At 4,986mm from bumper to rear hatch, the Sports Tourer is not much shorter than a standard wheelbase BMW 7 Series. This, though, leads to some benefits in terms of interior space. Passengers will luxuriate in an additional 31mm of headroom, 25mm of shoulder-room and 27mm of hip space, while the wheelbase is also up by 92mm to 2,829mm, so we'd wager the rear legroom is boosted too. The load area has increased in length by 97mm to 2,005mm in total and there's more space for bulky items between the wheel arches, so the maximum boot carrying capacity is up 110 litres from the old car to 1,638 litres on the new Insignia Sports Tourer.
Hold on, what about with all the seats in place?
Umm, it's the same as its predecessor, at 540 litres, mainly due to the rakish roofline that means the big Vauxhall estate is just 1,483mm tall. But don't despair, because we have some good news on the growth of the Insignia wagon.
Yes. Model-for-model, it's up to 200kg lighter than the old car. That's a simply huge saving and it should equate to some quantifiably improved dynamics. Also, and we've not said this yet, but we think the Insignia Sports Tourer is a lovely-looking big estate car.
What have we got in terms of engines?
The latest generation turbocharged petrol and diesel lumps. Think 'Whisper' units and much of the hardware as seen in the Astra Sports Tourer, although whether a 1.0-litre triple GM engine will ever make it into the Insignia remains to be seen. All-wheel drive (AWD) with torque-vectoring will be offered, as will a new eight-speed automatic (only with the AWD, for now). Furthermore, the FlexRide chassis includes adaptive dampers and a software package called Drive Mode Control, which analyses individual driving styles and then sorts the shocks, steering, throttle and auto gearbox shift points to suit.
OK, how about equipment?
Look to the Grand Sport hatch here. Expect IntelliLux LED headlights, Lane Keep Assist, an active hood (which lifts up in milliseconds in the event of an impact to offer greater pedestrian protection), AGR-certified seats with massaging, ventilation and memory functions, heated seats in the outermost chairs of the rear pew, a heated windscreen, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera and more. There's also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, the OnStar concierge and assistance service and the ability to turn the Insignia estate into a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
And when do we first get to see it in the metal?
It will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, alongside the Grand Sport hatch.
Matt Robinson - 6 Feb 2017