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Driven: 2023 Vauxhall Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.

Driven: 2023 Vauxhall Grandland GSe
Does the powerful plug-in hybrid version of Vauxhall’s Grandland family SUV make any sense to customers?


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It seems Vauxhall is set on using plug-in hybrids for performance, as much as economy, having announced its GSe range of plug-in performance vehicles. For the time being, those products are limited to the Astra and Astra Sports Tourer, and this: the Grandland. But does a 300hp hybrid version of this family SUV really make sense?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Vauxhall Grandland GSe
Price: From £45,850
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol and electric motor
Battery: 14.2kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 300hp
Torque: 520Nm
Emissions: 27g/km
Economy: 235.4mpg
0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
Top speed: 146mph
Boot space: 390 litres


The new Grandland is undoubtedly a more attractive thing than its predecessor, the Grandland X, but that wasn’t difficult. After all, it was arguably the blandest car currently on the market. But with its black ‘visor’ nose and sharper lines, this version is a bit more like it. And the GSe model has made an attempt to up the ante further. It has new bumpers, new wheels and some GSe badges, all designed to pep it up a bit. And you can even have a two-tone paint finish if you really want. The result is something that appears moderately more aggressive than the standard car, but only moderately – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing for those who want their fast SUV to be subtle.


Vauxhall interiors aren’t known for their craftsmanship and class, but the Grandland does at least offer a bit of technology. There’s a big central screen that borrows from knowledge garnered elsewhere in Vauxhall owner Stellantis’ empire to provide a competent but fairly unremarkable touchscreen experience, but the digital instrument cluster is a bit more like it. Clear, easy to read and lightly configurable, it won’t set the world alight, but nor will it confound or irritate in any way.

As is traditional with Vauxhall products, though, some of the switchgear and plastics still feel a bit cheap. The company has tried to liven things up a bit with some sporty seats and pedals, but there’s something dark and dull about other aspects of the cabin that lowers the tone slightly. That said, most of the things you touch regularly – the steering wheel buttons and the gear lever, for example – are pretty well made.


The Grandland is not the most spacious SUV on the market, but it's big enough to seat four adults in comfort. Rear legroom isn't exactly plentiful, but it's adequate, and headroom is even better. But without a panoramic roof, the Grandland doesn't feel especially roomy, and other SUVs provide more capacity. Like other hybrid versions of the Grandland, however, the GSe has a more cramped boot than the standard car, which has more than 500 litres of luggage space. Opt for the hybrid, though, and that falls to 390 litres, which is barely more than you'll get from a standard Volkswagen Golf.


Under the bonnet, the Grandland GSe has much the same hybrid system as the Astra GSe, with a 1.6-litre petrol engine helped out by an electric motor. Unlike the Astra GSe, though, the Grandland GSe gets 299hp, which is split between all four wheels. Performance is still brisk, rather than rapid, but a Golf GTI-rivalling 0-62mph time of around six seconds isn't bad for a big(-ish) Vauxhall.

And on the official economy test, at least, it's relatively economical. With the 14.2kWh battery offering an all-electric range of 40 miles, although 30 is probably more realistic from day to day, it's capable of ambling around town almost exclusively on electric power, and if you charge it regularly it could prove very cheap to run. The official 235mpg efficiency is probably out of reach for the vast majority of customers, though.

Ride & Handling

When Vauxhall announced a sportier version of the Grandland, we were hoping for a bit more joie de vivre in the handling department, but the finished product is something of a disappointment. Vauxhall has indeed worked on the suspension, but the result is decidedly firm and barely more exciting in the corners. The steering still feels vague and though traction is good, the Grandland GSe still doesn't have the balance, the poise or the delicacy to match its straight-line speed. It isn't even especially refined, either, with the hybrid system feeling coarse and the power delivery jarring with the eight-speed automatic gearbox. At least with all-wheel-drive and a bit of ground clearance, the Grandland GSe should have a modicum of off-road capability, which will appeal to some buyers.


Vauxhall has a bit of a reputation for hugely competitive pricing, but that seems to have flown out of the window with the Grandland GSe. You can have a basic Grandland for less than £30,000, and that isn’t bad value for something so spacious, but the GSe version comes in at £45,850 – around £5,000 more than the cheapest plug-in hybrid Grandland. The advantage of the GSe, though, is the level of standard equipment, which includes 19-inch alloy wheels and a 360-degree manoeuvring camera, as well as the GSe styling inside and out.


It’s difficult to see why anyone would choose the Grandland GSe ahead of anything else on the market. Perhaps it might tempt the odd company car driver, but it isn’t especially sporty, the cabin quality is average at best, and it costs a fortune. As a result, it isn’t even the most appealing plug-in hybrid version of the Grandland, so we don’t expect to see too many on the roads of the UK.

James Fossdyke - 21 Aug 2023    - Vauxhall road tests
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Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.

Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.Vauxhall/Opel Grandland GSe. Image by Opel.


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