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The car expected to morph into the next-generation Holden Commodore Sportwagon has been spied undergoing final testing in Europe, ahead of a likely Australian launch in early 2018.

This successor to the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer — the Insignia will almost certainly form the basis of the next, fully imported Commodore in all its body styles — is expected to make its proper world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March next year.

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Like the current Australian-made Holden Commodore wagon that dies at the end of next year, the 2018 Insignia Sports Tourer looks to prioritise style on a par with space, with sleek lines evident beneath the camouflage.

The nose design bears obvious resemblance to the Opel Monza concept, while the muscular sides, raking window line and what appears to be a bold, disguised chrome running strip along the C-pillar, give us hope that it’ll be a striking load lugger.

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Considering chief competition will be the classy Volkswagen Passat wagon, dynamic Mazda 6 wagon and capacious Ford Mondeo wagon, the Opel/Holden will need to look a bit special.

We don’t know much about the underpinnings officially, yet, though it’d be safe to suggest that base cars will be front-wheel drive and use small-capacity turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, while the performance leader will have all-wheel drive and an up-tuned engine that’ll likely match or beat the AWD Skoda Superb’s 206kW. There’ll be no V8.

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Whether this performance leader is called the Commodore Sportwagon SS, or retain the Opel OPC name, is unclear to us at present.

While it won’t be made in Australia any more, the new Insignia will at least be the beneficiary of significant local suspension calibration (under the E2XX platform) conducted by Holden’s team based at its Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.

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Inside, the new Opel Insignia will almost certainly take influence from the Monza (above), with features such as a large digital dashboard, a sweeping and simplified design and the latest OnStar WiFi and MyLink infotainment systems.

Based on European demand, expect there to be a higher-riding ‘Country Tourer’ crossover with cladded arches and a trick AWD system for soft-roading duties as well, to rival cars such as the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. A Commodore crossover would make sense.

MORE: Holden Commodore: as Australian as Bratwurst
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