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The Best Of Both Worlds

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Vauxhall Insignia

The Best Of Both Worlds

Geoff Maxted
September 19, 2013

Vauxhall Insignia Tourer
At least that’s how Vauxhall must see it with their new Insignia Country Tourer. This is not a brand that DriveWrite would normally take a lot of interest in. Of course, Vauxhall make excellent cars now but it was not always so. The problem is that my opinion is clouded by the hideous spectre of a blue 1990’s Cavalier that still sometimes wakes me, screaming and sweating, in the night.

Thus it is that I couldn’t really get enthused by the Insignia even though, as it has turned out, it has got the ageing Mondeo on the ropes in that important sector. With the Country Tourer though they may be onto something. One of the latest automotive trends has been for manufacturers to big up what are just estate car versions of their products. In fact, I often prefer them by design and this is the case here. The car in the image is an handsome beast.

All-purpose cars are popular these days as sales of SUV/Crossover vehicles has clearly shown. The Vauxhall is aimed squarely at this market. It is based on the Sports Tourer but with all-wheel drive, higher ground clearance and tougher styling and was apparently well received at the Frankfurt Show recently.

No opportunity to try it yet, but we found the original Insignia to be a decent if unspectacular drive so there is no reason to suppose that this car will be any different, although the all-wheel drive and taller ride may compromise it a little. We’ll see.

Customers can choose between two trim levels, Country Tourer, priced from £25,349 to £29,709 OTR, and Country Tourer Nav, priced from £26,499 to £30,859 OTR. These prices undercut similar vehicles from Audi and VW. Country Tourer trim features generous standard specification including bi-xenon adaptive front lighting, power tailgate and front and rear parking sensors. On top of this, Country Tourer Nav gets the Navi 900 IntelliLink sat-nav with 8-inch colour touch screen, multi-function touch-pad controller and an 8-inch digital instrument cluster as standard.

Each model has a choice of two powerful 2.0 CDTi engines, a 163PS with start/stop and a hot-ish 195PS BiTurbo unit. The 163PS engine is available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, and the BiTurbo comes with the automatic gearbox only.

So; a car for both town and country but will it be the best of both worlds? How well it fares with the country set remains to be seen especially if they put the 4WD to the test. I can’t see it doing any serious mud-plugging but for towing horse-boxes and the like across the shires it might well fit the bill. Equally, it is good looking enough to maintain credibility in the office car park. Vauxhall have truly turned the corner and this looks like another winner.

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