Tow car test: Vaux­hall In­signia

Model tested Coun­try Tourer 2.0 170PS Turbo D 4x4 Bluein­jec­tion Price £27,815 Kerb­weight 1716kg

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

The Coun­try Tourer 4x4 per­forms well and of­fers ex­cel­lent value for money

Tow­ing abil­ity

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

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