Road test: A grand way to tour the land

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Vauxhall Grandland X


This green and pleasant land is a grand place to be (unless you’re a Vauxhall dealer who faces permanent removal from the franchise as the brand reviews its network), so what better way to tour it than in a Vauxhall Grandland X?

It’s a good question, and buyers of other makes such as Ford, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Citroen, or Peugeot might argue that their chosen chariot is far better suited to the task.

Except, of course, that for the last two the Vauxhall is more of the same. Grandland X is based around their joint parent group PSA’s platform that also brings us the Peugeot 3008; where once Vauxhall were style leaders and Peugeot rather conservative it’s the latest 3008 that wins the day in looks whereas it was previously a frumpy has-been.

That buyers want this sort of car is obvious; SUVs of the Grandland’s size or smaller, among them the Vauxhall Mokka X that has been in the range since before the Peugeot alliance are regularly in the best-seller lists.

Vauxhall now has a three-strong SUV line-up, Mokka X, Crossland X, and Grandland X, ably
supported by the Insignia Country Tourer which matches the likes of the Audi Allroad models when specced with 4×4. You may have seen that Vauxhall sales fell by 22 per cent last year (and are still falling now faster than the general market) but this is largely because the company under PSA has abandoned the daily rental and fleet markets that drive up volume but drive down residual values, affecting loyal private customers when they trade up to a new Vauxhall.

SUVs are the growing market sector at the moment and the Grandland X gives Vauxhall a worthy contender. Given that petrol cars are in the ascendancy now diesels are being consigned to hell’s fires by the uninformed, we chose a 1.2 litre three cylinder model for test. That may not sound the ideal for a bulky SUV but the evidence speaks to the contrary.

Its 130 bhp output was sufficiently muscled to give the car a useful-enough level of performance while most of the time remaining subdued as far as noise is concerned.

The Grandland X also brings Intelligrip to Vauxhall models for the first time, a really ripe fruit from the PSA buyout. It’s the rebranded version of PSA’s Gripcontrol system that uses sensors around the vehicle for other functions, such as stability control and antilock braking, to get the vehicle through tough driving conditions such as mud, snow, sand (particularly difficult to master with normal two wheel drive), and wet grass. Combined with the correct tyres that are part of the package, it’s all many drivers will need in place of a full 4×4 system and costs £500 (almost a bargain until you discover that’s £100 more than you’ll pay for it on the Citroen C3 Aircross).

If only the automatic option was as good value – on our test car it would have made a difference of £1,500, which is pushing it a bit especially as it’s a £1,405 option on some other models and was being offered free to drivers in London together with a five year 0% finance package. Demand the same with your rural counties Vauxhall garage or don’t do the deal.

Drivers with big feet, stoutly shod as Grandland X drivers ought to be while getting out into the country, will find the manual transmission car has cramped pedals. The left foot going down on the clutch can accidentally stamp on the brakes in trying to avoid striking the foot rest to the left, much to the annoyance of both passengers in the car and following drivers.

What won’t be annoying is the 38.6 mpg average that we achieved despite much of the test distance involving urban rather than long distance driving. It’s more than we got from the Citroen C3 Aircross using the 110 bhp version of the same engine, albeit fitted with an automatic gearbox. The generously proportioned Grandland should in theory be thirstier so to get that figure was a good result.

Inside Vauxhall’s Grandland X

There’s plenty to like inside the Grandland, not least the comfortable seating, made more so, and impressing rear passengers, thanks to the heated seats all round and heated steering wheel that’s a £555 option (£200 less if you leave those in the back to chill).

There’s ample space, too, if people up front aren’t too tall while the 1,652 litres of load space (514 litres as a five seater) makes this a useful holdall.

Maurice and Annette Hardy

Car: Vauxhall Grandland X Elite Nav 1.2 130PS Turbo S/S

Does it fit your ego…
0-62 mph: 11.1 secs
Top speed: 117 mph
PS: 130 @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 230Nm @ 1750 rpm

…and your wallet…
Price: £26,660
Combined: 52.3 mpg
CO2 emissions: 124 g/km

Best bits: just grand for the grand tour

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