It’s impossible to consider the arrival of the all-new Insignia without briefly reflecting on the tribulations of Vauxhall and its parent, Opel.

The latest model is, after all, a significant cog in a global machine – designed and developed in Europe yet also sold in North America and China as the Buick Regal.

Consequently, its lifecycle is likely to be defined by the upheaval of a brand in flux, as new owner PSA Group asserts control over its unwieldy acquisition from General Motors and eventually gets around to segregating asset from redundancy.

In that light, it’s quite possible to view the Insignia as a considerable virtue of the procurement.

Imperfect though the outgoing version was, it finished a stronger prospect than it started in the UK and proved a considerable success even when faced with the oft-mentioned squeeze of this class, the D-segment, from all sides.

Certainly, it overshadowed the comparatively puny impact made by PSA’s own contenders and counted only the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat as direct rivals in terms of size and prominence.

Both of those admittedly much newer models made the outgoing Insignia look every bit as old as nearly 10 years on sale suggested it was, though.

Updates kept the car’s nose above water, but it was still too heavy, too flaccid to drive, too muddled inside and too drab to be thought of with much enthusiasm beyond its cadre of business users.

The new version, dubbed Grand Sport in hatchback format, is a conspicuously handsome attempt to address all of those faults. It promises to be lighter, leaner and better thought out than the car it replaces.

Historically, it’ll represent one of General Motors’ last half dozen or so solo rolls of the dice in Europe. Topically, it’ll become one of the most recognisable cars on British roads.

We drove a 2.0 Turbo D in SRi VX-Line Nav trim to assess its worthiness for either accolade. 

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim