What's all this then?
It's the new Vauxhall Meriva.
Really? It says Crossland X on the back of it...
Yes, well you see, Vauxhall is trying to move away from its image as a maker of MPVs and into one that makes SUVs.
Isn't there already a Vauxhall SUV about this size? The Mokka X?
Yes, that's true, but Vauxhall sees them as complementary. The idea is that the Mokka X, with optional all-wheel drive and more ride height, is the rugged off-roader while the Crossland X is for townies and families.
Shane O' Donoghue - 18 Jan 2017
You can see the difference in the rear seats. The Mokka X is quite small in the back, but the Crossland gets a roomy rear bench that slides back and forth by 150mm (which expands the boot from 410 litres to 520 litres) and which split-folds 60:40. The whole car is about the same size as a Mokka, 16cm shorter than an Astra, with a front seat that sits 10cm higher up.
Up front, mum and dad (or mum and mum, or dad and dad - let's be inclusive here) sit on comfy seats approved of by the AGR, the German bad back association. There's also a high-tech dash with an optional eight-inch touchscreen (which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), Vauxhall's OnStar concierge service and a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices.
Vauxhall's also making sure that the Crossland X is safe for families, so you can have a 180-degree panoramic rear-view camera, advanced park assist, forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition and side blind-spot alert, among others. There are more high-tech options in the shape of active LED lights, an automatic parking assistant, a heads-up display and keyless ignition.
Vauxhall hasn't told us what engines it will use just yet, but we'd bet on them being the 1.0-litre and 1.4 turbocharged petrol units and the 1.6 diesel, all borrowed from the Astra.
Style-wise? Well, we'll let you make up your own minds, but to us it looks as if an Adam has been in a nasty collision with a Mokka X. No accounting for taste, of course...
"Crossland X is as multi-talented as it is stylish," said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall's Chairman and Managing Director. "It will appeal to buyers with families who demand agility and convenience in urban driving, but with enough comfort and performance to cover long distances at the drop of a hat. Our customers' expectations are changing, so the timing is perfect for an additional model in the Vauxhall range, which caters for a new breed of buyer."
The Crossland X is part of a busy year ahead for Vauxhall. It will be shown alongside the new Insignia Grand Sport at the Geneva Motor Show and go on sale in the summer. There's a larger, Qashqai-rivalling Grandland X to come this year as well.