Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

With a pair of torquey diesel engine choices available, Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer performance is more than adequate for a car of this type.

Two versions of the same basic 2.0-litre engine are offered with either one or two turbochargers. There are no current plans to introduce one of the Insignia’s petrol engines into the line-up.

Producing 161bhp, the single turbo version delivers 350Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, giving strong low speed acceleration. Initially all Country Tourers have four-wheel drive, but during early 2014 this engine will also be available on a front-wheel drive version.

Fitted with a choice of six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes, this engine is expected to account for 90 percent of Country Tourer sales, with more than two thirds of those opting for the manual.

Accelerating to 62mph in 10.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 127mph the manual outperforms the automatic’s figures of 11.4 seconds and 124mph, respectively.

As well as being faster, the manual is also the more efficient, with a claimed 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 147g/km, besting the automatic’s 44.1mpg and 169g/km.

Power delivery is smooth but not scintillating, with that low down torque delivery ensuring safe and brisk acceleration away from junctions and when overtaking.

Choose the 192bhp BiTurbo motor increases torque output to a strong 400Nm, still at a low 1,750rpm.

Solely available with the six-speed automatic transmission, the BiTurbo can achieve 130mph, dashing to 62mph in 9.9 seconds.

Despite the extra power, efficiency doesn’t suffer too badly, Vauxhall citing figures of 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 174g/km.

Only a short time behind the wheel is required to appreciate that Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer handling has benefitted from improvements made elsewhere in the range, including a modified rear suspension setup to improve ride comfort and road holding.

It’s not been transformed into an out-and-out driving enthusiasts’ car, the steering in particular lacking the feel that some key rivals benefit from, but it is a comfortable car in which to cover long distances.

All Country Tourers are equipped with Vauxhall’s ‘FlexRide’ system which alters suspension stiffness and throttle response among other parameters. In ‘Normal’ mode it’s biased towards comfortable, efficient driving that stiffens more gradually as speed increases.

Press the ‘Sport’ button and things become livelier, with much firmer, flatter cornering suspension and a more aggressive response from the engine when accelerating.

‘Tour’ best suits this Insignia though. It softens the ride so it’s at its most compliant yet body control and roll into corners is still kept within sensible parameters – it doesn’t feel like it wallows through bends.

That it manages this in spite of the 20mm increase in ride height over the standard Insignia Sports Tourer is impressive.

The Country Tourer’s electronic 4x4 system delivers the spread of torque around the car depending on each wheel’s traction levels and other parameters such as steering wheel position and acceleration.

In Normal and Tour modes, 95 percent of the torque is sent to the front wheels (between 60 and 70 percent in Sport mode), but when conditions dictate, 95 percent can also be sent to the rear wheels. An electronic limited slip differential (eLSD) on the rear axle will then direct power to whichever side has the best chance of propelling the Insignia, until the situation reverts back to normal.