WITH soaring sales last year helping to make them top UK manufacturer in December Vauxhall is set for even better things in 2014 especially with cars like the newly launched Insignia Country Tourer 4x4 that is taking on the likes of the Audi A4 Allroad at a considerably lower price writes Bryan Longworth.
Allroad at a considerably lower price writes Bryan Longworth.
Audi with their quattro four wheel drive cars and estates has dominated this market sector for some time but the new and very shapely Vauxhall Insignia estate with four wheel drive is about to change that situation with the tough looking Country Tourer.
For the Country Tourer with its SUV characteristics and Mercedes like grille looks the part with higher ground clearance distinctive plastic body enhancements and advanced all wheel drive is a car with big appeal and it is around £5,000 cheaper than the Audi rival.
Vauxhall expects the estate to appeal to both retail and fleet customers as an alternative to the large SUVs which are not to the liking of a lot of motorists because of their bulk with their higher CO2 emissions and higher tax for company car drivers.
On test was the Insignia Country Tourer Nav 2.0CDTi 4x4 costing £26,499 on the road which was powered by a 2.0 litre 161bhp diesel engine with a top speed of 127mph, a zero to 62mph time of 10.9 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 50.4mpg.
It was loaded with standard kit including a touch screen sat nav system, leather heated steering wheel, heated front seats, electrically operated driver’s seat, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and an electrically operated tailgate.
It was nice to get a really tailor made driving position which helped to make the test period so enjoyable because the car had such positive handling and while it did not snow I had to travel on some wet country roads that were made treacherous by mud from farm tractors and trailers but the four wheel drive system helped prevent loss of traction or skidding.
The Country Tourer with its six speed manual transmission was a good motorway cruiser but I found it to be quite a nimble performer on winding country roads where it provided enjoyable and very satisfying motoring especially at night where the xenon lighting was just about the best I have come across and that includes cars costing a lot more money than this one.
There was a roomy and comfortable interior with a large screen for the satellite navigation system plus other information for the radio, heating and other functions but I really appreciated the facility for an easy to see digital speedometer in the centre of the instrument panel as well as the conventional speedo.
The electrically powered tailgate was a useful function with the driver only having to touch the base of the tailgate which rose on its own - to lower it automatically the driver presses a switch on the raised rear door.
Vauxhall has produced an impressive 4x4 estate with a very attractive body that should fill a niche in this market sector where the likes of Audi and Subaru with their four wheel drive cars have not had too much competition over the years.
Now Vauxhall has entered the fray with this very desirable estate car which should become a big success in this sector and who knows the company may eventually extend the 4x4 formula to other estates in their range.
My Verdict: An ideal all seasons estate.
Model: Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer Nav 2.0CDTi 4x4.
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel.
Output: 161bhp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 127mph.
Acceleration 0 to 62mph 10.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 50.4mpg combined.
CO2 emissio9ns: 147g/km.