The Vauxhall Insignia estate is now available as a four-wheel-drive diesel for the first time.
The new Insignia Estate 4x4 will go on sale in September, combining the companys adaptive 4x4 system (previously available with only 2.0- and 2.8-litre petrol units) with the 2.0 CDTi 160 engine.
As well as automatically distributing power between the front and rear axles to maximise traction, the 4x4 system also comes with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. This controls the distribution of torque between the rear wheels, transferring it to the wheel that has the most grip and allowing the car to keep moving even when just one wheel has traction.
For safety reasons, the system is able to recognise potential danger quickly and can cut the power to a wheel even before it starts to spin. At the same time, when four-wheel drive is not needed on a motorway, for instance the car reverts to two-wheel drive to improve fuel economy.
In the new model, four-wheel drive also comes with the companys FlexRide electronic suspension system. This gives the driver the choice of three modes: standard, Sport or comfort-oriented Tour.
In addition, if buyers order a 4x4 estate with a towbar, the standard stability control system comes with a Trailer Stability Assist programme.
With the standard six-speed manual gearbox:
• CO2 159g/gm
• MPG 47.1 (average)
• 0-60mph 9.8 seconds
• The CO2 output and economy is identical to the standard car.
Choose the optional six-speed automatic gearbox, though, and fuel economy drops to 41.7mpg, while CO2 emissions rise to 179g/km.
Exact prices will be announced nearer the on-sale date in September, but we expect the new 4x4 models to cost about 1500 more than the equivalent two-wheel-drive car.