Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer

   Quite when we British car buyers will get tired of the SUV I really can’t say, but I’m in no doubt it will happen, eventually. People carriers were once very much the thing to have, so too hot-hatches. Both have fallen from favour and are now to be found clogging up the small ads.

   So, and based upon the old adage of what-goes-around comes-around, here’s my prediction as to what the next automotive trend will be: The estate car.

   No, I haven’t gone mad. I know people who own SUVs who are considering an estate car as their next car already. I honestly think that when it the penny finally drops in suburbia and everyone realises that they don’t actually need, or indeed ever really use to anywhere near its full potential a 4x4 that’s only just smaller than their conservatory, the estate car will make a come-back. And especially so if it still promises an element of that all-important and undefinable ingredient: Lifestyle.

    Albeit in roundabout way, this leads me not so subtly towards this: The Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer.

    Now I know in this image-obsessed and all-to badge conscious world of ours Vauxhall is no-longer a brand anyone associates with any particular kind of style, be it life or not. And it’s probably fair to say that Vauxhall’s days as a chart-topping best seller are long gone too. Still, bear with me.

      The Country Tourer is the flagship model of the current Insignia range. Based on their Sports Tourer but with its ride height elevated by 20mm, some rugged looking wheel-arch extensions, 18” rims, and Twinster all-wheel drive, it promises to be a go (well almost, and within reason) anywhere, capacious family-wagon. It is in short Luton’s answer to Audi’s A4 All-Road, VW’s Passat All-track, Skoda’s Octavia Scout, and Volvo’s V60 Cross Country.

    Priced at £30,080 it’s not cheap - although needless to say both Audi and Volvo are pricier, before options at least - but it does come loaded to the gunnels with tech. Sat-nav DAB radio, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, mirrors and steering wheel, power windows, part-electric seat adjustment, privacy glass, tire pressure sensing, adaptable dampers, multiple airbags, and Vauxhall’s Intellilink system were all fitted to the example I sampled. As were the optional LED headlamps, a fold away tow-bar, a powered tailgate, sport-seats, a panoramic sunroof, and more. Total test car cost: £37,330. For a Vauxhall. Gulp!

     Further astonishment may come when you read the following: It’s a diesel.

   Power comes from a 2.0litre twin-turbo oil-burner which produces 207bhp, 354lbft of torque, and the ability, via the 8 speed automatic gearbox that it’s coupled to, to dash to 60mph in 7.7 seconds. Where allowed, it’s said to touch 142 mph.  

   The biggest shock of all however is yet to come. The Insignia Country Tourer’s CO2 emissions and fuel economy figures are 188g/km and a claimed 36.7mpg respectively.

    I never bettered 35mpg.

   That might be at least partly forgivable if the Insignia Country Tourer was perhaps memorably comfortable, particularly involving to drive, or remarkably well-built. However… it’s not.

    That’s not say that it’s bad at anything either I hasten to add, on the contrary in fact.

   As everyday family transport it is perfectly fine and will no doubt provide years of faithful, dependable and reliable service. Will you ever look back on any of it fondly though?

     A few years ago I drove a Passat Alltrack to the Lake District and back and loved every minute of it. Sat here writing this a fortnight after having driven the Insignia Country Tourer every day for a week I’m struggling to remember anything about it. That’s the difference. Both cars are similarly sized, similarly equipped and similarly priced.

    I’m still of the opinion that estate car will eventually replace the SUV. But if you’re fancying one now bide your time, save-up a little more. For not that much more than Vauxhall are asking for their Insignia Country Tourer you shoiuld be able to bag yourself something far, far more memorable.


Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 (210ps) BiTurbo D 4x4 auto BlueInjection

Engine: 1,956cc 4Cyl 16V turbo-diesel

Transmission: 8 speed auto, four wheel drive.

Power:  207 bhp @ 4,000 rpm

Torque: 354 lbft @ 1,500 rpm

0-62mph: 7.7 Sec

Max Speed: 142 mph

CO2: 188g/km

MPG: 36.7 (WLPT combined high)

Price: £30,080 otr (As driven: £37,330)  


Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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