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.
Life & Style blogs
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
From Topshop to Burberry, London Fashion Week spring/summer 2015: Distraction could not disguise a distinct lack of focus
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No new blood and no fresh ideas at Milan Fashion Week: How do you solve a problem like Milano?
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Due to the...