IT’S almost the end of a rivalry between two large family/business cars that have been dominant players in a sector which continues to lose out to the SUV trend.

More and more, we mostly want our vehicles to be that much taller and not quite so long, and that has led to Ford ending production of its Mondeo saloon after 29 years and concentrating instead on crossovers.

That leaves the Vauxhall Insignia to carry on the fight, namely with a clutch of German brands and a couple from Japanese stables.

And Vauxhall has been busy ensuring that its class leader stays right on top of its game.

One of the reasons why the Insignia took so many sales from the Mondeo was its sleek styling, but even that has been revised.

This new version consumes up to 18 per cent less fuel than the outgoing model, thanks to a range of powerful new engines, and there’s a range-topping GSi model too.

The engine line-up now features three and four-cylinder units, including a 1.5-litre diesel unit tested here that achieves CO2 emissions of 121g/km.

All Insignia diesel units are exempt from the four per cent BIK surcharge – making them ideal for fleet and business users.

But on the downside, the smaller diesel unit is rather sluggish, with weak acceleration from start-up and a grumbly engine note accompaniment.

The petrol engine line-up starts with two all-aluminium four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engines with 200PS and 230PS.

The 200hp unit (combined 33.1mpg to 37.7mpg, 171g/km CO2) can achieve a top speed of 146mph and 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds. The 230hp turbocharged 2.0-litre (combined 30.3mpg to 35.3mpg, 181g/km) is available exclusively with the GSi model. It is capable of 147mph and 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds.

These 2.0-litre units are also the first Vauxhall engines with cylinder deactivation. Unless the driver needs a lot of power, it relies on two cylinders, reducing fuel consumption.

The three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-litre diesel with 122PS (combined 57.6mpg to 61.4mpg, 121g/km CO2) can achieve a top speed of 127mph but the 0-60mph time is a woeful 10.7 seconds.

Step up to the four-cylinder 2.0-litre (174PS) diesel (combined 51.4mpg to 61.4mpg, 121g/km CO2) and you will get a much more respectable acceleration time of 0 to 60mph in 8.2 seconds and top speed of 142mph.

There’s no doubting that the revised Insignia is a very attractive car. With a new front and rear design, it looks lower and wider than before and is in fact the most aerodynamic car in its class.

Special mention should also be made of the revised IntelliLux LED Pixel lighting technology that comes as standard from SRi VX-Line Nav onwards. It uses 84 LED bulbs to project more light and automatically switches the beam from dipped to main.

Inside the Insignia you will find not only bags of room for all passengers and a very modern layout but also some of the best technology and equipment in this class.

It includes a new rear-view camera, plus optional rear cross traffic alert that uses radar sensors to detect objects 90 degrees to the left or right behind the car, up to 20m away.

Other driver assistance features include forward collision with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, side blind spot alert, adaptive cruise control with emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and a head-up display.

Infotainment options are compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and come with either a seven-inch or eight-inch touchscreen. The eight-inch Multimedia Navi Pro unit is standard on SRi VX-Line Nav, Ultimate Nav and GSi models.

The Insignia doubles as a very comfortable family car and well-equipped business cruiser. But if you are still favouring diesel then I would suggest you opt for the more powerful version.

The lowdown:

Vauxhall Insignia SRi Nav 1.5T

Price: Insignia range from £24,330

Engine: 1.5-litre diesel, producing 120 bhp

Transmission: Six-speed manual (auto available)

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 10.7 seconds

Economy: 57.6mpg to 61.4mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 121g/km

Star ratings:

Performance: ***

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ***