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Signs are good for this Country Tourer 

THERE’S an abundance of SUVs on our roads with car manufacturers vying for sales in this ever-growing market.

I’ve been driving my fair share of these vehicles recently so it was nice to get behind the wheel of what is a real alternative to them.

And I enjoyed the few days I was sampling Vauxhall’s Insignia Country Tourer for the first time.

This is a toughed-up estate model that looks much more attractive than your average SUV and has the load-carrying capacity to match or better them.

There are all-wheel drive versions that will allow you to venture off the tarmac but I was sampling a front-wheel drive model.

This Country Tourer has a sporty yet rugged look.

Exterior features include wheel arch and side sill extensions, front and rear skid plates, roof rails and 18-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels.

It’s a big car and there’s no shortage of space inside either.

Up front, driver and passenger have lots of leg, head and elbow room and it’s the same in the rear for three passengers.

The test model was a 2.0 Turbo D 170ps Blue Injection and there was a real premium feel to the interior.

A £1,155 leather trim option added another touch of luxury to this Insignia.

My drive came at the start of the hot sunshine we’ve enjoyed in Scotland so the heated outer rear seats and heated steering wheel were not called upon on this occasion.

An eight-inch touchscreen displays a full-integrated European sat nav Navi 900 IntelliLink system – and a whole lot more.

There’s Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, as well as Vauxhall OnStar.

This is your personal in-car assistant that provides instant crash response, roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics and more.

You won’t be disappointed with the sound system either as it comes through seven speakers – five front and two rear.

If you’re looking at the SUV or estate model market the load carrying will be a vital factor.

There’s stacks of room for luggage in the Country Tourer – 560 litres increasing to a massive 1,665 litres with rear seats folded.

And standard roof rails allow you to carry roof loads of up to 100kg.

A handy £380 option on the test car was the power tailgate with a sensor that allowed you to open or close it with a kicking motion under the bumper.

Performance will also play a huge part on your decision and the Insignia doesn’t disappoint.

The 2-litre 170ps Turbo diesel engine comes to life when the start button is pressed and can bolt out of the blocks if required.

This big car races from zero to 60mph in just 8.8 seconds and has lots of mid-range acceleration.

The power is delivered through a super all-new eight-speed automatic transmission.

This moves smoothly up and down the gears and brings instant response when you need quick-fire speed boost.

With a top speed of 135mph, the Country Tourer is merely in trotting mode when it cruises along at legal maximum 70mph speeds.

It would be the ideal car for long journeys with little engine, road or wind noises coming into the cabin.

This Insignia also displayed fine handling abilities on some minor roads with good grip when cornering at speed.

Ride comfort was also excellent, even going over some potholed roads.

It’s not the hardest car to park either with manoeuvres assisted by front and rear parking sensors.

Fuel economy figures are also impressive – 47.1mpg combined, 37.2mpg urban and 56.5mpg extra urban.

Vauxhall’s Insignia Country Tourer is a great all-round performer and is a serious contender to more higher-priced estates and SUVs.

The test model’s on-the-road price is £27,865 without the options.