24.5.2019Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 BiTurbo 4x4 review
Those in the market for a practical workhorse, suited to life in rural environments may well turn automatically to off-roaders and 4x4s. These large, heavy cars might provide plenty of space, but running costs tend to be terrible and driving them can prove inconvenient. There is another option however, the crossover estate. Vauxhall's version is the Insignia Country Tourer, which takes an Insignia Sports Tourer, jacks up the ride height, adds all-wheel drive, and a bit of protection for the body work.
Review by Chris Lilly
The model tested used Vauxhall's 2.0 litre bi-turbo diesel producing 210hp. Power goes through an eight-speed automatic transmission which allows the Vauxhall to get from 0-62mph in a very respectable 7.7 seconds. It doesn't feel particularly fast, but the Insignia Country Tourer can certainly get a shift on when required, with the gutsy engine producing 480 Nm of torque. Everything goes to all four wheels with torque vectoring technology. It allows different levels of torque to be transferred to each wheel, allowing for maximum grip on or off-road. The engine is more than up to the task as a daily workhorse, pulling even a heavily laden car comfortably, and settling down at pace for increased refinement. The Insignia Country Tourer is most comfortable on open roads, but the performance translates well to country roads, and the transmission does a decent job of dealing with heavy traffic too.
Sitting 20mm higher than its conventional estate stablemate, the Insignia Country Tourer is focused more on comfort than sportiness - which is to be expected really. There is plenty of movement available in the springs, which can soak up a surprising amount of punishment, either over off-road surfaces or the UK's poor roads. There's a good level of control from the Vauxhall, which means the suspension doesn't bounce all over the place when hit with a bump or dip. It also means body roll in corners is respectable, and the Insignia Country Tourer can prove surprisingly agile. It's a long car, but it's quite easy to manoeuvre on tight spots. The steering is fairly sharp though there isn't much feedback, but the inputs are precise. It's not a car to push along your favourite B-road, but it works well both on fast roads as a cruiser, and dealing with country lanes. The Flexride adaptive chassis allows drivers to change damping and steering settings, but these didn't make a lot of difference to how the car handles.
The Vauxhall is a quietly stylish machine, with nothing that screams 'look at me' but certainly nothing wrong with the design. Thanks to the plastic cladding around the wheel arches, chin, and rear bumper, it looks a little more rugged than the conventional estate, and the Insignia Country Tourer is a good car to look at. The design translates excellently to interior practicality, with huge levels of space on offer. The boot is cavernous, with more than enough space for most drivers. Only antiques dealers of particularly long Grandfather clocks, or those that really need to transport half a dozen bales of hay will look at the load space and be unimpressed. The boot doesn't take away from occupant space either. Leg and head room for four tall adults is excellent.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Settle down into the Insignia Country Tourer's comfortable seats and you will immediately get a sense as to how the car should be driven. It's a good spot from which to potter around rural areas, with a good driving position achievable, and excellent all-round visibility. The cabin's design is decent enough, but pretty uninspiring. Considering the exterior design is rather nice, the interior could look a bit more stylish, with some large air vents breaking up what could have been some swish surfaces. Instruments are easy to read, with one large central digital dial, and two mostly analogue sets of instruments either side. The touchscreen infotainment system is average for the class, with some doing it better, but worse options out there too. Audio and air conditioning controls are in their respective pods, so at least the centre console isn't cluttered. Build quality feels similar to the rest of the interior's theme. Materials and solidity seem good, but again, not class leading. There are some hard plastics used lower down the cabin, but considering the rugged theme of the Insignia Country Tourer, this is both understandable and welcome.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official efficiency scores for the Insignia Country Tourer come in at 36.7 MPG and 188 g/km CO2. They're not particularly good for an estate, but not bad for an SUV. Considering the Insignia Country Tourer sits halfway between the two sectors, the figures seem about right. In real-world conditions, I managed to better the fuel efficiency score by quite a distance, but also managed to rack up 900 miles during my time with it. An airport run and some other longer trips saw a steady pace for much of the time, allowing the trip computer so display 41.1 MPG. In more mixed driving, that dropped to the high 30's MPG, about par with the quoted economy.
Vauxhall's use of the eight-speed automatic gearbox means that emissions are kept as low as possible with the top two ratios effectively overdrive. There is stop-start fitted, and the diesel engine a features Selective Catalytic Reduction system for exhaust after-treatment. Using AdBlue, it reduces the amount of NOx emissions. The FlexRide set--up allows for different modes to be employed. While there is no Eco mode, the Standard and Tour modes change the gear change points on the automatic transmission to improve efficiency.
The Insignia Country Tourer comes packed with equipment to tempt buyers in. Vauxhall certainly hasn't scrimped on kit, with standard equipment including 18-inch alloys, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB, Bluetooth, USB, and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto connectivity. Also fitted are is a Bose audio system, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, FlexRide system, exterior protective trim, rear privacy glass, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, and multi-function steering wheel. Also fitted to the test car were a rear view camera, powered tailgate, panoramic glass sunroof, head-up display, digital instrument panel, wireless mobile charger, and towing pack, amongst others.
The Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer is not going to suit many drivers, but for some, it will hit a real sweet spot. There are other crossover estates, but they tend to be mode expense models from VW, Volvo, and Audi. Vauxhall's version looks good, is huge inside, and drives pretty well.
Model tested: Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 BiTurbo D 4X4 210PS auto
Body-style: Crossover estate
Engine / CO2: 210hp diesel / 188 g/km
Trim grades: Only one
On-road price: From £30,080. Price inc. options: £37,330
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 Stars