Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer (2013-2015)
"The Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer estate adds four-wheel-drive grip to the Insignia's long list of attributes. There's a choice of two diesel engines and it makes for an excellent tow car."
- Handsome looks
- Optional four-wheel drive
- Generous standard equipment
- Not very quick
- Noisy when accelerating
- Top-of-the-range models lose value fast
The Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer estate has now been discontinued in the UK due to a combination of low sales volumes and the cost of re-engineering the car to match a new 2.0-litre CTDi diesel engine with four-wheel drive. There are likely to be some new cars still around in stock but production has officially ended for the UK. The car was originally designed to be Vauxhall's answer to a number of models that offer raised suspension and four-wheel-drive in a conventional estate body. Rivals include the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, the Skoda Octavia Scout and the Volvo XC70. Due to the
The Vauxhall’s raised suspension means it can tackle rutted tracks, with the help of four-wheel drive (optional on the basic, but standard on top-of-the-range models) that gives it extra grip and makes it an excellent tow car. Protective plastic cladding on the outside guards against scuffs and scrapes.
Vauxhall offers the Country Tourer with a choice of two diesel engines. We'd recommend the lower-powered 161bhp version, because it offers a decent blend of performance and economy, plus you have the choice of manual or automatic transmission. The faster 193bhp version only comes with an automatic gearbox, which hurts both fuel economy and performance.
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The Country Tourer sits at the top of the Insignia range, so it comes with a generous amount of equipment, including bright xenon headlights, climate control, cruise control and alloy wheels.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Insignia Country Tourer’s optional four-wheel-drive system means it'll never return the same fuel economy as a standard Insignia, but 50.4mpg for the 161bhp diesel engine isn’t too bad. Its CO2 emissions of 147g/km mean you'll pay £145 road tex per year. A front-wheel-drive model is available – it manages 62.8mpg and emits just 119g/km of CO2.
Choose the 193bhp diesel engine and fuel economy drops to 42.8mpg, while CO2 emissions increase to 174g/km, so road tax costs £205 annually. Four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are both standard with this engine.
Vauxhall offers fixed-price service plans that cost around £15 per month (depending on the model) and allow you to spread the cost of the car’s maintenance.
Used values for the Vauxhall Insignia aren't great, but the 193bhp Country Tourer’s second-hand prices are particularly poor. Experts expect it'll be worth just 32 per cent of its original cost after three years and 36,000 miles.
Engines, drive & performance
The 161bhp diesel Insignia Country Tourer sounds a bit noisy when you start the car, yet the engine settles down at speed. It has the power to accelerate the big estate from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds, but the manual gearbox feels a bit notchy.
The more powerful 192bhp diesel version, which uses two turbochargers rather than one, covers 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds. The standard automatic gearbox doesn't help that time. It’s slow to select lower gears for fast acceleration, even if it does make smooth changes. It’s also no quieter than the basic model and costs more to run.
Vauxhall has fitted the Country Tourer with its FlexRide suspension, which allows you to stiffen or soften the suspension according to your preference. Owners can choose from Sport, Normal and Tour modes, but Normal strikes the best balance, as it's neither as stiff as Sport mode nor as prone to wallowing as the Tour setting.
On the road, the County Tourer has sharp steering and plenty of grip, but the raised suspension also means there's a bit of body lean in sharp corners. We wouldn’t recommend tackling any serious off-roading, but one of the four-wheel-drive models will allow you to conquer muddy fields and rutted tracks without too much trouble. And the Country Tourer should prove to be a very capable tow car.
Interior & comfort
The Country Tourer feels like any other Insignia inside: it's well built, with soft-touch plastics to be found all around the cabin. The car’s TFT display looks modern, while the eight-inch sat-nav screen is clear and easy to use, although we don't like how the touchpad is located behind the gearstick. The Vauxhall has still got some catching up to do when compared to the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, which feels even better built.
Changes that mark the Country Tourer out from the basic model include protective plastic body cladding, unique gearleaver trim and a higher driving position.
The steering wheel adjusts in and out as well as up and down, plus the height-adjustable driver’s seat makes it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. Front and rear parking sensors take a lot of the stress out of parking in tight spaces.
All Country Tourers come with FlexRide adjustable suspension, which gives a choice of Sport, Normal and Tour modes, so you can take your pick from soft or firm suspension, but the Normal setting seems to work best. Some engine noise does make its way into the interior, no matter which engine you choose, and the big tyres also transmit road noise inside the car.
Practicality & boot space
At 540 litres, the Insignia's boot is slightly smaller than the 565 litres provided by the Volkswagen Passat, but total space increases to 1,350 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded down. There’s also a useful hidden storage area under the boot floor, while the £110 FlexOrganiser pack adds nets and hooks for safely carrying almost any cargo. Vauxhall also equips the Country Tourer with an electrically powered boot hatch.
Get in the front and you’ll find the Vauxhall offers plenty of space to get comfortable in. The same is true in the back, although choosing dark interior trim can make it feel a bit smaller than it actually is, when combined with car’s tinted rear windows.
Rummage through the interior and you’ll find armrest pockets front and rear, storage in the doors and a large glovebox.
Many people who buy a Country Tourer will fit a tow bar, and the manual diesel model has an impressive maximum towing capacity of 2,100kg – that’s 100kg more than the Skoda Octavia Scout. Get your tow bar fitted by Vauxhall (£710) and the company will recalibrate the ABS anti-lock brakes to better deal with slowing the extra weight. Bear in mind that four-wheel drive is optional with the less powerful engine, so make sure you choose this option if you plan to do a lot of towing.
Reliability & safety
The standard Vauxhall Insignia didn't fare well in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, coming 112th out of 150 cars. Since then, though, the Insignia has received a raft of revisions, but it's too early to say whether they do enough to improve the car's standing.
Things don’t look much better when you take account of the manufacturer rankings, where Vauxhall finished 29th out of 33 brands. At least owners can seek solace in the company’s huge dealer network.
There shouldn’t be too many worries on safety, as the Insignia received the maximum five-star rating when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. The Country Tourer gets six airbags, electronic stability control and a seatbelt reminder buzzer for the front seats. The extra grip provided by the four-wheel drive should also limit the chances of the car ever being involved in an accident.
Price, value for money & options
As the Country Tourer is the flagship of the Insignia range, all versions are well equipped. The cheapest model comes with climate control, cruise control, a Bluetooth phone connection and rear parking sensors. If you choose the more powerful engine, sat-nav comes as standard (it's a £1,150 option on the entry-level car). You can also replace the standard 18-inch alloy wheels with 19-inch items (£565), trade cloth for leather on the seats (£1,145) and add a rear-view parking camera for £300.
Sat next to the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, the basic Insignia – which undercuts the VW by more than £5,500 – starts to look like decent value. As with the Volkswagen, the less powerful Country Tourer should hold on to 40 per cent of its value after three years and 36,000 miles. The more powerful model’s resale value is likely to be closer to 30 per cent after the same period, however.