A Moment Within A Moment Passes

This vehicle hid in the backlot of an Opel dealer near me. 

It would have been difficult to take many photos without attracting attention so this is all I have. It must be among the very first of the new Insignias in Denmark. What do I think?

It’s a car I want to like. In plain white, the launch colour, it lacks much presence. There are no obvious errors (but one) and the overall shape is harmonious. It isn’t bulky despite its size and it is definitely sleekly purposeful. I’d like to see in bright metallic blue or bordeaux metallic. The crease on the lower doors stands out as the least convincing element. It’s not offensive though it also seems a bit unrelated to its surroundings, as if it might have been for another, similar car. Its main role is to be the opposite of the crease on the current car which is orientated the other way. A chrome grille frame would help, as they always do.

The current version (now outgoing) is pleasant and has aged well. Customers like it to judge by the number of them I see on the roads. While that car offended me when it first appeared, I got used to it and then came to rather like it. Later revisions improved its looks without making the early models look worse. That’s a good result. The new Insignia follows the path of the new BMW 5-series and Ford Mondeo in not seeming to be all that new to look at. This could have been on sale five years ago. It isn’t dated but as it already appears so familiar I suspect that it might become less relatively atrractive in comparison to newer peers.

Looks aren’t the only factor (and that’s good because the third side glass is indeed false). It is said to be well-made and good drive. It’s also lighter and roomier. The pricing will be competitive but if Ford launch a more daring Mondeo in 2019 this car will face more compelling opposition.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

10 thoughts on “A Moment Within A Moment Passes”

  1. Well done for mentioning the false “sixth-light” as magazines (used to) call them. I have yet to read a press review that refers to it. It’s such an incongruous detail to have added, don’t you think? Overall, I like this new Insignia, having seen a number now on the road and in the metal. It looks longer, sleeker and lower than its predecessor, but, somehow, looks less cohesive than that car. The side crease to which you refer is very current generation Skoda Superb, which itself is very handsome, if not very Skoda (as discussed some time ago now).

    1. My guess is that GM N America asked for the fake pane. Mark Adams is evidently a rather skilled designer and I bet there were fights over the matter.
      When I see the Insignia in other colours I will be better able to judge.
      Side- the one colour the new Astra seldom appears is “Leasing Metallic Grey”. I saw one in this colour and it proved rather attractive. At the moment dark shades are selling the best.

    2. While I don’t especially like that C-pillar pane, with some goodwill one could see it as reviving Opel design cues from the eighties – The Rekord E as well as the Kadett D and E possessed a similar feature. In this case, it was a bit more functional, as it seemd to serve as a vent. This makes it less offensive, probably also together with the better integration into the total DLO. With the upward kink of the base line in the new Insignia, I feel my eyes drawn a bit too much to that weak point.

    3. Simon: good reference. I’d forgotten about those details.
      Less charitably I think Buick wanted the DLO to look different for some reason. It’s daft that it is there, as it is a distraction from an overall form that works well.

    4. I don’t really see at the moment what one could do with this type of DLO, other than fitting a proper window. If I imagine that it’s truncated at the rear door’s trailing edge, I wouldn’t like the effect. The lines are much better flowing the way it is now.

  2. I prefer the more elegant look of the thinner C-pillar to big expanse of painted bodywork, but would rather it was a real window and it does make me wonder about the cause of the decision to go with a false one. Did the slab side market poorly after it was too late for a redesign? Are there structural rigidity or safety concerns at play? Was it supposed to be real and ended up a sacrifice to bean counting?

    On a personal level if one ends up in my possession it will come with a D-pillar. Problem solved.

  3. Ministry of First Impressions – as Tyler Brûlé would put it:

    In the chaos of the evening before Media Day at Geneva in March we were given a quick peek:

    My first thought was how Citroën C5-like it looked. The second was that the rear quarter was cluttered by pillars, jambs, and mullions. The most immediately jarring is the quarter light mullion. I know that it’s a necessary evil, but the outgoing Insignia has one too, but you wouldn’t realise as there’s so much less ‘activity’ around the C-pillar.

    Dinger is right – the Sports Tourer is far better resolved, and pleasingly practical too with its raised roof and upright tail. The Škoda Superb wagon which seems to be the favoured point of comparison has succumbed to the fastback tendency – a latter day Victor FE…

  4. Opel excels at making pretty, soap shaped rental cars. Things you get into for a few hours, hand back and have to really search to find where you left it should you get out of it mid journey. Utterly forgettable things even if pretty. A Superb has immense presence, yet doesn’t have anything daring to its design other than the strangle little triangles under the headlights. Why can they manage it and all Opel can do is pretty soap shapes?! A Superb is a classy thing to turn up in. People might comment and notice. A soap bar? Ha.

    1. That seems a bit harsh to me. All the Opels I’ve driven have been pleasing enough to impress barring the new Corsa which, in the version I drove, lacked a few fine touches. Of the quattro of midsizers I’ve tested, the Golf and Hyundai i30 (or was it a Ceed?) had the greatest character deficit though the Golf comes closest to glass-of-water blank.

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