JOE goes to… Croatia to check out the all-new Opel Insignia Country Tourer
Recently, JOE’s resident petrol head, Oisin Collins, was invited to Split in Croatia along with a few other motors writers to test-drive the all-new Opel Insignia Country Tourer.
Our trip to Croatia started off with an overnight stay in the Sheraton Airport hotel in Frankfurt, due to the fact that there are no direct flights from Dublin to Split, which is a real shame seeing as Split is a truly amazing city.
When we eventually landed in the coastal city of Split, we were led up to the airport’s small, but quaint, meeting room for a brief chat about the Opel Insignia Country Tourer.
One of the first things we were told was that the Insignia Country Tourer is “a car for the man that doesn’t shave, as it is rugged, good looking and up for any adventure”. That was all good news for me seeing as I haven’t had a proper clean shave in a few years (three and counting) and I’m up for all sorts of adventures.
Our day driving the 2.0 CDTi automatic Insignia Country Tourer began at the Le Meridien Hotel, once known as the Lav (and still is to the locals), which features 381 rooms, eight tennis courts and a stunning view of Brac Island, not to mention the hotel’s own marina (pictured below). Sadly, you won’t find any cheap rings hidden in this Brac, or maybe you will; I didn’t bother looking to be honest…
From here we made our way to the first coffee stop in Primosten, but unfortunately we didn’t get to take in the sights and sounds while we were there, as we had to run from the car to the café thanks to the pouring rain. At least we had something to remind us of home...
The drive from Split to Primosten took us north on a 62km journey along the stunning Croatian coast and it really gave us a chance to test out the Insignia Country Tourer. Being an ‘off-road estate’, the Country Tourer is a fairly big bus, but it certainly doesn’t feel clunky when you’re behind the wheel. The inclusion of various driver assists, such as camera and radar based warning systems along with the adaptive cruise control, also help to make the driving experience that bit more enjoyable as you know exactly what’s going on around the car at all times.
The interior is stylish and refined and the infotainment system is extremely easy to use. The layout of the various buttons is nice and clean and Opel’s new IntelliLink system is a great bit of tech. Featuring an 8-inch touch screen and handwriting recognition software, you may find yourself sitting idly for awhile at the start of every journey as you play around with the IntelliLink system – the other journalists and I certainly did.
Opel have also gotten rid of the push buttons for the temperature controls in exchange for nifty little touch pads, which, we’ll admit, is a nice touch. As for space, there are buckets of room for everyone in the car and a comfortable seating position for the driver doesn’t mean the rear seat passenger is going to suffer. We had the pleasure of driving the automatic version, which comes in at €40,995 (€37,995 for manual) and it really was an extremely comfortable and easy-going ride along the motorway and through the small towns.
After roughly an hour’s drive, and after our mad dash to the aforementioned café, we made our way to an off-road section located beside some vineyards that had been mapped out by the lads at Opel. While it only took five minutes to drive around, it gave us a feel for what the Insignia Country Tourer is capable of off-road… and this really was ‘off-road’.
Think of the worst Irish back road you can imagine and swap out the half-beaten tarmac or messy gravel with fine clay and the worst rain that Croatia had seen all year. That’s what we, and the Insignia Country Tourer, had to deal with. The rough terrain wasn’t a bother to the car and even though the ground was wet and unsteady, the Insignia Country Tourer stuck to the ‘road’ (pictured below, albeit on a much nicer day) like glue. It also looked great with a bit of mud splashed along the side…
Following our little off-road excursion, we drove back to where we started towards Split Riva West. Thankfully, the rain eased up on the way back and we were able to enjoy the ride, instead of worrying where the centre lines were.
Once we dropped off the cars and enjoyed a lovely lunch in a quaint café hidden among the narrow winding streets between the 16th century buildings of Split Riva West, it was off to the airport and back to reality, but not before another stop-off in Frankfurt…
All in all the trip was truly amazing and I’ll definitely be heading back to Split for a good proper look around in the future. As for the Insignia Country Tourer, it definitely left a lasting impression. If you’re looking for a car that can accommodate the whole family, handle well off road and looks the part, then look no further...
Car tested: Opel Insignia Country Tourer 2.0L CDTi (auto) 163hp
Price as tested - €40,995 (Prices starting from €26,795)
0-100km/h: 10.9 secs.
Max Speed: 205km/h
Consumption: 5.6L per 100km
For more about the Insignia Country Tourer check out Opel.ie.