The straight-line performance of our test car was mostly in line with the claims. A 0-60mph time of 9.0sec falls about half a second behind the official take, but given that we test two-up, full of fuel and, this time, on a cold and low-traction morning, it’s not far from where you’d expect a tall, automatic 174bhp SUV to be; with the eight-speed auto seemingly hooking up quickly and shuffling through shifts briskly and effectively.
This 2.0 diesel engine is a quiet unit most of the time. At idle, lower speeds and cruising, you’ll not hear it often, although when accelerating gently, it becomes audible, and if you work it harder, there’s a notable and slightly irritating, albeit muted, top-end clatter. Step-off is smooth, though, and shifts on part-throttle are pretty much undetectable.
You can take control of the gearshifts yourself via the column-mounted paddles, although it’s hard to imagine owners will particularly often. Ditto the variable drive modes. Push the Eco button on the centre console and responses get a bit treacly, and if you just adjust your accelerative style, you can achieve the same results.
Push the Sport button and you’d really have to be pressing on to appreciate the willingness of the gearbox to kick down and hold a lower gear; more so, again, than we can imagine any buyer being particularly inclined to. No, normal mode is where it defaults, where it’s at its best and where, we suspect, it’ll stay.