Is that a Vauxhall? These were the words uttered by the gentlemen at Ape HQ when Vauxhall delivered its new Insignia Grand Sport to our office. “Is that a Vauxhall?”, is a back-handed compliment of sorts, but also proof that the Vauxhall brand is one on the rise.

Vauxhall are “proud sponsors’ of the England football team, and while we are as patriotic and as proud as anyone of our national sports teams, I’m just not sure this affiliation is a strong one for a car brand. Conversely though, Vauxhall’s link with the England football team might be beneficial for them and a hit with a specific target market- these are probably immeasurable statistics though.

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The truth is- most modern cars manufactured today are all fantastic. Reliable, economical, feature-packed and a pleasure to drive. The customer purchasing decision is made on emotions, brand connection and how a car makes you feel. A similar example is apparent in the watch market- why spend £8,000 on a Zenith watch when you can spend £10 on a Casio, they both do the same thing- tell the time. It’s emotional- how does that chunky, shiny Zenith make you feel with all it’s brand heritage, manufacturing intricacies and so forth.

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When Vauxhall got in touch our initial reaction wasn’t a positive one but having lived with the Insignia Grand Sport for a week, we’ve changed our mind. The large style coupé with its elegant lines in Mineral Black and 20-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels, look fantastic. In fact, on two occasions whilst stopped, members of the public commented on how handsome a car the Insignia Grand Sport was.

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Power-wise, this model boasts a 2L turbo-charged engine with 260PS- capable of propelling the 4×4 system from 0-60s in 6.9s and 155mph. Within, it’s a good place to be; comfortable leather seats, it’s loaded with technology such as lane-guidance, Apple CarPlay, a BOSE sound system, heated seats and a first class media system. Considering it’s size, it still maintained a bold, agile, and fun driving style too- which was unexpected and well received. And with an on the road price of £28,410 it’s one of the most affordable cars in its class.

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So far, so good. But how did it make me feel? Actually, it made me feel good. I’m a Vauxhall convert, its a brand on the up- and deservedly so with a design department churning out such handsomeness. As I left it in our office car park, an employee from a different company in our building became the third person to comment on the Vauxhall. He suggested he’d read that Vauxhall’s European Opel brand is better perceived on the continent and I can’t help but feel it might be in the UK too. He also finished by saying, “I could have one of those”. Maybe it’s time for a change of name (to Opel), or a redesign of that logo might freshen the brand perception. Failing that- Vauxhall, continue on this path of producing technically good cars with first-class looks, and all will be well.

vauxhall.co.uk