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The diesel Grandland X is a better bet for most than the 1.2-litre petrol model but still struggles to stand out in a crowded market

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Grandland X

The Vauxhall Grandland X is a re-skinned Peugeot 3008 that's too bland and offers too little to stand out in an increasingly competitive market

Andrew Frankel Autocar
19 September 2017

What is it?

The diesel version of Vauxhall’s new mid-sized crossover, a car designed to compete with the bestselling Nissan Qashqai and the class-best Seat Ateca. Or, put it another way, a re-skinned Peugeot 3008. The Grandland X is the result of a joint venture with Peugeot owners PSA Group and sees the car built on the French company’s mid-sized EMP2 platform, powered by PSA engines and built in a PSA factory in Sochaux, France.

We’ve already tested the Grandland X with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol unit but the diesel, although 10bhp less powerful with 118bhp, could prove to be the more suitable powerplant thanks to its stronger mid-range torque, better economy and lower CO2 emissions. The car is available with six-speed transmissions with either two or three pedals.

What's it like?

The test car came with the automatic gearbox and, combined with the diesel engine, represents a useful improvement on the manual 1.2. The petrol version is quieter and makes a far sweeter sound, but these are poor substitutes for low-down grunt in a relatively heavy car like this.

Also these are cars that will be expected to do long distances and the diesel’s more relaxed cruising plus a likely 20% improvement in fuel consumption makes it the clear choice for people with such priorities. Or at least those who have not yet been frightened off by largely ill-informed scaremongering from politicians and tabloid journalists who almost certainly chose not to be inconvenienced by the facts.

Yet this is still some distance from even an engaging driving experience, let alone a remotely entertaining one. The 1.6-litre diesel is a blameless beast of burden, strong at low revs, reasonably responsive, slightly uncultured of voice but as honest as the day is long. I expect its quite narrow powerband might prove irksome when harnessed to what we know is a far-from-peachy manual gearbox but, even with only six speeds, the auto does excellent work keeping the motor in the range in which both the car and you will find most comfortable.

The gearbox does have a self-shifting plane but there are no paddles and, to be honest, there's no reason why you might routinely or indeed ever want to shift it out of Drive. Nor, as we discovered with its petrol powered team-mate, does it have anything to offer the enthusiast driver - and I’m talking by the hardly interstellar standards of the mid-sized crossover SUV. The ride quality is reasonable despite its cheap and not always very cheerful torsion beam rear suspension, but it really has no interest at all in cornering at more than a sedate pace. The steering is accurate but lacking in feel and the brakes over-servoed.

Focus instead on its static qualities and the Grandland X is far more competitive. For conservative buyers put off by the far-out approach of Peugeot’s innovative i-cockpit design, there’s a very traditional interior here that’s no harder to operate than that of an Astra. But with it comes a standard touchscreen, Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge service, all the safety features you’d expect and plenty more you’d merely hope for. And most of them are standard on most trim levels.

Moreover, the car is well built from largely high-quality materials, as spacious as you’d expect a car in this class to be and has a decently shaped and larger-than-average load area.

Should I buy one?

As a car, this is a far better bet than the 1.2 petrol manual version recently testedWhile the little petrol motor seems fundamentally unsuited to the car, as does the manual gearbox, the diesel and auto combination appear a perfect match. For high-mileage users looking to hang onto the car for years, the diesel is the slam-dunk choice of the two.

The problem is that, once you’ve paid for the diesel and opted in the auto box, you’re looking at adding almost £2000 to the price of a car that, compared with the Seat Ateca and Nissan Qashqai, doesn’t look that cheap to begin with, however well equipped it may be.

It’s a hassle-free, no-surprises, well-built, functional transport device but, even in a class of unusually modest aspirations, we cannot ignore the fact that others, such as the Ateca in particular, offer so much more and do so from a much more affordable starting point.

Vauxhall Grandland X Sport Nav 1.6D auto

Where Feltham, Middlesex; On sale Now; Price £26,555; Engine 4 cyls, 1560cc, turbocharged diesel; Power 118bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; Kerbweight 1430kg; Top speed 115mph; 0-62mph 12.2sec; Fuel economy 65.7mpg; CO2 rating/BIK 111g/km, 24%Rivals Peugeot 3008, Seat Ateca

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Comments
14

19 September 2017

Yet more rubbish from GM who will soon become PSA in communist Europe. GM cars in the US 'have this thing' that makes them likeable- however in Europe you've always been given rubbish. The Vauxhall brand should be got rid off for one, in my view it should have been replaced with Buick (and get rid of Opel too). And use the whole American dream as your market. Completely trashed also how pathetic do Vauxhalls look in Europe- in that case at least use 'Opel, German blah blah). Joke of a company. Between that and a Kia.... Christ it's hard. Hyundai.  

19 September 2017

​1) Its not "from GM" its a reskinned Peugeot with Peugeot engines and a Peugeot chassis, ie its fooling no one (apart from you) - its a Peugeot.

​2) Europe is not even close to being "communist", it may seem that way to you, but thats because you only have right wing and very right wing politicians in the US, unlike the rest of the world.

​3) GM cars are not "likeable" in the US - theyre rubbish all over the world and always have been.

​4) Your unusual ideas for GM in Europe cant happen because PSA now owns GM Europe, as you already stated (?).

​5) And the rest of your post ? - you cant spell and it doesnt even make any sense, you been at the crystal meth or something ??

19 September 2017

​Actually, I said "a Peugeot engine" but is it - what happened to GM Europe's 3 year old 1.6 "whisper" diesel ?

19 September 2017

Ha ha. £26,555

ha ha 118bhp.

oh Vauxhall, you are just too funny.

Spanner

19 September 2017

In a class of modest aspirations! Faint praise indeed.

Just how bad does a product have to be to get serious criticism. I understand that Autocar doesn't set out to be negative and no one, but the consumer, benefits from a negative review. 

Who thought the Vauxhall Grandad was a good name?

19 September 2017
The Peugeot 3008 is a much more handsome car and quite interesting to look at too. This just looks like a pumped up astra. I'm sure it will sell, but I'd have the Peugeot. Never thought I'd say that!

19 September 2017

remembering what gm were like about sharing their "ip" when saab were looking for financial partners, are we about to see a whole bunch of new vauxhal/opels that are rushed on to psa platforms?

19 September 2017

​Lol, yeah I remember that - I laughed my head off - GM cant built cars for toffee, so no one even wanted their IP.

21 September 2017
russ13b wrote:

remembering what gm were like about sharing their "ip" when saab were looking for financial partners, are we about to see a whole bunch of new vauxhal/opels that are rushed on to psa platforms?

Yes, Opel-Vauxhall is the new Talbot / Simca.

19 September 2017
This is going to be probably bought by the blue rinse brigade. Get ready to be stuck behind one of these bland-o-matic things dawdling along at 40mph everywhere. The nAmerican Grandland sounds like it should be a Chinese manufacturer. If this is the future of Vauxhall it's screwed in my mind.

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