THE ink may barely be dry on the agreement that transfers Vauxhall and Opel to PSA Peugeot – Citroen ownership but the fruits of cooperation were already appearing.
Here and on sale is the Vauxhall Crossland X, using the platform used for Peugeot’s 2008, and rushing up the road towards the showrooms is the Grandland X on the platform from the Peugeot 3008.
The Crossland X is not so much an SUV as a family car on steroids. It really replaces the Meriva and sits alongside the recently revised Mokka X.
It’s about the same size as the Mokka but shorter than an Astra hatch. Where it gains is in its height. There’s no feeling of being cramped and, despite being 16cms shorter than the Astra, it has more rear lounging space, a usefully large boot, and headroom sufficient for even the tallest people.
Cars like the Crossland X have become the must-have for many families, prompting every maker to get on the bandwagon in one way or another. And much as everyone says they hate the ‘Chelsea Tractor’ brigade many of the critics are happy to jump on board their lumpy new car just as soon as they can.
There’s a lot to be said about them from the “sensible” point of view.
None of us were really made for lowering ourselves into low-slung cars and, let’s face it, most family models are lower than we find comfortable. Heaving yourself in and out hurts backs, hips, and knees when a car like the Crossland X, with its raised seating position, makes life so much easier. You can just slide in and out of the seats in an easy, natural move.
Likewise installing children into safety seats in the back, or even just installing the seats themselves, is so much easier at waist height. Cars that will see a huge amount of family time spent on the school run are so much better when designed like this.
So no worries about being seen in a downsized Chelsea Tractor when it’s easy to find many reasons why buying one is so right. You can even argue it’s not a 4×4 as there’s no all-wheel-drive option on the Crossland as there is on the Mokka and will be on Grandland.
To be honest, full fat 4×4 is not needed on cars like this but PSA’s own Grip Control could be. It’s almost as good as 4×4, doesn’t have the mechanical complexity that drinks fuel, and costs just a few hundred pounds on the options list.
Bluff-fronted the Crossland might be but its fuel consumption is more than bearable. On test over several hundred miles the 120 PS 1.6 litre Citroen turbodiesel under the bonnet gave a minimum 55mpg, endowing the 45 litre tank with a very good range.
With emissions at just 105 g/km of CO2, the car runs fairly cleanly, boosted by AdBlue, but achieving the combined official figure of 70.6mpg will be almost impossible, just as it is on virtually every car sold in the UK. Maybe PSA will introduce to its Vauxhall website the facility it runs on its original brands where potential owners can put in the exact spec of the car they want and a real world mpg figure is produced so they can realistically budget running costs.
While the style of the Crossland X will appeal to buyers of the Elite version, the lack of its chrome trim along the roof edge and down into the rear pillar makes lesser models look heavy.
On the day the test car was delivered we passed a Vauxhall dealership with a Crossland on the forecourt. The black rubber insert replacing the chrome looked very low rent and clunky. Vauxhall needs to weigh up the cost of chrome versus rubber and find a way to upgrade the lesser cars to have the Elite’s look, which reflects the “hood iron” style of the Adam supermini and diminishes the mass of the roof which 1,255 litres of volume as a two seater.
The sliding rear seats also allow an increase on the 410 litres when the car is geared to carry five adults.
Pricing on the Crossland is competitive, with this Elite model on the road for £20,680, the point where other brands have only reached mid-range.
We would add the rear view camera for £405 and the spare wheel at £110 to complete the package. If Vauxhall would add a rear wiper that cleared the screen (it needs to be three inches longer) it would be job done.
Maurice and Annette Hardy
Car: Vauxhall Crossland X Elite 1.6 Turbo D 120PS S/S
Does it fit your ego…
0-62mph: 9.9 secs
Top speed: 116 mph
PS: 120 @ 3750 rpm
Torque: 300 Nm @ 1750 rpm
…and your wallet…
CO2 emissions: 105 g/km
Best bits: big enough to cope with family life