Opel Insignia Country Tourer: Taking the Rough with the Smooth

A new addition to the Opel’s mid-size Insignia saloon and estate, the Country Tourer is a raised four-wheel-drive estate version, designed for the sort of modest off-road ability one might require in real world driving.

In current parlance one might call the Country Tourer a crossover, but its’ adaptive four-wheel-drive system might well in fact give it an edge over many aesthetically SUV-flavoured vehicles. With the handling, efficiency and practicality benefits of a car and some SUV ability, the Country Tourer owes more in spirit to the original segment-bending estate-SUV – the 1980 AMC Eagle Station Wagon – than to fashionable contemporary crossovers.

Ahead of its time, the Eagle belatedly inspired a host of similar vehicles, from the 1994 Subaru Legacy Outback, the late 1990s Volvo Cross Country/XC70 and Audi A6 Allroad and now the Opel Insignia Cross Country. With visible protective guard plate under the engine compartment, lower bumper section and black lower cladding and wheel-arch surrounds to emphasize and project a rugged potential and, the Cross Country sits slightly higher for better ground clearance and modestly improved approach, break-over and departure that would be of use over broken, uneven and rough tarmac, dirt-roads and slopes. Well complimenting the Insignia’s face-lifted refresh, the Cross Country’s green launch colour also seems to underline its adventurous off-road flavor.

The Country Tourer’s tight design lines and well-integrated shape is both aerodynamically smooth and emanates a tough and solid presence, as if it is hewn from granite. Complimenting the Country Tourer’s increase ride height, a prominent chrome grille slat and chrome line across the rear fascia emphasize width, while a gently sloping roofline leads to a large powered clamshell tailgate. An L-shape flank crease, large 245/45R19 footwear and a small tailgate spoiler add sporting flavor. Busy but logical inside, the Country Tourer’s cabin feels similarly well-constructed and robustly but luxuriously appointed, from pleasant dash and console textures, thick meaty sports steering wheel and rich but durable-feeling brown leather upholstery.

Driven by a prodigiously powerful turbocharged direct injection 2-litre 4-cylinder engine the Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 SIDI develops 247BHP at 4500rpm and a massively muscular 295lb/ft torque throughout 2500-4500rpm.  With manual gearbox as tested, the Country Tourer can shift its not inconsiderable 1843 heft from standstill to 100km/h in just 7.9-seconds and onto 235km/h. Considering its weight, height and power, the Country Tourer’s 8.1l/100km fuel efficiency and 189g/km CO2 emissions are quite admirably frugal. Smooth, refined and well-insulated, the Country Tourer’s turbocharged engine spools up briskly – after slight turbo-lag from idle – and as a relatively low-revving unit, is at its best at mid-range engine speeds.

In its comfort zone throughout its muscular mid-range, there’s not much point in revving the Country Tourer mercilessly hard, as there’s ample urge and torque on tap lower down the range. Effortlessly flexible through its upper mid-range sweet spot, the Country Tourer’s on-the-move acceleration is versatile, with 80-120km/h delivered in 8.5-seconds. Driven on de-restricted segments of the Autobahn during its Frankfurt global launch, the Country Tourer pushed through to speeds approaching 200km/h with indefatigable ease owing to its generous twisting force. With light clutch and somewhat long but accurate shifter, the Country Tourer’s 6-speed manual gearbox is user-friendly and offers more driver involvement, reward and control than an automatic gearbox.

With typically reassuring and planted high speed ride traditionally associated with larger Opels, the Country Tourer felt stable, smooth, comfortable and at home on Germany’s speed limitless highways. Somewhat more detached than its’ regular Insignia saloon and high performance OPC Sports Tourer sister models, the Counry Tourer felt like a larger, more comfortable and indulgent car. Taking lumps, bumps and imperfections in its stride despite rather low profile tires and huge alloy wheels, the Country Tourer rides comfortably and smoothly, with it suspension taking the edge off rougher road segments and providing buttoned down vertical control when rebounding from sudden undulations. Inside, occupants enjoy excellent levels of cabin refinement.

Taller than other Insignia models the Country Tourer perhaps leans slightly more through corners, but its’ three-mode adaptive dampers do a brilliant job of keeping body lean and weight transfer in check. Turning in tidily and gripping tenaciously through corners owing to its wide tires, long wheelbase and adaptive four-wheel-drive, the Country Tourer’s steering is well-weighted, accurate and tuned for comfort and stability, rather than textured feel and feedback. In addition to effective ventilated disc ABS brakes, the Country Tourer also features electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Available safety systems include traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and blindspot, lane change, rear cross-traffic, forward collision and lane departure warnings.

With its Haldex four-wheel-drive system able to adaptively reallocate up to 100% power front or rear and an electronically-controlled limited-slip rear-differential doing the same on the rear axle, the Country Tourer provides excellent levels of traction on wet tarmac and in off-road environments. Able to keep moving even if only one wheel has traction, the Country Tourer may not be a fully-fledged off-roader but its ability is genuine. A utilitarian workhorse, the Country Tourer features 750kg un-braked towing and 547kg payload capacities. Beyond its wide powered clamshell tailgate, the Country Tourer luggage volume expands from 540- to 1530-litres. Under-floor storage compartments and sliding boot floor are also practical.

Well-appointed and finished the Country Tourer’s cabin comfortably seats large occupants and features supportive, well-adjustable and ergonomic seats with lumbar support and active headrests. Extensively kitted, the Country Tourer features a Bose sound system with up to nine speakers, and USB, Bluetooth and smart phone connectivity. Convenience kit includes parking assistance and front and rear cameras, keyless entry, parking distance assistance, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control and independent remote and timer activated heating. Adaptive dampers alter ride quality for comfort or handling, while safety kit includes front multi-stage airbags, side and curtain airbags front and rear, adaptive lighting with high beam assist, Isofix child seat latches and other features.

Specifications: Opel Insignia Country Tourer 2.0 SIDI (manual)

  • Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, transverse 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 86 x 86mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 6-speed manual
  • Drive-train: four-wheel-drive, electronic limited-slip differential
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 247 (250) [184] @ 4500rpm
  • Specific power: 123.6BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 134BHP/ton
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 295 (400) @ 2500-4500rpm
  • Specific torque: 200.2Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 217Nm/ton
  • 0-100km/h: 7.9-seconds
  • 80-120km/h, fifth gear: 8.5-seconds
  • Top speed: 235km/h
  • Fuel consumption, urban / extra-urban / combined: 10.6- / 6.6- / 8.1-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 189g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 70-litres
  • Length: 4920mm
  • Width: 1858mm
  • Height: 1526mm
  • Wheelbase: 2737mm
  • Track, F/R: 1587 / 1590mm
  • Kerb weight: 1843kg
  • Luggage, min / max: 540 / 1530-litres
  • Payload: 547kg
  • Trailer towing, un-braked: 750kg
  • Steering: Variable-assistance, rack & pinion
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / multi-link, adaptive dampers
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs
  • Tires: 245/45R19