THERE'S a new Vauxhall Insignia on the scene and you simply can't miss it with its rugged, rough and ready, off-road design yet at the same time it remains elegant and packed with premium quality techno treats.
It's called the Insignia Country Tourer and is very much based on the latest Insignia Sports Tourer estate, but this particular version gets all the additional off-road cladding to the lower facia, wheel arches and along the lower body side.
The look is completed with a silver-coloured skid plate, roof rails, tinted glass, dual exhausts and a prominent grille with slim headlights to accentuate the car's width.
With practicality in mind, the vehicle's ground clearance has been increased by 20mm and to make loading easy, the tailgate can be opened without even touching the car. A simple kicking motion under the rear bumper opens the boot and another kick sees it close again.
The latest Country Tourer also has an extra 135 litres of boot space taking its capacity up to 1,665 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats lowered.
When all five seats are occupied the boot limit is still a very impressive 560 litres. And the roof rails are not just for show either as they can carry loads up to 100kg.
Inside the level of technology on offer cannot fail to impress with Wi-Fi hotspots, massaging seats, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, an optional BOSE sound system, excellent sat nav system and a link to the OnStar service that connects to a real person at the end of the phone.
This service can be used for simple requests such as directions that will be downloaded directly to the car's sat nav system, information about motels, restaurants or filling stations.
It can also prove invaluable if the car is stolen, breaks down or is involved in a serious accident when the emergency services will be contacted and your exact position supplied.
The Insignia Country Tourer, which is priced from £25,635, is only available with a diesel engine - a 2.0-litre Turbo 170ps which can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 61.4mpg and carbon emissions of 145g/km.
However, a further diesel engine - a 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo 201PS - will be available from December.
The car is also on offer with the company's all-new eight-speed automatic transmission which is more responsive and smaller than the six-speed gearbox.
There is only one generously-equipped trim level, but customers can select between FWD or 4x4, along with manual or auto gearboxes. And, of course, there is a whole array of options to help personalise the car.
The Country Tourer uses the same all-wheel-drive with torque vectoring system that is seen in the Ford Focus RS. Rather than featuring a traditional rear differential, the Country Tourer has two electrically-controlled multi-plate clutches that enable more individual power to each wheel.
There are three driving modes called Standard, Sport and Tour, which will adjust the car's throttle response, steering and gear shifts on the automatic transmission, giving the driver plenty of control over their driving experience.
Safety features and driver aids are comprehensive too with the likes of LED Matrix lighting, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, advanced park assist and a head-up display.
We tried an automatic version priced at £27,535 - a price-tag that increased to £30,745 with options such as the Matrix LED headlights (£1,010), Driving Assistance Pack (£595) and powered tailgate with sensor (£380) added.
This car could sprint to 60mph from a standing start in 9.3 seconds and redlined at 135mph. Combined economy was 43.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 172g/km.
Despite its larger-than-life dimensions, the Country Tourer was deceptively agile and the road-holding through long sweeping bends was exceptional.
It felt very sporty in its handling with precise, direct steering. There is a little road surface and engine noise when driven with a heavy right boot, but otherwise the car remains refined throughout.
Comfort levels are high and the automatic gearbox was smooth and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap which helped make very light work of overtaking.
We also took a 4x4 Insignia Country Tourer off road and it proved itself to be remarkably capable as it climbed slippery grass banks, weaved its way through muddy woodland and held its grip as it descended steep slopes.
All in all, the latest Insignia Country Tourer is an excellent model for anyone looking for estate-like practically along with stylish design cues, classy technology, fabulous driving dynamics and the option of 4x4 capabilities.
Little wonder then that Vauxhall has the likes of the VW Passat Alltrack in its sights.