Vauxhall is a manufacturer in transition.
After a stagnant period in terms of growth under GM Europe, the business was acquired by Groupe PSA – which owns Peugeot and Citroen – last year and, earlier in 2018 it was announced that it would ‘slim down’ its dealer network in the UK, with surviving franchises expected to be more closely integrated with PSA’s other brands.
Closer integration is already happening on the factory floor. The Grandland X is a new ‘crossover’ SUV built on PSA’s EMP2 platform – the same one which underpins PSA models like the C5 Aircross, DS 7 Crossback and Peugeot 3008.
Vauxhall Grandland X Elite Nav
Price: £26,865 (£28,100 as tested)
Engine: 1.2-litre, three-
cylinder, turbo, petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 124g/km
It’s bigger and more modern looking than Vauxhall’s previous attempt at a crossover the Mokka X and sits above the smaller Crossland X – another PSA-based crossover – in the Vauxhall line-up.
Unlike the Mokka X, which is in effect a facelift on the Mokka which was launched in 2012, the Grandland X is only available with a two-wheel-drive drivetrain. Vauxhall confirms that there are no plans for an AWD variant of the Crossland, so buyers looking for off-road capability should look elsewhere in the line-up.
Read more: Review: Ford Kuga
It’s definitely Vauxhall’s best looking SUV-style model and it holds up in the style stakes against most of the competition as well. It also sits at a compelling price point – particularly when you look at the levels of equipment on offer.
Our Elite Nav test car, for example, comes with dual zone climate control, LED lighting pack, power tailgate, the intelliLink sat nav and media system and a long list of other equipment as standard.
Living in the UK I’d definitely option the £100 heated windshield, but barring that it’s got pretty much everything you’d want, at a shade under £27,000.
Should you want more, there’s the Ultimate edition which piles on many of our car’s options plus plenty of other luxuries but costs £7,000 more thanks, in part, to only being available with a 175bhp diesel engine and auto gearbox. Our test car, however, came with a 1.2-litre petrol with manual shifting.
A 1.2-litre engine in a car this size would have been laughable a few years ago but this modern, 129bhp unit quietly gets on with its business will minimal fuss and an acceptable amount of power for the day to day.
If you’re in a hurry, you might find the throttle a little sluggish and the six-speed gearbox a little vague, but those after the last word in driving dynamics would be advised to steer clear of the SUV segment altogether.
The steering is surprisingly direct but, as with many modern drive-by-wire set-ups, lacking in real feedback. The chassis and suspension set-up is tuned toward comfort rather than sportiness, although for a big car it is surprisingly agile zipping around the city.
All in all it’s a pretty forgettable drive – which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. When you test cars as part of your bread and butter it’s easy to forget that most people don’t want to arrive at work exhilarated and drenched in sweat.
They want to be comfortable, with nice seats and air conditioning. They want a media system with DAB that lets them listen to Spotify and they want the kids to be safely cocooned in the back seats, not complaining of feeling ill because Mummy or Daddy couldn’t resist unleashing their inner Lewis Hamilton on the way to Brownies.
A forgettable drive is fine, so long as the car is comfortable, looks good and has room for all your stuff. The Grandland X ticks those boxes with ease.