The Grandland X is the third member of Vauxhall's 'X' SUV family, which also includes the Mokka X and the Crossland X. With a sporty design and off-road looks, the Grandland X has elevated seating for five people, generous luggage space, good all-round visibility and a raft of safety technologies.
Engine-wise, Grandland X buyers are offered a PSA-sourced choice of units, either a three-cylinder 130PS 1.2-litre petrol powerplant or a 120PS 1.6-litre CDTi diesel. There are manual and automatic transmission options in both cases. At the top of the range, there's an auto-only 177PS 2.0-litre CDTi range-topping model. Whatever your choice of engine, don't expect handling to be especially rewarding; if you want that, why on earth are you considering buying an SUV in the first place? Like most of its rivals, Vauxhall has focused instead on ride and refinement and you can expect high class standards to be matched in this regard.
Vauxhall doesn't think potential buyers in this segment really need 4WD. Instead, the brand offers an optional electronic Grip Control system that ensures traction in diverse driving situations. The driver has a choice of five driving modes: for each one the system adapts the torque distribution to the front wheels, allows wheel-spin if necessary, and, with the automatic transmission, adjusts shift points as well as throttle response. This ensures traction and stable handling regardless of the road surface. The brand continues to deliver on its commitment to lead in lighting technology, equipping the Grandland X with Adaptive Forward Lighting LED headlamps. With these, functions such as cornering light, high beam assist and auto levelling guarantee optimal illumination of the road ahead.
At nearly 4.5m long, nearly 1.9m wide and nearly 1.65m high, the Grandland X is a touch bigger than the mid-sized SUV Qashqai-class norm - and, Vauxhall hopes, a touch more distinctive. As usual, that's a matter of perspective: ours is that the Peugeot 3008 crossover this car is based upon is slightly more eye-catching, but you may think differently. The Grandland is certainly good looking enough to stand its corner on the school run. Above the front skid plate, the bold grille proudly displays the Vauxhall Griffin badge, chrome winglets embracing the brand logo and flowing outwards to the slim, double-wing LED headlamps. Muscular, sculpted wheel arches and protective cladding on the lower body deliver the required dose of 'SUV-ness' and an optional two-tone finish, with the roof in contrasting black, adds an extra touch of personalisation.
Inside, the instrument panel and centre console with touchscreen are clearly laid out and horizontally aligned to the driver. There's no sign of the 'love-it-or-hate-it' i-Drive cockpit of this model's Peugeot design stablemate, which sees 3008 buyers viewing the instrument dials over the steering wheel rim. That may be a relief for some. The centre stack has three horizontal rows of controls for fast and intuitive access to infotainment, climate control and chassis functions. Driver and passengers benefit from the elevated seating position typical of an SUV, which ensures good visibility in all situations. And this model's relatively long wheelbase provides decent space for up to five people, while the luggage compartment (with a load volume from 514-litres to a maximum of 1,652 litres) should offer more than adequate room for luggage.
Vauxhall hasn't bought us anything particularly new or innovative here, but it has given itself a fighting chance of getting an important slice of sales in this vitally important fast-growing market segment. The Grandland X is comfortable, good-looking, well-equipped and practical, all attributes that will endear it to likely showroom browsers.
Don't expect it to be particularly dynamically rewarding; few SUVs are. You can though, have much higher expectations when it comes to ride and refinement. In short, if you want an SUV in this class, there's no real reason why you shouldn't consider this one. And that, for Vauxhall, is a big step forward.Click here to find out more about our Vauxhall Grandland X range