Vauxhall beats the pack to the plug-in crossover niche. How much does it stand to gain?

The Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 is, its maker claims, the company’s very first hybrid vehicle.

It’s an assertion that you can only consider true if you’re prepared to discount the ill-fated Vauxhall Ampera – a car that deserved greater commercial success than it got.

The car gets a 3.7kW on-board charger as standard via which it will charge in three and a half hours from a mains wallbox. A 7kW charger (a £500 option) cuts the charging time by half.

Whatever its significance, though, the electrified mid-sized crossover SUV that we’re putting under the scrutiny of the road test this week looks like an uncharacteristically well-timed new model for a brand that could do with a commercial win.

With the latest UK company car tax rules massively incentivising ultra low-carbon plug-in hybrid options, fleet operators countrywide are currently looking to replace petrol- and diesel-engined company cars with modern plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that will allow them to maintain their operating budgets and also allow their employees to maximise the contents of their pay packets.

The Grandland X Hybrid4 is one of a gaggle of incoming fleet-special modern crossovers and compact SUVs that will allow exactly that. Moreover, it’s one of the very first to undertake an Autocar road test in a queue in which the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV must be acknowledged as first-comer – but where its sibling rivals from Peugeot and DS are both further back, as are alternatives from BMW, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Renault.

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What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Vauxhall Grandland X