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Driven: Vauxhall Grandland X. Image by Vauxhall UK.

Driven: Vauxhall Grandland X
By-the-numbers large crossover-SUV from Vauxhall is fine, but there are much better alternatives.

   



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Vauxhall Grandland X Sport Nav 1.5 Turbo D

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Good points: handsome looks, spacious cabin, decent drivetrain, comfortable and refined to drive

Not so good: not very exciting or adventurous in any department, plenty of rivals do things better, where has all of the Peugeot 3008's pizzazz got to?!

Key Facts

Model tested: Vauxhall Grandland X Sport Nav 1.5 Turbo D Start/Stop BlueInjection
Price: Grandland X range from 23,415; Sport Nav Turbo D from 27,690, car as tested 29,620
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door crossover-SUV
CO2 emissions: 110g/km* (VED Band 101-110: 170 in year one, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 55.4mpg**
Top speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
Power: 130hp at 3,750rpm
Torque: 300Nm at 1,750-2,000rpm
Boot space: 514-1,652 litres

* = NEDC-correlated from WLTP testing.
** = WLTP combined high figure.

Our view:

It's hard to know what to say here, without sounding like we have a massive downer on Vauxhall. Which we really don't; some of the brand's last products cooked up during the GM era showed signs of real promise. And on the face of it, the Grandland X - the biggest crossover or SUV the beleaguered company makes right now - is perfectly well-executed, as these things go. It looks OK, being neatly styled enough to not come across as hulking nor gargantuan, and yet having just enough chunkiness to let you know you're looking at a larger crossover. It's not massively distinctive to behold, though, is it? The interior is fine, too: spacious, well-equipped, ergonomically pretty good and showing just a little more visual flair than some of the Griffin's most unremittingly black cabins of only a few years back, but it remains rather staid and unadventurous in a market segment now rife with digital instrument clusters, coloured dashpads and simply clever interior solutions.

Then there's the drivetrain of this car. Underneath, the Grandland X is basically the utterly superb Peugeot 3008 and so the 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine is sourced from PSA. It's compliant with the strictest emissions regs due to come into force in 2020, so that's good, and it's quieter than Vauxhall's old 'Whisper' 1.6-litre diesel, but it's not the most refined unit in this class and it's not going to win any awards for excitement. Granted, Vauxhall is hardly alone on this score, as family-car, economy-oriented turbodiesels are rarely scintillating, but performance from the 130hp/300Nm motor is adequate, no more, and largely forgettable as well.

Same goes for the overall refinement. The six-speed manual is a little clunky of throw and is controlled by - and we're sorry for this in advance - one of Vauxhall's typically oversized knobs, while the ride is on the plush side of comfortable, without being truly stand-out. The body control's OK and the handling tidy enough, but steering feel is totally lacking so you'll get no joy out of hustling the Vauxhall through some challenging corners. The refinement is very good, with comfortable, stable manners on a motorway - a best return during our week of 48.6mpg being highly creditable (overall, 42.1mpg at 31mph across nearly 300 mixed miles of driving) - and there's generally impressive noise suppression to feast upon too, especially in terms of the 1.5-litre diesel - shame, then, that tyre roar and wind noise are a trifle too elevated for our liking.

The Vauxhall is priced fairly, this generously equipped Sport Nav variant coming in the right side of 30,000 and having enough toys, plus a solid infotainment system, to make it feel good value for money. So you're reading this now and thinking 'I'm not reading any fatal flaws with the Grandland X here'... but then you ought to also be saying to yourself 'however, I've also not read anything really groundbreaking or what could potentially classify as a USP for the Vauxhall'. And that's our point. The Grandland X is a steady seven-out-of-ten car in every discipline; capable and talented, up to a point, but in no way remarkable. And there are many rivals in this class which manage to do something - be that eye-catching exterior styling, a bit of chassis flair or top-notch interior quality - that makes them easier to recommend to potential buyers. Not least the very 3008 on which the Grandland X, which is full of joyous little touches and a load of visual pizzazz; it's like someone at Luton decided to suck all of the fun and life out of the 3008, with the result being the stolid but dull Grandland X.

In summary, the Vauxhall Grandland X is there. It's an option. It's something you can go for, safe in the knowledge that it's an accomplished mid-sized crossover/SUV from a mainstream brand. But should you end up with one, while you won't have necessarily made an outright bad choice, you could have made several far more preferable ones instead.

Alternatives:

Honda CR-V: smoother drivetrains and the ability to have seven seats means that the Honda, which can also be hybrid-powered, is a better bet than the Vauxhall.

Peugeot 3008: it's the very existence of this thing which allowed Vauxhall to rush the Grandland X out to market - and it's the very existence of this thing which highlights why the Grandland X is so underwhelming.

Skoda Karoq: the Karoq is another rather strait-laced mid-sized crossover but in every department it's that bit nicer than the Vauxhall, especially for its cabin finishing and the quality of its drivetrains.


Matt Robinson - 7 Feb 2019



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2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.

2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Grandland X 1.5d. Image by Vauxhall UK.








 

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