2017 Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer first drive: Versatile family hauler

So, you’re looking for a spacious family car that isn’t all show and no go. Function and practicality are top of the agenda, but you don’t want to follow the crowd into an SUV. That leaves the humble estate car – something of a dying breed.

The new Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer makes a strong case for an increasingly forgotten class.

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer

First impressions

The Country Tourer is based on the Insignia Sports Tourer, but designed with a more rugged agenda. It sits 20mm higher, features plenty of plastic cladding, roof rails, 18-inch alloy wheels and protective skid plates.

There’s only one trim level, so it’s well equipped as standard. An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display comes with satellite navigation and music fans can enjoy a seven-speaker system without spending a penny. Other luxuries such as automatic lights, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry are also standard.

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer

The interior is spacious with plenty of room for the whole family. In particular, outermost rear passengers are treated to vast amounts of legroom, however, the middle occupant has to contend with a large transmission hump in the floor. There’s a suitably big boot offering 560 litres (or 1,665 litres with the rear seats folded flat), although it’s worth noting that the VW Passat Alltrack and Skoda Octavia Scout both bigger boots.

Material quality isn’t bad, with key surfaces receiving the soft-touch treatment. However, there’s still plenty of hard plastics to be found around the place, so the...