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Driven: Vauxhall Crossland X. Image by Vauxhall UK.

Driven: Vauxhall Crossland X
Vauxhall’s Crossland X does nothing particularly wrong. But nothing sparklingly right, either…

   



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Vauxhall Crossland X Elite Nav 1.5 Turbo D

3 3 3 3 3

Good points: economical, smooth to drive, quiet 1.5 diesel, decent boot space

Not so good: gawky styling, narrow track makes it wander on a blustery motorway, does nothing with any real vigour, the price with options

Key Facts

Model tested: Vauxhall Crossland X Elite Nav 1.5 Turbo D S/S EcoTec BlueInjection
Price: Crossland X range from £17,715; Elite Nav Turbo D from £21,710, car as tested £24,160
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door crossover
CO2 emissions: 105g/km* (VED Band 101-110: £170 in year one, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 70.6mpg*
Top speed: 111mph
0-62mph: 11.0 seconds
Power: 102hp at 3,500rpm
Torque: 250Nm at 1,750-2,000rpm
Boot space: 410-1,255 litres

* = NEDC-correlated from WLTP testing.

Our view:

Poor Vauxhall. Often the brand people like to kick when it's down, there's no doubt that over the years it has come up with some clunkers - but it has also made many, many good cars as well. And, in the last throes of the GM-ownership years, there were signs that a product-led revival was on the way. The current Insignia, for example, is a car we really like in all of its guises - especially the chunky Country Tourer soft-roader and the surprisingly charming GSi warm performance variant. We think the Astra's ECotY win in 2016 was fully merited (and not all past ECotY winners can claim that. . .), while the Corsa, for all its ubiquity, has never been a bad car.

Like its arch-rivals Ford, though, at the moment Vauxhall's weakest products are the ones which should turn it the serious profits: its crossovers, or SUVs. The Mokka X needs to be very carefully specified to ensure you get something approaching OK, because it can be a disappointing machine with the wrong engine and wheels, and the larger Grandland X - while absolutely fine - nevertheless feels like some sort of Luton-based fun vampire has sucked all the joie de vivre out of a Peugeot 3008. It is proficient and yet it is completely devoid of sparkle.

The Crossland X just pipped the Grandland X to the punch when it came to 2017 launches and, on our first drive of it, we were impressed by the 1.2-litre triple engine but not blown away by anything else. Also, Kyle posited that models with the lesser but likely more popular diesel engines were probably not going to be as exciting to drive.

So here's a high-spec Elite Nav with the PSA-sourced 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine. This Vauxhall crossover is basically a Citroen C3 Aircross underneath but it's yet another case of the PSA source products which begat these latest Vauxhall pseudo-SUVs being far superior to the vehicles wearing Griffin badges. Almost as if PSA is keeping Opel/Vauxhall subdued, for some nefarious reason... but we digress.

We spent a week with the Crossland X and did a lot of miles in it; 626 of them, to be precise, spanning more than 13 hours behind its wheel. And we came away from that seven-day evaluation with absolutely nothing with which we might be able to recommend it to you. Oh, hang on, there was one thing: the Vauxhall returned 53.2mpg overall, with an impressive best of 70.5mpg banged in during a lengthy schlep back up the M3, M25 and M1 to the upper reaches of the Trent Valley. And that figure is just 0.1mpg off what Vauxhall claims for the combined returns, which is excellent.

But there are plenty of rivals which are just as economical as the Crossland X, only a good deal more appealing to live with into the bargain. And there are plenty of rivals which look nicer than the Crossland X, which is - for once - a Vauxhall which is not pleasant to behold. The company normally styles its cars quite nicely (or at least inoffensively), but the Crossland X is a really gawky piece of design. The front overhang is sizeable, yet the rear is almost vertical immediately aft of the rear wheel arch, while it's too tall and too narrow. It looks like a slightly shrunken Mitsubishi ASX, which is hardly an award-winning aesthete, now is it?

Anyway, there are plenty of rivals which have more dazzling and better-equipped cabins than the Crossland X. And there are plenty of rivals which have nicer drivetrain choices; while this 102hp/250Nm 1.5-litre turbodiesel does a decent job of shifting the small, light Crossland X about, and it's smooth enough and quiet enough for most needs, it's not the slickest nor most pleasant operator in the class. There are also plenty of rivals which are a lot more stable on the motorway than the Crossland X - its narrow track, slab sides and high roof made it alarmingly prone to wander around in wintry crosswinds at 70mph, which didn't make for the most relaxing of cruises on three-lane tarmac.

Sure, there will be plenty of buyers for the Vauxhall Crossland X but you kind of feel such customers won't be asking any stern questions of the car nor even reasonably considering any of the rivals. It's not even cheap, our test example being the far side of £24,000 with options, albeit that's for the flagship specification on a range which starts at £17,715. And it's also weirdly confusing at the bottom of Vauxhall's line-up, because this is ostensibly a B-segment crossover and the Grandland X is a C-segment crossover... so where does the huge-selling Mokka X now sit? What's the difference between the Mokka and the Crossland? Which one's best for whom? Who knows?!

Vauxhall is now comfortably under PSA's auspices but these early French-based Griffin products are somewhat lacklustre. They feel as if they've been rushed out to capitalise on the crossover/SUV boom, without anyone checking beforehand if they're right up to snuff to the point that they can genuinely challenge for class honours. Aside from its odd looks and a plain (if admittedly very well-packaged) interior, which is comparatively spacious for the class, the Crossland X does nothing badly wrong. But it does nothing particularly right, either. Vauxhall can, and should, do much better than this.

Alternatives:

Citroen C3 Aircross: so much more interesting to look at, inside and out, and comfier to drive, this has the sort of flair that a B-segment crossover needs - and for which the Crossland X lacks.

Kia Stonic: another rival which is much more appealing to behold than the Vauxhall, plus it has the seven-year warranty thing and loads of standard kit to fall back on. The Stonic is stodgy to drive, though.

SEAT Arona: the class leader shows the Crossland X the way in almost every direction. Sharper looks, cabin finishing and chassis dynamics in another league, and competitively priced, too. Plus sweet VW Group drivetrains, as well.


Matt Robinson - 15 Feb 2019



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2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.

2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.2019 Vauxhall Crossland X 1.5. Image by Vauxhall UK.








 

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