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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
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

    English Teacher

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Science Teacher

    £6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

    Supply teachers needed in Wigan!

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Due to the...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments