June 30, 2009

This Is Not Your Kid's Opel Insignia EcoFlex Wagon, And It Never Will Be


The Opel Insignia EcoFlex Sports Tourer is somehow environmentally friendly. I don't speak German, though, and all I can figure is that it gets good mileage [over 50 mpg]. The Insignia just won the 2009 European Car of the Year. It has a 2.0L CDI diesel engine, yet it apparently drives surprisingly well.

It seems like an ideal, high-quality, high-efficiency family car that could find great, Jetta SportWagon-style success in the US. Maybe Saturn will put the Insignia Wagon on the fast track for its US rebadging efforts.

Oh, wait, that's right. GM dumped Saturn onto the Penske dealer network a week after it sold off 65% of Opel and Vauxhall to a Russo-Canadian-employee-dealer consortium. Thus ensuring that the probability of GM ever bringing an awesome-seeming family-friendly ride like the Insignia to the US market is actually somehow less than zero.

Opel adds Sports Tourer Wagon to Insignia ecoFlex line [autobloggreen.com via dt reader david]


We will see the Insignia here (in the US) but it will be the Buick LaCrosse. But we won't see it as a wagon and we won't see it with the diesel which leaves much to be desired. I believe they announced the LaCrosse will have a 4 cylinder variant which will probably get you ~30 mpg which is still a long way from ~50.
It's too bad GM won't have Saturn (or Opel) to bring this thing over here. It's been pretty cool these past few years as Saturn has had versions of some decent Opels (Aura, Astra, Vue) but they all went unnoticed by the buying public because of what I deem to be another botch job by GM. They owned Opel which is a German brand. German brands command a premium in the US market. Yet they rebadge the cars as Saturns which is known as a value brand in the US and is generally represents the lowest price point in the GM lineup. By taking and Opels and calling them Saturns they were leaving money on the table with each sale. GMs mistake was not importing Opels. Its mistake was not calling them Opels once they got here. There should have been Opel dealer across the street from every VW dealer.

Another wagon that North America will never see, no surprise there. I'm still barely over the fact that Nissan doesn't have an Altima Wagon (Murano doesn't count, really, too "trucky") equivalent to its French cousin, the Renault Megane Estate.

For that matter, why does BMW have an awesome diesel version of the 3-series for sale but not as a wagon in North America? Men across the continent would be saying "Honey, I'm buying it for the cargo space and fuel efficiency, not the M3-beating torque!"

Despite the torque numbers you're not going to see this car win any awards for acceleration or handling. The "low rolling resistance 17" Michelin tires" will likely sap any fun out that might be indicated by the torquey engine and well regarded chassis.

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