Danni's full road test review of a diesel Vauxhall Grandland X
2 March 2018
Motoring writer Danielle Bagnall spends a week with a diesel Vauxhall Grandland X to see how it compares in the thriving crossover SUV leasing market.
The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but don’t let that put you off. The Vauxhall Grandland X is spacious and practical, while being pretty easy on the eye. Sitting above Vauxhall’s Crossland and Mokka X models, the Grandland X is at the very top of the car maker’s SUV range. Rivalling the likes of the Renault Kadjar, Ford Kuga and Peugeot 3008, and not forgetting the highly successful Nissan Qashqai, it’s safe to say that the Grandland X has some stiff competition but I think it stands a good chance in the mid-size SUV segment. It seats five adults and comes complete with four trim level options; SE, Tech Line Nav, Sport Nav and the flagship Elite Nav trim.
Upon delivery, I had a good look around the car, close up and from a distance, and I’m surprised at how good it looks. It’s still a Vauxhall, complete with chrome highlights and the company’s L-shaped LED signature lights, but most certainly beats its siblings (the Mokka and Crossland) in the looks stakes.
Inside, the interior is presentable. It features a minimal design, which really works. Good materials make for a nice space to be, along with easy-to-use controls. It follows the Insignia in offering an uncluttered dash. Driver position is comfortable and the seats, which are AGR-certified meaning extremely supportive, can be moved forwards and backwards and the steering column can be adjusted for reach and rake, making it easy to find the right driving position for you. Adjustable lumbar support does not come as standard, though. Storage is good. There are two cup holders on the centre console and big cubbies on each door. There’s also a generous glove compartment and additional space at the rear of the cup holders. Luggage capacity with the seats up comes in at 514-litres and it’s even better with the rear seats flipped down (increasing to 1,652-litres). There’s even space for a bike. Beware, though – the load lip on entry-level models is slightly higher, which could make it taxing trying to lift large items in. There are a number of USB ports, too – good music is essential for any road trip. DAB radio is available should you not do the whole music on your phone or iPad malarkey, though, and they're all controlled via the central 8-inch colour touchscreen display.
If you tend to carry heavy loads or do a lot of motorway driving then the 1.6-litre Turbo D diesel unit is the one to choose. It’s not the cheapest in the range at £25,950 as standard, but it’s well worth it. And that’s exactly the model I tested. The 120bhp unit has a 0-60mph of 11.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of 117mph, while able to carry 53-litres of fuel. The test model came with a large number of extras including wireless charging (£160), full LED AFL3 headlamps with LED signature (£1100), heated windshield (£100), fixed panoramic sunroof (£695), park assist at the front and rear (£570), a spare wheel (£110) and two-coat metallic paint (£565), hiking the price of the car up to £29,805. There’s one other engine option in the range - a 130bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol.
Other standard equipment includes European sat nav system, Bluetooth, dual-zone electronic climate control, cruise control (super easy to use and changing gear wont knock it off), leather steering wheel, 220v power outlet, alloy-effect door sill covers, automatic lights and windscreen wipers, front fog lights, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, power tailgate, dark-tinted rear windows, chrome-effect side window trim, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights, anti-lock brakes, six airbags, lane departure warning, high beam assist, side blind spot alert, along with keyless entry and start. Vauxhall’s OnStar technology is also included, which will phone emergency services should you be involved in an accident. A heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats and a smart tailgate (which opens with the slide of a foot) are all available as options.
So, how does the diesel drive? Well, it’s frugal and smooth, which is basically all that can be said. It’s unexciting and bland to drive, but there is value in its smoothness and pure capability. The diesel engine can be a little loud when pottering around town, but quietens down at higher speeds and on the motorway. Wind noise is minimal, too, adding to the ambient space that is the cabin. There’s also a lot of glass, lending itself to a light and airy interior until any quibbling children climb aboard. Economy figures sit at 60.1mpg for urban driving and 80.7mpg for extra-urban driving, resulting in a combined mpg of 70.6mpg and a CO2 emissions figure of 104g/km. The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth enough but it does feel a little clunky under a heavy hand, so be gentle and resist quick changes. This car is all about that smooth, pleasant drive. It’s refined and comfortable, meaning it’s perfect for long distances. It’s not exactly the sharpest of cars, but it doesn’t really need to be.
All in all, it’s a no-fuss SUV packing a shed load of space. It’s practical and looks great, especially in Topaz blue as mine was. Space is competitive against stiff competition in the SUV market, helped by the flat boot floor when the rear seats are flipped forward. It’s a car that effectively does everything you need it to and starts at a competitive price. The name Grandland X might not have a ring to it but the car's a great option in today’s market, looking better than the dated Nissan Qashqai and even aesthetically rivals the Peugeot 3008 that it happens to be based on.