Review and road test of the Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer (2017 - 2020)
By Jonathan Crouch
The second generation Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer, sold between 2017 and 2020, was launched to swell the ranks of mid-sized, rugged-ised all-wheel drive estates. In this MK2 model guise, this car gained a much more up-market demeanour, with greater class, refinement and sophistication. Most significantly, there was the option of a torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system that gave this car impressive on-road cornering prowess, especially in slippery conditions. This'll be a rare find on the used market but for the right kind of buyer, it might be worth seeking out.
Models Covered: (5-door Estate) 2.0 CDTi diesel [170PS, 210PS])
You can probably see at a glance what this is: a medium-sized estate car with a few SUV styling cues. A bit like, say, a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Does the market really need another car of that sort? Well possibly yes, when the end product's as well executed as this one. At launch in 2017, this MK2 model Insignia Country Tourer's four wheel drive system was far more sophisticated than its Passat Alltrack rival (or most comparable mid-sized SUVs) when it came to maximising on-tarmac traction. And, should you ever venture onto something like a light forest track, a 20mm ride height increase over the ordinary Sports Tourer estate model means that this car should be able to cope just as well as most lifestyle SUVs.
The result of all of this was a considerable step up from the first generation version of this model, launched back at the beginning of 2014 - as you'd expect it would be. The Insignia had, after all, become a much more sophisticated product by 2017. It was launched in its more ordinary guises in the Spring of 2017 and was well received by buyers who found the MK2 model to be larger, quieter, better looking and better connected in comparison to its predecessor.
Given the availability of such a stronger starting point: and Vauxhall's need to be able to offer crossover customers something more larger and more luxurious than its Grandland X mid-sized SUV, you can see why the brand tried again with the Country Tourer concept. But this model only sold until the end of 2019 and wasn't replaced.
What You Get
Naturally, you expect a few design cues to distinguish your Country Tourer from a Sport Tourer and Vauxhall delivers them. At the front for example, the bumper is unique and incorporates a lower, silvered skid plate. The differences over the standard model are most evident in profile, where extended dark anthracite wheel arches and side sill extensions play the crossover card and attempt to emphasise this variant's 20mm increase in ride height. There are smart 18-inch wheels and silvered roof rails provide a finishing touch while offering a carrying capacity of 100kg.
But this is an estate car and you're going to want to know just how practical it's going to be for your family needs. The tailgate rises to reveal 560-litres of carriage space. If you want to carry longer items but still need to take rear seat passengers, then the provided 40:20:40 split-rear bench will be a boon, allowing you to easily push through lengthier things like skis. Dropping the rear bench can be done easily using switches on either side of the cargo area side wall, a process that frees up 1,665-litres of fresh air.
Up front, there's an enormous improvement over what was served up by the previous Insignia. Fit and finish is almost a match for the premium brands from this period and in the instrument binnacle, there's a smart and configurable centre colour screen that's 8-inches in size. Anything that can't tell you will almost certainly be found on the centre-dash Intellilink infotainment monitor. This monitor is 8-inches in size, includes navigation and as you'd expect, is compatible with the 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' 'phone connectivity systems, activated via a 'Projection' screen option. More familiar infotainment inclusions run to the usual Bluetooth, DAB stereo and informational features.
Once inside at the rear, you really notice the benefits of this second generation Insignia model's extra 92mm of wheelbase. As you'd expect from a car that's nearly 5-metres in length (so nearly as long as an enormous Audi Q7 SUV), there's plenty of room for one really tall adult to sit behind another.
What to Look For
The Insignia Country Tourer seems to have a reasonable quality record in this MK2 form, but we did come across complaints of cabin rattles in the interior. One owner found that the door locks failed - and he experienced an ECU wiring loom fault that caused his car to go into limp home mode. It also had a diesel particulate filter fault. As is always the case with mainstream brand estate models, you'll want to keep a look out for thrashed company hacks or ex-hire fleet vehicles. Ensure that the car has been serviced on the button and that the mileage on the service record stamp tallies with what the odometer says. Few Country Tourers will have been seriously used off road, but it's worth checking out the underside just in case. It's also worth checking the car for accident damage, as many cars will be de-fleeted early if they've had a prang and have been repaired. Ask the seller explicitly if the car has had accident damage and inspect the usual points for overspray and kinks in the under-bonnet flitch plates. The engines tend to be tough units with no serious problems to report.
(approx based on a 2017 Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 Turbo D excl. VAT) Using the volume 170PS 2.0-litre diesel model as an example, expect to pay around £11-£18 for an oil filter, around £27 for a pollen filter and around £6-£14 for a wiper blade. Front brake discs are around £102 for a set. A tail lamp costs in the £163 bracket. A water pump is in the £82 bracket.
On the Road
The exterior styling of this Country Tourer model may promise a Crossover-class driving experience but behind the wheel, there's very little that's SUV-like about it. Still, not everyone likes a raised driving position: at speed through twisty tarmac corners, this Insignia's lower-slung cockpit certainly feels preferable. And it's in this kind of motoring that this model's sophisticated all-wheel-drive with torque vectoring system will come into its own. When cornering at speed, this ensures that more torque is sent to the outside rear wheel, improving traction and ensuring that there's far more of a feeling of precision when you turn in.
It works in concert with another standard Country Tourer feature, Vauxhall's 'FlexRide' driving modes and adaptive damping system. This not only tweaks steering feel, throttle response and, on auto models, gearshift timings to suit the way you want to drive but also automatically adapts the car's damping to suit road conditions, cornering speed, vehicle movements and an individual's driving style. Engine choice is between the two 2.0-litre diesel units, with most likely to select the 170PS Blue Injection engine that from new could be had with either auto transmission or 4WD - though unfortunately not both. The top 210PS BiTurbo variant could from new be had with both those things though - and it's a satisfying combination. Efficiency isn't a strongpoint though; this particular derivative manages only 39.8mpg n the combined cycle and 188g/km of CO2 (both NEDC figures). As for off road capability, well you shouldn't expect too much of a car in his class but this one could certainly tackle a light forest track that would damage an ordinary Insignia Sports Tourer, thanks to a 20mm ride height increase over that car - to 146mm.
The MK2 Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer proved to be a welcome addition to a market that needed a talented mainstreamer with an attractive asking price. Other brands have shown how a capable estate of this sort can be a thinking person's alternative to a mid-sized SUV and this Insignia delivered that concept with more technology and affordable prices. That makes sense to us. If it adds up for you too, then an escape to the Country could be one of the cleverer decisions you've made in a while.
Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer (2017 - 2020) review by Jonathan Crouch