Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer, motoring review: This brand's days as the middle-class car of choice are over

 

Price From £25,349 (£26,499 as tested)
Engine capacity 2-litre diesel
Power output (PS @ RPM) 163@4,000
Top speed (mph) 127
Fuel economy (mpg) 37.7
CO2 emissions (G/km) 199

Time was when a big Vauxhall estate was perfectly acceptable transport for the middle classes. I knew a teacher (when it was a relatively well-paid occupation) who had a Victor Estate (an "FE" type, if you know your old cars). It was stylish, almost fastback in its lines, and capable enough to take him and the family to their holiday cottage in Caernarvonshire, that is before the Sons of Glyndwr, a Welsh budget version of the IRA, burned it down.

Somewhat later, I had a job where I had use of a Vauxhall Cavalier estate, lucky old me, a smart piece of kit and, in its opulent GL trim, an item of intense lust out in rep-land. If you're impressed by this sort of thing, the Vauxhall estate car also enjoys some royal heritage; the Queen once ran a Cresta estate, an unregal 1950s jukebox on wheels, and the Prince of Wales had a little fleet of Omega estates a few years ago.

So, in its way, the Insignia "Country Tourer", albeit lumbered with a fairly pretentious name, is posh enough, or should be, for the country set. The version I tried out had the necessary "green welly" credentials: four-wheel drive by Haldex; a tailgate that closes itself at the touch of a button; heated (leather) steering wheel; and rain-sensitive wipers. It is good looking too, and the big alloys complement the muscular styling. I enjoyed driving it; the diesel engine had plenty of power and the steering was nicely weighted, adding to the sensation of solidity. As a "crossover" it is designed to appeal to both traditional estate-car drivers and SUV owners, though I suspect that the latter would miss the view from their Land Rovers and BMW X3s.

This Vauxhall's niche is also getting rather crowded; there are fine alternatives from the VW Group (Passat Alltrack, Skoda Octavia Scout), Volvo and, of course, various Audi "allroad" models. Somewhere along the line, Vauxhall as a brand came to stand for nothing in particular. In the 1960s they were fashionably styled and popular; in the 1980s actually desirable and aspirational; then, in the 1990s, it all drifted away. Maybe the naff Calibra was to blame. Maybe it was Gordon Brown, who insisted on being driven in an official one. Nowadays Vauxhalls are better than ever, but seemingly that just isn't good enough for the middle-classes.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions