Vauxhall have never been distinguished for building SUV’s – I mean the old Frontera and more recent Antara are prime examples of incredibly bland modes of transport that proved sluggish with handling characteristics similar to RMS Titanic – the question is, can this all-new Grandland X change opinions for the better? Well – having spent a week with the latest offering from Vauxhall UK, the mid-sized SUV named Grandland X – I can confirm that my opinion has certainly changed towards what they are offering in this overcrowded market. Facing incredibly stiff opposition from the likes of Peugeot’s 3008, Kia’s Sportage or Seat’s Ateca, the latter pairing starting at a much more affordable price too I must add, among a plethora of others within the segment – the Grandland X would need to be a good all-rounder to stand out within the sector. At a glance, the Grandland X from Vauxhall is most certainly not a bad looking car – proving sleek and stylish with a rear side profile that caught my eye one of the days I looked back at this SUV after parking up.
Finished in Pearl White – a £725 tri-coat premium paint option, this model tested is fitted with the £100 optional roof rails and £1100 full LED AFL3 headlamps with LED signature light option along with electrically retractable wing mirrors with puddle lamps and powered tailgate. On opening the tailgate via the ‘foot swipe’ method – a means of opening which requires no hands, a highly convenient thing when you refuse to pay for a shopping bag in the grocery store and thus are struggling with hands and arms overflowing – there is a great deal of space on offer within. All my camera gear fitted with room to spare, meaning busy family life won’t be an issue and during my time in the Grandland X we got an en suite refurbished, at which point – this SUV became van-like with the seats dropped and it coped perfectly with disposing of large boxes of smashed up tiles etc. The cabin of the Vauxhall Grandland X is a vast improvement over the older generation cars from the maker but still a little plastic feeling compared to a few direct rivals, especially some of the switch-gear on the multi-function steering wheel and the seats could benefit from more support.
Despite the lack of support, the seats do offer good enough comfort and with a £555 winter pack added, the front seats as well as the outermost rear seats come equipped with heat at the press of a button. With snow on the ground during my week with the Grandland X, thanks to ‘The Beast From The East’ the heated steering wheel was well used and one option I feel should be ticked from any buyer, is the £100 heated windscreen – it proved equally invaluable. Climate control can be adjusted via a mix of knobs and buttons on the dash, but to adjust the areas in which you want the air to be directed, you need to use the 8-inch touch-screen where the menu pops up after pushing a button on the dash – a feature that is quite distracting and hard to get used. With all the usual functions you would expect from a good infotainment system such as AF/FM/DAB radio, great phone integration, streaming options, Bluetooth and USB connectivity – the Grandland X also offers a traditional 3-pin, 220v socket in the rear for mains power, something great for a business user needing on-the-move laptop power or simply keeping devices up to charge during a commute. Engine wise, things are simple with just two on offer, one a petrol and one a diesel – the petrol is a turbocharged 1.2L producing 130PS and 230Nm of torque whilst the diesel is a 1.6L producing 120hp and 300Nm.
Both engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic ‘box whilst this model tested is equipped with the surprisingly punchy petrol unit with manual ‘box capable of a top speed of 117mph and a 0-60mph sprint time of 11.1 seconds. I was cynical of this power-train in the Grandland X due to the practical size of this SUV, but the little engine coped perfectly well on very mixed driving, returning low 50’s mpg and power will only ever be put to the ground via the front wheels, as an all-wheel-drive version isn’t available. What this model has is an ‘All-Road Pack’, a £200 option that gives variable driving modes via a knob down by the parking brake button, basically adjusting the throttle and traction maps to aid those who maybe aren’t the best drivers in challenging conditions – a bit of a gimmick i feel, but if it helps those with no clue on driving, then its job done at keeping our roads safer. Driving the Grandland X highlights that despite the small amount of critic I have given the model, it’s a grand place to be and one which will suit many lifestyles as it offers room, feels safe and handles more like a car than an SUV. With four trim levels available – the Grandland X starts from £22,885 with the ‘SE’ trim which gets you an IntelliLink touch-screen infotainment system, 17-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers and automatic lighting control with high beam assist.
Cruise control with speed limiter and intelligent speed adaptation features alongside lane departure warning and speed sign recognition whilst inside see’s a leather-covered steering wheel and electronic climate control including air conditioning. Next up is a ‘Tech Line Nav’ which packs much more punch and according to the Vauxhall UK website is somehow cheaper than the entry level SE at £22,510 – I feel this is the trim level to opt for, as it was with its smaller sibling the Crossland X [read our thoughts here]. A touch-screen infotainment system with navigation is accompanied by more stylish 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, dark-tinted rear windows, keyless entry and start, ambient interior lighting sits alongside a power tailgate and versatility pack which adds split-folding rear seats, a centre armrest and under-floor boot storage. Side blind spot alert is a handy safety feature that features along with a safety pack including driver drowsiness system, forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection and lane departure warning with lane assist. A ‘Sport Nav’ starting from £24,795 adds 18-inch diamond-cut five-spoke alloy wheels and speed sign recognition whilst an ‘Elite Nav’ gets a bit more style and quality with 19-inch diamond-cut five twin-spoke alloy wheels, fixed panoramic glass roof panel with electrically operated sunblind and sports-style black siena perforated leather seat trim.
Wireless charging for mobile devices adds convenience along with a heated windscreen and a winter pack comes as part of this trim, starting from £26,860, which includes heated electrically adjustable seating and heated steering wheel. Finally, a rather pricey ‘Ultimate’ receives black roof and door mirrors, premium LED Adaptive forward lighting pack, 360° panoramic camera – incorporating advanced park assist, rear-outer heated seating, alloy-effect sports pedals, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle light and a Denon premium sound system – prices on this trim start from £33,995. The Grandland X Ultimate is also the only model in the range to come equipped with the not yet mentioned, turbocharged 2.0L diesel engine producing a whopping 177PS and 400Nm of torque seeing 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds with a top speed of 133mph via the automatic only ‘box. Servicing should be done annually or at 16,000 miles (whichever comes first) and a one-year unlimited mileage warranty is beneficial to big mile business users whilst a further two-years and up to 60,000 miles is more than suitable for the more than average private user. This model tested, the Sport Nav with its various options – commands just a few hundred quid shy of £28,000 pounds which I think is a little pricey but a Tech-Line Nav with a few decent options ticked will do the job more than perfectly for something at a smidge over £23,000 and in this trim, great value over some similar spec rivals and worth a thought. Thanks to Walter from Ireland Offroad Experience for the use of the less challenging areas for images and despite ‘The Beasts’ best efforts, I must apologise for the lack of snow in the Bangor area!