First Drive

First Drive: Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 Turbo D 170 Auto
The story: Vauxhall has added a jacked-up version of its new Insignia Sports Tourer to the range. Called the Country Tourer, it’s designed to be a more affordable alternative to the Audi A4 Allroad and VW Passat Alltrack.
Key rival:Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
On sale:Now

Vauxhall has completed its impressive new Insignia line-up with the launch of the Country Tourer, an estate with a raised ride height and off-road cladding.

It is, in effect, a lower-cost rival to the likes of Audi A4 Allroad or Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.

The Country Tourer is 25mm higher than a regular Insignia Sports Tourer, and comes with just the 170hp diesel engine (for now at least) and a single trim level. There are manual and automatic versions; this is our first exposure to Vauxhall’s new eight-speed auto transmission, which proves to be a smart-shifting gearbox. The manual is also available with four-wheel drive, as well as the standard front drive. A new 210hp Bi-Turbo diesel, with the auto gearbox and four-wheel drive, will appear next year.

2017 Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer - Image 13The Country Tourer is based on the well-kitted Tech Line trim that’s aimed at fleets, so 8.0-inch touchscreen, satnav, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and Vauxhall’s industry-leading OnStar system are all standard, along with the Flexride variable suspension system.

Unique 18-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, front fog lights and the cladding around the wheel arches are all added for the Country Tourer, and Vauxhall quotes a £1,355 price increase over the Sports Tourer estate.

The new variant is expected to be very niche in volume terms; of the 27,000 Insignias Vauxhall plans to sell next year, around 5,000 will be estate shape,d and only a tenth of that will be Country Tourers.  That ratio of 80:20 hatchback:estate has increased from under 10% with the old Insignia due to the new car’s more elegant shape and greater practicality, but the Sports Tourer and Country Tourer are more aimed at markets such as Germany, where the 80:20 ratio is in favour of the wagon.

2017 Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer - Image 15Though there is the extra kit, there is a price over and above the extra cost of the Country Tourer, with emissions being six or seven grammes per kilometre higher than those of the regular estate, depending on model.

If the extra ground clearance and/or 4×4 drive is useful, either for accessing off-track locations or towing, then the Country Tourer is a handy addition at a small premium, and costs significantly less than its Passat contemporary while still offering a tidy driving experience. But otherwise, the regular Sports Tourer is more efficient and cheaper, so the four-figure walk-up and higher CO2 may be harder to justify.


paul barker

The verdict

Neat addition to excellent new Insignia line-up will be of limited appeal due to higher emissions.