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First drive: Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4

Date: 23 April 2020   |   Author: Simon Harris

Vauxhall's first plug-in hybrid comes with ultra-low CO2 emissions and a strategy to lure user-choosers.
Standard equipment:
Vauxhall Connect, sat-nav, front/rear parking sensors, blind-spot alert, heated windscreen, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, black roof and door mirrors, rear privacy glass, auto climate control, 220V power outlet, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, lane-departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, speed sign recognition, 19in alloy wheels
Equipment grades:
SRi Nav, Business Edition Nav, Elite Nav, Ultimate Nav
300hp 1.6 petrol hybrid
Eight-speed automatic

Vauxhall has been a pioneer of electrified powertrains, with the launch of the Ampera range-extender in 2013.

Based on the Chevrolet Volt - and perhaps ahead of its time - it used a 1.4-litre petrol engine to charge a battery that powered an electric motor.

It meant the wheels were driven by the electric motor almost all the time, with the engine as a means of charging the battery while on the move.

It was a flop in the UK (and most of Europe) - potential customers struggled to understand the technology, and it wasn't cheap.

Its successor, the smaller Ampera-E, based on the compact Chevrolet Bolt, was all-electric and had a 300-mile range, but was never signed off for right-hand drive. Only Opel customers in mainland Europe could buy one.

Vauxhall's electrified future

Then the merger of General Motors' European brands (Opel and Vauxhall) with Peugeot and Citroën owner PSA happened, and electrification development came from Paris.

This wasn't bad news, because PSA had a number of plug-in vehicle platforms in development, and as Vauxhall prepares to launch the all-electric Corsa-E, it is also bringing its first plug-in hybrid to market.

Initially, the Grandland X arrives as the all-wheel drive Hybrid4, with two electric motors and 300hp. A more affordable Grandland X Hybrid, with front-wheel drive and 225hp, will arrive in a few weeks.

Talking of affordability, Vauxhall has deployed an unusual strategy that might allow it to come up trumps with company car drivers and their employers.

User-choosers in Vauxhall's sights

There will be Business Edition models of both the Grandland X Hybrid and the Grandland X Hybrid4.

These are targeting user-choosers, and are priced significantly lower than other versions. The secret is that the Business Edition has identical specification to the SRi Nav for the front-wheel drive variant, and the Elite Nav for the Hybrid4.

These versions make the Grandland X Hybrids much more appealing for company car drivers than plug-in rivals, and with these prices, a more tax-efficient (and perhaps more cost-efficient) prospect than many diesel alternatives.

The monthly BIK tax payments are substantially lower, with the saving adding up to hundreds of pounds over the fleet life cycle of the car, while employers save through reduced Class 1A national insurance contributions compared with many other similar vehicles.

The bad news might affect retail customers more, as the RV guides have used the Business Edition's predicted used value as the baseline for the values of the otherwise identical
retail-focused derivatives.

Vauxhall will have planned for this, and the retail offers - whether deposit contributions, zero interest PCPs or some other ways of making the Grandland X more competitive - will no doubt be set accordingly.

However, the residual values percentages - based on the car's P11D value - look far less favourable for the Elite and the SRi.

Too conventional looking?

It is no secret that the Grandland X shares its platform with a number of Peugeots, as well as the Citroën C5 Aircross and the DS 7 Crossback.

Essentially a reskin of the 3008, C5 Aircross and DS 7, the Grandland X also has the most conventional interior of the four, although this isn't to say it is bad.

For anyone who hasn't tried one of the other brands' cars but is coming to Vauxhall from elsewhere, the Grandland X will most likely feel more familiar, but it lacks the wow factor of some rivals.

The Hybrid4 will theoretically run 34 miles on a full charge, according to the WLTP figures, which is an extra mile compared with the front-wheel drive Grandland X Hybrid.

This is because having both front and rear axles running on electric power is more efficient than just at the front.

With a potential 300hp on tap, acceleration is brisk when needed, although a deft touch is required to accelerate on electric power without waking up the petrol engine.

Selectable driving modes

The Grandland X has selectable driving modes to prioritise performance, electric running, or comfort.

It is also possible to use the engine to charge the battery while driving, a nod to future local regulations that would only allow vehicles running on electric to enter designated areas in towns and cities.

It means the driver can keep charge in reserve for when needed, or charge up when driving if absolutely necessary. A blue light shining at the top of the windscreen indicates when the Grandland X is running only on electric, should its status need to be verified in these
restricted zones.

We also tried a short off-road loop, traversing muddy ruts and wet grass. The Grandland X Hybrid4 did well for a vehicle on standard road tyres, although the route itself would not have been especially challenging for an authentic 4x4.

Overall, the Grandland X might not be the most exciting plug-in hybrid on the market, but the Business Editions are certainly well priced. Perhaps they will bring much prized user-choosers to the Vauxhall brand.

Vauhall Grandland X Hybrid4 Business Edition

P11D £36,735

On sale Now

Residual value 39.5%

Depreciation £22,210

Fuel £5,562

Service, maintenance and repair £2,688

Cost per mile 50.8p

Fuel consumption 176.5mpg

CO2 (BIK band) 34g/km (16%)

BIK 20/40% a month £98/£196

Boot space 390 litres

Engine size/power 1,598cc/300hp


  • Low BIK tax proposition
  • Well equipped
  • Performance
  • Perhaps too conventional-looking