Vauxhall will launch a range-topping SUV before the end of the decade, with the new model combining dramatic coupé-like looks and seven seats with what insiders have described as a “value-for-money price tag”.
The new SUV will be joined by two new crossover models, which will slot between the new Astra and a revamped Insignia, with the result that by 2019 Vauxhall will have four SUV and crossover models in its line-up, including the existing Mokka.
Industry specialists say the boom in crossover and SUV sales is not likely to slow significantly over the next four years. Moreover, Vauxhall’s three MPV models — the Meriva, Zafira and Zafira Tourer — have all suffered sales slides as family-friendly crossovers and SUVs displace the traditional people-carrier.
The flagship SUV was announced in outline form late last year by GM CEO Mary Barra. She revealed that £189 million was being invested in Opel’s Russelsheim factory to update it for the next-generation Insignia and the new SUV. However, Autocar has now obtained more details about the new vehicle and its market positioning.
The large SUV will be based on an updated version of the Insignia’s Epsilon 2 platform, which also underpins Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick models.
This new platform is being developed under the name ‘E2XX’. According to announcements from GM in the US, the new structure will get a significant 10cm wheelbase stretch (taking it up to a substantial 2.83m), with the whole structure being a substantial 136kg lighter than Epsilon 2 architecture.
Other changes are expected to be made that allow a more radical interior dashboard design to be use, while at the rear, the rear of the floorpan and structure have been further modified to improve luggage space and accommodate a third row of seats in the SUV.