Here are the first spy images of the 2017 Open Insignia, a car tipped by many to be the basis for the forthcoming, first fully-imported Holden Commodore.
The new Opel Insignia, which our spy photographers predict will premiere in September 2017 at the Frankfurt motor show but which could easily appear as early as 2016, is set to grow significantly over the current version, sold here in hot VXR AWD turbo guise.
Expect the wheelbase to grow by a much as 100mm to increase cabin space, making it a neater potential Commodore replacement and a pseudo large-car, while at the other end of the scale expect significant weight loss — as much as 200kg.
Intriguingly, reports indicate the Insignia will be sold as a liftback hatch and a wagon (to come a few months later), while the sedan is tipped to be axed, reflecting European tastes. General Motors covers the main sedan markets, the US and China, with the Chevrolet Malibu, remember.
Naturally, being an early test mule, the vehicle snapped is heavily disguised. But you may recall the line that Opel design director Malcolm Ward gave us late last year on the topic of the new Insignia.
“I can assure you it’s one of the most beautiful cars you will have seen in years,” he said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
Inside, the new Opel Insignia will almost certainly take influence from the Monza (below), with features such as a large digital dashboard, a sweeping and simplified design and the latest OnStar WiFi and MyLink infotainment.
Under the skin, expect the Insignia to remain a front-drive car, with performance-focused AWD versions. It will sit on GM’s global E2XX platform. The days of the rear-drive Commodore are unlikely to last forever, though General Motors is expected to internationalise Cadillac soon, so RWD-heads should keep hope of a suitable GM offering post-2020.
The latest small-capacity turbo engines will likely form the basis of the Insignia/Commodore engine range. Holden swears it will keep at least one V8 performance car into next decade but expect that to materialise as a sports coupe (Camaro, if Holden can make the RHS business case, or Corvette) rather than the Commodore sedan (and potentially Sportwagon) replacement.
Putting two and two together, the odds of the next Insignia forming the basis of the 2017/18 Holden Commodore are good. Holden stops Australian manufacturing in late 2017, at which time it will import a rough replacement.
First thing is, we know the Commodore name is set to remain, on account of its strong badge equity. We also know that Holden designers and engineers are deeply involved a project to localise the next imported Commodore.
As we reported this year, mules are confirmed to be in testing at the local General Motors arm’s Lang Lang proving ground outside Melbourne, Victoria, that was only recently saved from being sold off.
Another option for the Australian-made VF Commodore replacement is the new-generation US-market Chevrolet Malibu, which premiered last April. But if you notice GM’s decision to make other Chevy cars such as the Camaro and Volt left-hand drive only, there’s no guarantee of a RHD Malibu this time around.
Before all this, Holden will launch an updated VF Commodore, called the Series II, before the end of 2015 to tide the market over. Expect a new LS3 (L99) 6.2-litre V8 to feature, and expect also the axing of the LPG gas version.