First Drive: Vauxhall Grandland X
Is it better late than never for Vauxhall’s biggest SUV challenger, asks Julian Kirk.
SECTOR Crossover PRICE £22,310-£29,535 FUEL 55.4-70.6mpg CO2 104-127g/km
There’s arriving fashionably late to a party, then there’s arriving when the best bit is over and everyone has cleared off to another do… The fact that the Nissan Qashqai has recently celebrated 10 years on sale would suggest that Vauxhall really has missed the crossover boat.
Luckily for Vauxhall, the crossover craze shows little signs of abating – in fact the European market for SUVs/crossovers is predicted to continue growing. From its current level of around a quarter of all sales, SUVs are expected to account for a third of registrations across Europe by 2022 – witness the flood of new models hitting the market such as the Kia Stonic, Seat Arona, Skoda Karoq, Volkswagen T-Roc, Hyundai Kona, Citroen C3 Aircross…
Again, luckily for Vauxhall, it now has an offering to compete in the sector thanks to its tie-up with PSA (the Grandland X is essentially a rebodied Peugeot 3008). So, after years of straitened times under the ownership of GM, the ‘new’ Vauxhall can now fully enjoy the SUV party with its new range-topper joining the smaller Mokka X and Crossland X.
The transformation from 3008 to Grandland X, at its most obvious, means new clothes outside and a new interior, both of which tick the right boxes. Looks-wise, the Grandland X’s flared arches and body cladding hint at some semblance of off-road ability (even though it is front-wheel drive only – IntelliGrip traction control is offered as an option), while inside are robust, if somewhat sombre, materials which suggest they can be wiped clean after a hectic day of lifestyle activities. The overall effect works – it appears chunky and robust, even if the interior looks and feels like a step backwards from the inviting ‘cockpit’ feel of the Peugeot.
Under the skin the two cars are identical, meaning a choice of the excellent three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol unit or a 1.6-litre turbodiesel that delivers fleet-friendly CO2 emissions of as little as 104g/km. While this car is primarily aimed at the retail market (Vauxhall suggests it will be its second biggest retail seller after the Corsa), there will obviously be an attempt to market the car to user-choosers.
To this end, the fleet-focused Tech Line trim level is actually cheaper to buy than the entry-level SE version, and comes with more equipment (navigation, privacy glass, parking sensors, advanced safety systems, such as driver drowsiness detector and larger alloys). This has been achieved by cutting back the marketing spend on Tech Line models, creating more leeway on pricing.
Tech Line seems to be the sweet spot in the range – the ride quality on 18-inch alloys is far more comfortable than the frankly awful ride on 19s, while the price tag falls into the reasonable class (higher-spec versions are closing in on £30,000).
Overall, it makes a useful addition to Vauxhall’s line-up and gives the fleet team something fresh to offer user-choosers. However, in the wider market it brings nothing new to the party.
What we think
A welcome addition to Vauxhall’s fleet offer, but the Grandland X faces a sector full of established rivals and offers little in terms of a USP to mark out its own space.