Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer vs VW Passat Alltrack

17 Jun, 2014 10:52am

Rugged family motoring has never been such fun, as Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer estate meets VW Passat Alltrack

The off-road estate isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that more car manufacturers are turning to in an effort to create upmarket versions of their everyday family carriers.

Vauxhall is the latest company to head for the hills, with the new Insignia Country Tourer. As the name suggests, this car is based on the Insignia Sports Tourer estate, but it’s been given an SUV-style makeover to mark it out as a premium version of the recently revised family model. Here we try out the flagship BiTurbo diesel, which comes with four-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.

For this test, we’ve lined up another family estate that’s been given a rugged makeover: the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. It doesn’t have quite as much power as the Insignia, and it’s more expensive, too, but with its 4MOTION four-wheel drive and energy-saving BlueMotion tweaks, it should still be a tough rival for the new Vauxhall.

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer review

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack review

Click the links above to read each review and then read on for our verdict.

Head-to-head

Off-road

Neither car here has permanent four-wheel drive. Instead, they use reactive systems that feed power to the tyres with the most grip. This means extra traction if the going gets slippery, but neither is a substitute for a proper 4x4.

The Passat has a slight edge over the Insignia thanks to its Off-Road mode, which activates the hill descent control and hill-start systems, as well as the electronic diff lock.

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer vs VW Passat Alltrack - header 3

Load capacity

when the back seats are in place, the Insignia’s boot is 48 litres down on the Passat’s, with 540 litres of space. But the VW has a 186-litre advantage with the seats folded, as it offers a 1,716-litre maximum capacity. The Vauxhall features a powered tailgate as standard – it’s a £335 option on the Passat.

Company costs

The Insignia’s lower P11D price is countered by 174g/km emissions, placing it in the 30 per cent tax bracket. Higher-rate payers face a £3,662 bill – £230 more than for the Passat – although adding options will raise the VW’s bill.

Verdict

1st place: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

VW Passat Alltrack static

We think the Passat Alltrack is still the best crossover estate on the market. The punchy diesel, slick DSG box, decent performance, relaxed cruising comfort and better fuel economy give it a clear advantage over the Insignia, and cancel out its higher asking price.

2nd place: Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer static

The Insignia Country Tourer is a relatively comfortable and roomy family estate with plenty of gadgets to keep you amused. Trouble is, the BiTurbo diesel is thirsty and unresponsive and the ride is unsettled, while steep running costs also count against the new car.

Figures

VW Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI (177) 4MOTION Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 BiTurbo 4x4 Nav
On-the-road price/total as tested £32,160/£36,765 £30,864/£33,169
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £13,218/41.1% £10,679/34.6%
Depreciation £18,942 £20,185
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £1,716/£3,432 £1,831/£3,662
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £1,936/£3,227 £2,331/£3,885
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 26/£389/G/£180 23/£347/H/£205
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £287 (2yrs/20k) £186/£303/£186
Length/wheelbase 4,874/2,710mm 4,920/2,737mm
Height/width 1,550/1,820mm 1,523/1,856mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/1,968cc 4cyl in-line/1,956cc
Peak power 175/4,200 bhp/rpm 192/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 380/1,750 Nm/rpm 400/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd auto/4WD 6-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 70 litres/space saver 70 litres/£95
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 588/1,716 litres 540/1,530 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,726/649/2,000kg 1,768/667/1,600kg
Turning circle 11.4 metres 11.5 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000)/1yr 3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers Variable/223 20k miles (1yr)/404
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 19th/25th 29th/18th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars 91/77/54/5 94/79/40/5
0-60/30-70mph 7.9/8.0 secs 8.3/7.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 3.2/4.5 secs 3.9/5.7 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 6.3/8.0 secs 7.1/10.4 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 131mph/2,250rpm 130mph/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 49.2/34.3/9.0m 47.3/34.0/10.0m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 68/46/61/67dB 71/50/60/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 38.4/8.4/591 miles 31.9/7.0/491 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 40.4/53.3/47.9mpg 31.7/53.3/42.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 8.9/11.7/10.5mpl 7.0/11.7/9.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 197/155g/km/27% 237/174g/km/30%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera Six/yes/yes/£310 Six/yes/yes/£300
Adaptive cruise/stability ctrl/tow bar £725/yes/£865 £1,100/yes/£545
Climate control/leather/heated seats Yes/£1,805/£280 Yes/£1,045/£500
Met paint/adaptive xenons/keyless go £535/£1,050/£440 £545/yes/£395
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

You may actually be right in your verdict but until the "VW Worship Button" either dis-appears from the menu bar or is joined by a Vauxhall equivalent, then "Huh!" is the only conclusion to be drawn.

Seems to have gone. Doesn't actually change anything though.

Neither holds a light to the upcoming Skoda Octavia Scout. Don't be short-changed - wait until the real thing is available in a couple of months time.

Still there, but now in the third line of the menu called "The Volkswagen Experience". Mixing up editorial content with advertising in this way is deplorable.

Even before reading the article you just know the VW group vehicle wins. With the blatant product placement/advertising AE might as well just write an article on said VW car as it always is the written majority of any group test, with pretty much no negatives or draw backs...

If I was in the marker for an off road estate, I would pick the insignia. It looks much better than the dated dull bland box that is the passat...

Skoda rent-boy.

Trouble is, people are taken in and don't seem to have their own opinion. They 'support' a brand like a football team.

Vauxhall has ALWAYS been mediocre regarding powertrains, even today, Insignia with it's 192 hp gets beaten by the 170 hp VW.... And they both have, basically, the same weight.
I remember "back in the days" the '94 Omega with the 2,6 V6 auto got seriously beaten by the '94 MB E220 auto.....

VWWB not on my desktop. Doesn't make any difference though, as I'm going to test-drive choices before parting with money - best drive wins.

My 2000-year Opel Astra Estate 1.6i went like a whippet and blew the doors off the Seat Leon we also ran. Opel 16v against VAG 8v, I guess, and no contest.

Can't say I'm in the market for either of these pricey cars, but reckon fuel economy and range would be major decision-makers if I was.

Really would you pick a functional vehicle based on its appearance?

I would skip them both and get a Subaru Outback.

like a whippet ? mine actual whippet will go like stink for about 15 minutes and then sleep for the rest of the day on the sofa!!!

Ha! Mine went like stink for 104,000 miles before being squashed by a large truck one icy night!

Truck beats car every time.At least you're here to tell the tale.

Out of these 2 I'd pick the insignia, if I really wanted an off road functional 'estate' the xc60 with the new 4 cylinder diesel would be the truly best choice

Yes XC60 is excellent. I don't have a Vovlo dealer within 40 miles though, if I did I think I might be driving one.

It's really funny how the "slick DSG box" is in the positive area, with all it's reliability issues, recalls and furious owners, Auto Express always find a way to ignore real negatives of a VW group vehicle.
VW has lost it's charm since 2008....building almost the exact same cars until now, even the looks are identical both inside and out.

Issue 1346
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