We have been fortunate enough to drive the majority of the Vauxhall range in recent months and one model that stands out is the Insignia – this Country Tourer version however, is the most practical.
Featuring a taller ride height than the regular Insignia Sports Tourer, the Country variant adds beefy, SUV-like arch extensions and rugged lower body trim, allowing it blend in at the local point-to-point and with a towing capability of 2200kg; you’d even be legal to bring the pony.
Offering stylish design, superb connectivity and smart driver-assistance, the Insignia Country Tourer starts from just £26,500.00, with this model tested here, and all its options, coming in at a sensible £32,655.
Finished in Lava Red, it doesn’t just look practical, but being incredibly large, it is real-world practical and features 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and dual exit exhaust along with a £1,295 option of LED Matrix headlights.
On opening the boot via the £380 electric tailgate option, the space available could swallow a Fermanagh lake with enough room for a double buggy, a week’s shopping, and even the kitchen sink.
Inside, this model has fully heated leather trim at a cost of £1,500 – whilst a heated steering wheel is most welcomed during the winter months, whilst comfort helped thanks to dual climate control. Around the cockpit is a plethora of gloss black trim with a head-up-display and digital cockpit screen adding convenience.
With what I found to be a great driving position, the seats offer huge amounts of support and comfort, even on the longest of journey’s and with a pair of ISOFIX mounts in the rear, the youngest and most precious of occupants can travel well, assured they are in safe hands with this Vauxhall.
Within the centre of the dash is an infotainment hub in the form of an 8-inch ‘Navi 900 InteliLink’ touch-screen that allows access to navigation, reverse camera, AM/FM/DAB radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as USB connectivity.
A few options are available with the Insignia Country Tourer including the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox as well as two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive – but if you don’t like diesel engines, forget about it, as it’s only available with said fuel type.
Being 2.0L in capacity, you can choose the 170PS version with 295lb/ft, or the BiTurbo version which produces 210PS with a whopping 354lb/ft. Zero to 60mph is achievable in 8.6 seconds and 7.7 seconds respectively.
With a top speed of 137mpg, the lesser powered engine will return a claimed, combined economy of 45mpg and is available in two-wheel-drive paired to a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic ‘box; or as four-wheel-drive with the 6-speed manual ‘box.
The more potent power-train, as tested here thanks to Vauxhall UK, will see 142mph and a claimed 39mpg, this engine is only available with four-wheel-drive and the 8-speed automatic ‘box. For me, this is the best combination with a real-world return of 35mpg.
On the road, the Insignia Country Tourer pulls great and the 8-speed auto ‘box doesn’t seem to struggle at all whilst ‘flexride’ offers you switchable driving modes between sport and normal, with a noticeable, positive difference when using sport mode.
The Insignia Country Tourer is, as said before, LARGE and parking around town and in multi-story car parks can prove tricky, even with the parking aids offered. It’s on the open road, or as per the images taken here, on the beach, that the Country Tourer is at home.
When it comes to rivals, the most iconic brand that would fit this segment is Volvo offering their V90 Cross Country; however, with a starting price of £43,020 it isn’t exactly comparable – another would be the VW Passat AllTrack, but again it starts from a price well above the top level Country Tourer with options added.
Okay, the Vauxhall may not feature as much plush material inside as the others, but to be fair, it’s not exactly slumming it either with a vast amount of tech on-board and is priced keenly, in perhaps an overpriced segment.
Words & Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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