Peter Hitchener road tests and reviews the 2015 Holden Insignia VXR.
Holden wants you to know it will still have plenty of models on the market once the Commodore is no longer made here.
The boss says so. At the recent Commodore VF2 launch, Managing Director, Mark Bernhard promised 24 new models by 2020, including new entrants in the SUV market.
The television commercials say so too. A young girl – too young to have a driver’s licence, or to drive at all actually – unveils some of the cars from the new range, with others under cover in the background.
If I were asked to pick from the European component of Holden’s line-up, my choice would be the Opel sourced Holden Insignia. Sold here with an Opel badge during that company’s short-lived and ill-fated excursion into the Australian market, the Insignia now sports Holden’s ‘lion-rolling-the-stone’ logo, and costs $7,000 – $10,000 less than it did before. Can’t complain about that!
If you haven’t noticed one on the roads yet, the good looking Holden Insignia shares a family resemblance to the Astra, but is larger, about the size of a Camry. Meaning leg room in the back. And a good sized boot.
The 2015 Holden Insignia VXR is well put together, doors shut with a reassuring thunk, there’s a premium feel from behind the wheel, and starting the 2.8 litre V6 turbo unleashes a surprising and welcome rumble. This car means business.
I found the regular drive setting was enough for getting around town, however if you want an even firmer ride and extra beastie performance, press the VXR button and see what happens.
The cabin layout is contemporary and neat, with all the expected features. The information/entertainment system is up to date; the control panel is simple to operate, and the touchscreen easy to navigate.
The Recaro front sports seats are comfortable, electrically adjustable, and there are memory modes for the driver. Among a host of safety features is lane departure warning and radar-guided adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring. Good looking 20 inch alloys are standard.
‘Unexpected’ sums up my response to the Holden Insignia. Sales brochures have been known to go over the top just a tad, so reading that it was a ‘perfect balance between brains and brawn’, left me feeling somewhat skeptical.
However, it turned out to be more fun than I anticipated; it clings to the road thanks to it’s all-wheel drive set-up, there is plenty of performance, and it brings with it a level of refinement and technology.
The Holden Insignia goes and stops with assurance, whether on a long haul or just getting around town.
From about $52,000 it represents European quality at a relatively affordable price that I found unexpectedly enjoyable to drive.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Holden Insignia VXR
Engine: 2.8 litre V6 turbo-petrol producing 239kW and 435Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $51,990