Insignia Sports Tourer 4x4
Does nip and tuck under skin transform Vauxhall's family car?
YOU need to be able to justify the option of 4WD, as it adds £1,750 to the price of the front-wheel-drive Sports Tourer. However, the Insignia estate is an attractive, spacious and comfortable car – and the introduction of a 4x4 diesel gives it a unique selling point. Vauxhall has a baffling array of trims and sub-trims, but the huge scope for customisation means there’s an Insignia for everyone.
Tough, economical and practical – Vauxhall has combined a diesel engine with its four-wheel-drive system for the first time. It gives the Insignia Sports Tourer extra appeal for those who don’t want an SUV, but need something to tackle imperfect road surfaces.
The 2.0-litre 158bhp CDTI powerplant joins the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo and 2.8-litre V6 petrol units already available in the Insignia 4x4. It’s quiet and refined, and performs well, too, making the thirstier 217bhp and 256bhp models hard to justify.
The adaptive all-wheel-drive and FlexRide systems combine to deliver impressive handling. The 4x4 set-up ensures power is distributed to the wheels that need it. So on motorways, the car will cruise along in front-wheel-drive mode to save fuel, but it will switch automatically to all-wheel drive – with the ability to send up to 100 per cent of the power to the rear tyres – over tricky surfaces.
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Meanwhile, FlexRide allows drivers to choose between three suspension settings: Standard, Tourer and Sport. Even in the firmest of the trio, Sport, the ride is comfortable, while body roll is well controlled.
Owners of caravans or trailers will be delighted if they specify the optional towing pack. It includes Vauxhall’s Trailer Safety Assist system, which detects when you’re towing and, if it senses a strong swing, applies the brakes to individual wheels on the car to bring the trailer back under control.
The standard Sports Tourer is a great looking car. The gently curving waistline, sporty air vents and wide grille give the estate a sleek, elegant profile.
Its stylish appearance extends to the inside as well. The cabin feels solidly made and the dash is attractively laid out, although the centre console is a little cluttered with buttons. There’s plenty of room, though, with the 540-litre boot expanding to 1,530 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
In a bid to tempt customers from premium brand models, Vauxhall is offering a luxurious new interior upgrade for the Sports Tourer range. It’s called Indian Summer, and can be specified on Elite, SRi and SE-spec cars, bringing high-grade Nappa leather seats with Cashmere stitching. However, it adds as much as £5,000 to the Sports Tourer’s price, depending on which trim you opt for.
Rival: Audi A4 Avant While the Audi can’t match the Insignia Sports Tourer for space, the 2.0-litre TDI quattro estate offers more power and lower CO2 emissions, as well as the draw of a premium badge. But it comes at a higher price.