Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?
The new Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer is a significant departure from its predecessor and underpinned by new vehicle architecture.It goes on sale with the 172bhp version of Vauxhall’s 2.0-litre Turbo D engine and a choice of either a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. In December, the range will be expanded to include a new 213bhp, bi-turbo diesel.The car’s all-wheel-drive system is based on the same torque-vectoring GKN Twinster technology which debuted on the Range Rover Evoque and is used on the Ford Focus RS and the regular Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport. The system isn’t identical in each case, but is configured by the manufacturers for each individual model.Instead of a conventional geared differential, the Country Tourer’s rear axle contains two electronically controlled, multi-plate clutches, which provide the ability to direct torque more to one side than the other. The system interacts with the car’s chassis control systems and can send more torque to the outside rear wheel when cornering for sharper turn-in and steering response.The Country Tourer rides 25mm higher than the regular Insignia Sports Tourer estate, allowing it to tackle slightly more rugged terrain. Extra cladding on its wheel arches and the fitment of front and rear skidplates help to protect against bumps and scrapes.It’s also larger than the old model, with a 92mm-longer wheelbase. Boot space is up by 135 litres to 1665 litres, the rear seats split-fold 40/20/40, and the roof rails have a carrying capacity of 100kg – all of which makes for a pretty capable workhorse.The Country Tourer’s Flexride chassis includes adaptive damping and steering and can be set to Standard, Sport or Tour mode. These also affect the shift-points on the automatic gearbox.Interior equipment includes Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge feature, which includes two new features: Personal Assistant, which helps subscribers make hotel bookings, and a service to locate parking spaces. …read more