Vauxhall's flagship SUV makes Grandland entrance
Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. Motoring editor Andy Russell finds out how it measures up in this competitive sector.
Then there were three – Vauxhall has finished growing its crossover and sport utility line-up with the Grandland X, largest of the trio.
Joining the Crossland X entry model and mid-range Mokka X, the new large SUV’s rivals will include the likes of the market-leading Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage.
Looks and image
Biggest is best, when it comes to styling, and this flagship SUV looks sleeker and more sporty than its smaller stablemates without sacrificing the robust, rugged image that makes this type of vehicle so attractive to a broad range of customers.
Slim lights, a ‘floating’ roof and Vauxhall’s ‘blade’ family styling add to the dynamic design.
Under the bonnet
Like Crossland X, Grandland X is a joint effort with Vauxhall/Opel’s new owner PSA Group so shares turbo engines used in Citroën, DS and Peugeot cars.
The choice is simple – 130PS 1.2-litre petrol or 120PS 1.6-litre diesel with six-speed manual, which has a precise action but can be rushed, or automatic gearboxes.
If you think 1.2-litre is a puny power unit in a big SUV, think again. Unless you do mega mileage, this is the one to go for. The award-winning Puretech petrol engine punches above its weight, picking up crisply from low revs, pulling strongly in the mid range and revving freely for brisk performance with a distinctive three-cylinder thrum.
You won’t get near the claimed economy figures but 41mpg over 500 hard winter miles is acceptable to me.
How it drives
While Crossland X shares its platform with the supermini-inspired Citroen C3 Aircross, Grandland X is based on Peugeot’s 3008 – reigning European Car of the Year and first SUV to win the title.
That’s a great starting point, and the Grandland X is the best-driving Vauxhall SUV.
Ride quality is impressively compliant over bumps and lumps but the soft suspension’s comfort bias means body control suffers through fast corners with some lean. It’s far from roly-poly but several rivals are more rewarding to drive but at the expense of the ride.
It’s not available with all-wheel drive but IntelliGrip, to enhance front-wheel traction, is part of a £200 optional all-road pack which includes snow and mud tyres. A rotary knob between the front seats selectsfive driving modes - normal on-road, snow, mud, sand and stability and traction control disabled up to 31mph.
Space and comfort
The Grandland X comes only with five seats and there’s no clever sliding rear seats to vary load space and legroom.
Headroom is plentiful all round but, while rear legroom is adequate, those up front might have to sacrifice some to accommodate passengers more than six feet tall in the back. There’s no big hump in the floor for a middle passenger to contend with but the back of the centre console protrudes into their space.
The boot isn’t the biggest in this class but its 514 litres is made more practical by its depth, flat sides and a twin-level Flex Floor on all but entry SE model. Levers in the boot drop the 60/40 rear seat backs flat with the boot floor in its higher position.
At the wheel
No problems getting comfortable at the wheel with a full range of seat and steering column adjustment. Simple, clear instruments are easy to take in, as is the high-level touchscreen, and I prefer Vauxhall retaining separate heating and ventilation controls while the Peugeot 3008’s are operated through the infotainment system.
The biggest issue is chunky back pillars, tapering rear side windows and shallow screen hindering visibility but all models get rear parking sensors and front on all but SE.
The Grandland X enters an extremely competitive SUV sector and, while the Peugeot 3008 underpinnings boost its abilities, it makes you wonder why you would buy the Vauxhall.
Vauxhall answers this with a high level of standard equipment and competitive pricing which means you can’t ignore it if you’re in this market.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Vauxhall Grandland X Sport Nav 1.2 Turbo £24,595 (range from £22,310)
Engine: 1,199cc, 130PS, three-cylinder, turbo petrol mated to six-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-60mph 11.1 seconds; top speed 117mph
MPG: Urban 47.1; extra urban 62.8; combined 55.4
CO2 emissions: 117g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 22pc
Insurance group: (out of 50) 15E
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,477mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,098mm; H 1,609mm