First report: we’ve grabbed the keys to Vauxhall’s much-needed new crossover to see how it copes with family lifeVerdict4The Grandland X isn’t the kind of crossover to set your pulse racing, but it definitely gets the basics right. It’s already proving to be a comfortable and practical form of family transport.
Does Vauxhall’s latest and largest SUV really have X-appeal? That’s the big question I’ll be trying to answer over the coming months at the wheel of a Grandland X.
It’s safe to say that Vauxhall has been slow to embrace the SUV phenomenon. The Antara lumbered on for several years past its sell-by date, and the big-selling Mokka X arguably majors on value more than it does mechanical appeal. Yet Vauxhall set out its stall a few years ago by revealing all its SUVs would be suffixed by an X, hence the name of my latest long termer.
• Vauxhall Grandland X Ultimate 2018 review
The Grandland X shares its platform and engines with the Peugeot 3008; it’s a good start, as that model has picked up a string of Auto Express and Carbuyer awards. Yet with a few exceptions, everything you can see and touch is all Vauxhall.
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From the outside, the Grandland X is handsome, yet inoffensively designed. For me, the design highlights are the shark fin-shaped C-pillars and the aggressive front end. Those 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, standard on Sport Nav models, look neat, too.
The interior is smartly styled, if predictably Vauxhall. Storage space is good, and rear legroom is far better than it appears at first glance. The lack of a transmission tunnel creates impressive space in the back, but whether it’s enough for three adults is yet to be discovered. The boot is large – at 514 litres it’s fractionally larger than the 3008’s.
There’s no shortage of kit, either, which is something we discovered when we collected the Grandland X from GO Vauxhall Croydon’s new showroom on its official opening day.
GO Vauxhall’s Ella Harvey showed me around our new Topaz Blue Grandland X. This is a £565 paint option that to my eyes is the pick of the colour palette. On the drive home, I was able to get acquainted with the Sport Nav trim, which is the third of five and is very well appointed. Standard kit includes a speed limiter, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, Vauxhall’s slick Navi 5.0 IntelliLink infotainment system and OnStar concierge service.
The Grandland X is well equipped in Sport Nav trim, but there’s still plenty to be found on the options list, as our £1,655 of extras confirms.
One option that’s well worth investigating are the ergonomic ‘sports style’ front seats. They’ve been certified by Germany’s Campaign for Healthier Backs, and although I’m yet to put that accolade to the test on a long journey, I’m initially very happy. The seat fabric has a diamond pattern called Harlekin, but time will tell how well the beige upholstery stands up to family life. The inclusion of Isofix mounting points in the front passenger seat is a helpful addition, although you still need to manually deactivate the airbag.
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The silver-effect roof rails are well priced at £150, and the £160 wireless phone charger should future-proof the car, when the time comes to upgrade my ageing mobile phone. Finally, the cryptically named £355 Winter Pack One will come into its own later in the year, with its heated front seats and steering wheel.
The Grandland X’s engine line-up comprises a pair of diesels in 1.5- and 2.0-litre capacities, plus a 1.2 three-cylinder turbo petrol. And it’s this triple that powers our car. It’s early days, but the engine seems eager and nippy enough around town, although with maximum torque arriving low down at a diesel-like 1,750rpm, there’s little reward in revving it out. Even so, it’s been averaging 38.9mpg so far, but managed more than 45mpg on a long motorway run with cruise control set.
It’s at moderate speeds where the Grandland X feels happiest. The suspension is fairly soft, and the steering is light, meaning the emphasis is firmly on comfort rather than speed.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.
- Model: Vauxhall Grandland X 1.2 Turbo Sport Nav
- On fleet since: June 2018
- Price new: £25,360
- Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol, 128bhp
- CO2/tax: 121g/km/£140
- Options: Wireless charger (£160), Ergonomic sports style front seats with (£425), Winter Pack One (£355), Silver-effect roof rails (£150), metallic paint (£565)
- Insurance*: Group: 12, Quote: £501
- Mileage/economy: 4,645/38.9mpg
- Any problems?: None so far
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