Tow car test: Vauxhall Insignia
Model tested Country Tourer 2.0 170PS Turbo D 4x4 Blueinjection Price £27,815 Kerbweight 1716kg
The Country Tourer 4x4 performs well and offers excellent value for money
Although a high kerbweight is no guarantee of towing ability, it certainly doesn’t hurt. With a kerbweight of 1716kg, our Country Tourer 4x4 has a very useful 80kg or so of extra heft compared with the regular 2WD Sports Tourer with the same engine and gearbox. We matched the Vauxhall to a Swift Expression 635 with a MIRO of 1485kg, a little over an 86% match for the Insignia. The engine can handle a tourer of this weight, so long as you don’t let the revs drop much below 1500rpm. From this point onwards, the engine pulls strongly. It accelerates decisively on sliproads and holds speed well on motorway gradients. Turn off onto hilly country roads and you’ll have to work the gearbox a little more to maintain momentum, although we rarely needed to drop below fourth gear. The strength of the engine is noticeable when making a hill start, too, although quite a few revs are needed to pull away cleanly on a 1-in-10 slope. That’s more because of the gearing than any shortage of muscle on the part of the engine. There was no wheelspin pulling away during the hillstart test or when accelerating from standstill at a junction. Once up to speed, the car is reasonably stable in still air, but it can be disturbed by gusts of wind or when overtaking highsided vehicles. To what extent crosswinds upset the Vauxhall partly depends on the mode the Flexride suspension is in. In ‘Tour’, the suspension is soft, wallowy and poorly controlled. We’d avoid ‘Tour’ while towing. ‘Sport’ keeps the car on a more even keel, at the expense of a firmer edge to the ride, but it’s far from harsh. We’d leave the suspension in ‘Normal’ while towing. Arrive at your campsite and manoeuvres should be fine. We reversed onto a pitch with no complaint from the clutch, and the same was true when we reversed up a grassy slope. It’s a shame that the Country Tourer doesn’t have a reversing camera. A camera is available for £350, but it is a little surprising it’s not standard. Once you’ve lined up with the towball, hitching up is easy. There’s plenty of clearance around the ball and the electrics are mounted in the side of the neck of the towbar. That means the socket is well clear of the bumper and easy to connect to the plug. Overall, the Country Tourer makes a good tow car, with strong performance and the assurance of four-wheel drive. It’s a shame it moves around a bit on breezy days. We’re not talking about anything dramatic, but less movement would make long journeys more relaxed.
The Insignia Country Tourer is a good all-round tow car, and very keenly priced compared to rivals