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Vauxhall outlines ‘Five Star’ 2017. Image by Vauxhall.

Vauxhall outlines ‘Five Star’ 2017
Three new Insignia models and two crossover/SUVs due out in 2017 from Vauxhall
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What's all this about?

Vauxhall is going on the offensive, launching five all-new products during 2017 in one of its busiest launch years yet. These fresh models include the three-pronged MkII Insignia family and brand new pair of SUV/crossover-type things, one of which currently has a name and one of which doesn't.

OK, can we look at the Insignia before getting onto mystery SUVs?

Absolutely. First up in Vauxhall's 'Five Star' 2017 will be the Insignia Grand Sport, a five-door hatchback with a coupe-like silhouette. Vauxhall rather bravely says it will offer 'huge driver appeal and a class-leading all-wheel-drive system', before also saying that while the Insignia still leads the mainstream D-segment today, the Grand Sport is set to challenge premium rivals.

Brave words, indeed. But you mentioned more variants in the Insignia family?

Yes, the Grand Sport will soon be followed by the obvious but most welcome Sports Tourer estate version, which takes its styling cues from the 2013 Monza Concept. Interior space has grown, especially in the rear passenger area and the boot. We like the Insignia Sports Tourer, so an all-new one addressing its few weak areas could be a strong contender for class honours. And then there's the revival of the Country Tourer.

Revival?

Yes, this pseudo-off-road, jacked-up lifestyle wagon came out in 2013, then was quickly killed off over here within two years of launch because it wasn't economical to engineer Euro VI-compliant diesel engines (i.e., the Whisper unit) to fit the right-hand drive markets - mainly because CT sales were lacklustre. We drove the old Insignia Country Tourer in early spring 2015 and were rather underwhelmed by it, as it cost too much money, was fairly unrefined and didn't feel different enough to a regular Sports Tourer... despite costing £3,000 more model-for-model. However, the ongoing success of these allroad-type crossover estates means Vauxhall (and, by extension, parent company GM) cannot ignore the call of black plastic body cladding this time around.

Interesting. But does Vauxhall need an off-roading estate if it has two SUVs in the pipeline?

Good question. You'd think not, but then every car company these days seems to have a huge and baffling array of compact crossovers, mid-sized SUVs, seven-seat 4x4s and some sort of estate riding on stilts, so Vauxhall's not alone in this potential market duplication. Even more confusing is that the first of these new SUVs (although Vauxhall refers to them both as crossovers) is going to slot into the same category as the existing Mokka X. It'll be called the Crossland X and, according to the blurb, is designed to 'appeal to buyers with families who demand agility and convenience in urban driving, but with enough comfort and performance to cover long distances at the drop of a hat'. Which, er... you'd suggest the Mokka X already does; but we digress.

Hmm, I see your point. So what's the other SU... sorry, crossover on the way in 2017?

An as-yet unnamed C-segment machine, making it larger than either the Mokka X or Crossland X, said to complete the company's SUV/crossover family and promised to have an 'especially sporty design'. Could this be Vauxhall's take on a cheaper BMW X4, perhaps?

It sounds that way. Is that it for new cars from GM in 2017?

Not really, as the German sister brand Opel is launching the same five cars plus two others, and calling said explosion of new metal its '7 in 17' offensive. The two we're not getting here are the electric Ampera-e shown at the Paris Show 2016 (we already knew we weren't getting this when it made its debut in France) and a 'versatile touring companion' of the Vivaro panel van. Not sure what this might be; perhaps a rival to the Volkswagen Caravelle...

Fine, I don't want a Vivaro with windows anyway. What does Vauxhall say about the five cars for 2017?

Rory Harvey, the Griffin's chairman and managing director, said: "This (2017) will be a landmark year for Vauxhall. Our portfolio will grow, for sure, but it's the quality and innovation which underpins our new products that will surprise customers. The Insignia Grand Sport will force buyers to reassess how they perceive our brand, and later in the year our two crossover offerings will bring Vauxhall to, in many cases, completely new sets of buyers."



Matt Robinson - 7 Nov 2016


Vauxhall new model plans. Image by Vauxhall.    








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