First report: Vauxhall Grandland X long-term test
11 March 2019
Author: Sean Keywood
|Vauxhall Grandland X Tech Line Nav 1.5 Turbo D|
|P11D price:|| £24,860 |
|As tested:|| £25,980|
|Official consumption:|| 67.3mpg|
|Our average consumption:|| N/A|
1st Report - Ready for work
Some carmakers have had more success than others responding to the SUV boom that has transformed the industry during the past decade or so. For Vauxhall, it has been a bit of a mixed bag. It achieved success with its supermini-sized Mokka X, which has made regular appearances in the UK top ten bestsellers list, but it took a long time to respond properly with the all-conquering Nissan Qashqai when it came to providing a larger vehicle for families.
It eventually addressed this by teaming up with Peugeot - a deal agreed before the two brands became fully united with PSA Group's takeover of Vauxhall - and using the underpinnings of its 3008 to create the Grandland X (the smaller 2008 and Crossland X are similarly related). Now, we are running one for six months to see whether, for company car drivers, it is a case of 'worth the wait' or 'too little too late'.
I am particularly interested to run the Grandland X having reviewed the model for Business Car when it was launched. Commenting on the model I drove then, I was impressed by its gutsy 2.0-litre, 177hp diesel engine, but felt that at nearly £34,000 the asking price of the range-topping Ultimate equipment grade was far too high. With that in mind, looking at the spec of our car, there is good news and bad news. The positive is that in Tech Line Nav grade - a fleet-focused spec that is actually cheaper to buy than the entry-level SE, but with extra equipment at the expense of offers aimed at private buyers - the cost before options of this car is far more reasonable at less than £25k. On the negative side, instead of the 177hp engine, this car has a 1.5-litre 130hp diesel. This engine joined the range a few months ago, replacing a 120hp unit I had also previously driven and found a bit sluggish, so I'm hoping at least for an improvement on that score. The obvious appeal of the 1.5-litre over the 2.0-litre should be in running costs, and indeed its official combined fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures are better by 9.6mpg and 18g/km respectively, the latter meaning the smaller-engined car sits three BIK bands lower. I will be interested to see how close I can get to that economy figure, and whether drivers may resent sacrificing the power of the larger motor to pursue those savings. With long motorway slogs to car launches and fleet industry events an ever-present part of life on the Business Car fleet, there'll be no hiding place for the Grandland X on that score.
If that reads like a forbidding assessment, rest assured that a glance at our car's spec sheet reveals cause for optimism. In line with the Tech Line Nav grade's company car aspirations, there is all the standard kit that a business driver could reasonably expect, including climate control, cruise control, and an 8in touchscreen with sat-nav and smartphone connectivity. Any fears about manoeuvring an SUV (especially after the Mini I ran previously) are assuaged by front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera (the latter fitted with the Park and Go Pack Two, the only cost option on our Grandland X besides metallic paint). Safety systems include autonomous emergency braking, driver drowsiness alert, lane assist, lane departure warning, and a personal favourite, blind spot alert, which I always find especially useful when driving home from the office on busy, gloomy motorways. Other impressive features at first glance include the spacious 514-litre boot, with neat electronic tailgate, and the interior trim, which includes a good amount of leather and other soft-touch materials, despite the Tech Line Nav's low price point. On the minus side, I haven't been immediately wowed by the exterior styling - it looks a little dumpy to me, putting me almost as much in mind of an MPV as a rough-and-tumble off-roader.
And on that last note, one thing the Grandland X probably won't be offering is any special aptitude for inclement weather. Of course it's not unusual for crossover SUVs of this type to do without four-wheel drive, but our car also comes without Intelligrip, the multi-surface traction control system Vauxhall offers as a substitute. Having taken delivery in the depths of winter, I'm hoping this isn't an omission I might come to regret.