Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer review
We review four-wheel drive Insignia, which costs from £25k and is on sale now
The Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer is a logical addition to the line-up, as every carmaker clamours to add crossovers to their ranges. It drives like a car while offering comparable off-roading ability to a crossover, and the space of an estate. And for those who want to rugged looks with better efficiency, a two-wheel drive version arrives early next year.
The four-wheel drive Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer is the latest addition to the freshly facelifted Insignia range. It’s aimed at buyers who want the off-road ability of a crossover, but with more boot space – the same people who buy the Audi A4 Allroad and VW Passat Alltrack.
The driving experience is similar to its VW Group rivals. Compared with the standard Insignia, there’s an extra 20mm added to the ride height, but the damping is still quite firm, initially at least, as body roll is kept pretty well in check. The big difference comes when you hit a pothole or speed bump and the extra give in the suspension adds noticeable extra comfort.
It has FlexRide adaptive dampers as standard, too, which also do their bit for the ride quality. Left in standard mode, the dampers continually adjust to suite your driving style so the ride and handling are safe, predictable and comfortable for the majority of the time. Tour mode makes the car feel floaty and is at its best on the motorway, while Sport improves the body control and changes the mapping of the four-wheel drive system to make the car feel a tiny bit more like it’s driven from the rear.
Car group tests
Used car tests
The transmission normally drives the front wheels. But should a slip be detected, the Haldex system shuffles torque between the axles as necessary, and so smoothly that you don’t really feel any change being made unless you accelerate hard on wet grass. There’s an electric locking rear diff, too, that helps boost traction by splitting power between the two rear wheels.
The car comes with normal road tyres as standard, although winter tyre packages are available from dealers. However, the car does have enough grip on the standard tyres to make wet gravel roads no fuss.
Vauxhall predicts most buyers will spec a tow bar (£500), to make use of the manual model’s 2,100kg towing capacity. It’s worth considering the factory-fit option, as it includes a calibration for the ABS to help the car keep better control of a trailer.
The Country Tourer measures almost five metres long. Although parking sensors are standard, a reversing camera might help, especially when hitching a trailer.
The car is available with a diesel engine only in the UK. We drove the lower-powered unit, which is quite gruff, but has a decent mid-range urge and 350Nm of torque to help overcome the car’s 1,757kg weight. The six-speed gearshift is a tad notchy, and the ratios are very long to ensure the car just undercuts the claimed fuel economy and CO2 figures of the Passat Alltrack.
The slightly more rugged look is welcome, though, with its smart 18-inch alloys and a splash of plastic cladding. It’s worth opting for a lighter paint colour, as that better shows off the fact that the car isn’t just another Insignia. The Country Tourer is a welcome addition to the Insignia range. It’s well priced, efficient, good to look at and comfortable. It also betters the Passat Alltrack on paper in almost every respect.