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Vauxhall's Qashqai-rival combines French tech with Germanic style

Vauxhall Grandland X SUV (18 on)
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At a glance

New price £24,600 - £46,650
Lease from new From £254 p/m View lease deals
Used price £10,545 - £35,630
Used monthly cost From £263 per month
Fuel Economy 37.2 - 225.0 mpg
Road tax cost £140 - £465
Insurance group 12 - 32 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Largest of Vauxhall's X-branded family SUVs
  • Promise of ample personalisation options and cutting-edge tech
  • Plug-in hybrid version now added to the range
  • Good family SUV with excellent dealer and service coverage

CONS

  • Top-spec models are quite pricey
  • Dreary to drive in low-spec form
  • Boot space well-shaped, but lags behind rivals
  • Not as good as the Mazda CX-5 or SEAT Ateca

Vauxhall Grandland X SUV rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

In this review

  1. Introduction 
  2. Practicality
  3. Interior
  4. Comfort
  5. Running costs  and mpg
  6. Reliability
  7. Engines and driving
  8. Safety
  9. Verdict

The Vauxhall Grandland X is proving a popular choice for families who are making the switch to SUVs. Nearly 200,000 of them have been shifted throughout Europe so far. Clearly people are being won over by its good looks and huge range of trims. As well as taking sales from the big market sector sellers Ford, Nissan and Renault, Vauxhall says existing Zafira Tourer buyers are moving across to the SUV.

It goes head to head with rivals, such as the Ford KugaNissan QashqaiPeugeot 3008Renault Kadjar, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Vauxhall says it also goes to-to-toe with traditional saloons, hatchbacks and estates too. While it also shares its basic underpinnings and large amounts of mechanical componentry with the Citroen C5 Aircross and DS 7 Crossback.

Looks good, packed with technology

It's a good-looking car, especially from the rear. It needs to be, though – there are many talented rivals that it's going up against, and as a relative class newcomer, it needs to stand out. The Grandland X follows on from the Insignia Grand Sport and Sports Tourer in adopting a more upmarket interior and exterior design than some Vauxhalls of the past. It has highly sculpted wheelarches, and acres of cladding on the side to add to its go-anywhere appeal.

The Hybrid4 offers a black bonnet as a no cost option. It's supposed to make the top of the range hybrid model really stand out. And it certainly does that. If it looks a bit Fast and Furious for your taste, it at least isn't standard.

Styled for the family

It's unmistakably a Vauxhall, though, with contrasting roof treatments, plenty of chrome detailing, and the company's signature L-shaped LED daytime running lights.

Vauxhall offers myriad of personalisation options. We're sold on the supremely supportive ergonomic front seats, which do deliver great long-distance comfort. The option of a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats and smart tailgate, that opens with a kick, all ensure driver and passenger comfort, are also notable features that appeal to family drivers.

Vauxhall Grandland X practicality and boot space

  • Typically sized medium SUV
  • Decent rear room, spacious boot
  • Lots of interior cubbies and optional Flex Floor

The Vauxhall Grandland X is sized to compete with its main rivals, the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, and that means it's compact on the road, with decent interior room.

Rear-seat room is impressive – our 6ft 2in road tester could sit behind his own driving position, plus headroom is decent and the middle seat isn’t a punitive place to sit thanks to the lack of transmission tunnel in the floor.

As you'd expect, there is plenty of storage for your odds and ends, with two cupholders, a large armrest box and another smaller cubby in the centre console.

All-round visibility is compromised in the name of style, with bulky windscreen pillars, narrow rear windows and shallow tailgate glass.

Good job it's packed with parking aids, such as audible beepers and optional panoramic cameras, plus little opera windows in the rearmost pillars.

Will my luggage fit?

There’s a good deep boot measuring 514 litres or 1,652 with the seats down (or 380 litres/1,528 litres on the Hybrid4 model), and the floor can be optionally moved higher or lower depending on whether you want outright space or a flat load bed. Other practical touches include a couple of smaller pockets to stop things rolling around, plus some hooks and a 12v socket.

In terms of fitting in your garage – if you have room for an average family car, then the Vauxhall Grandland X is going to fit. It's nicely sized and comes with the modern parking aids you'll need to squeeze it into today's typically undersized bays.

Vauxhall Grandland X interior

  • Interior fitments look good and feel well made
  • Ample room in the front and rear
  • Rear seats are spacious but slightly claustrophobic

The whole dashboard is nicely free of buttons, with most controls migrated to the touchscreen except for a few essentials such as the climate controls, which remain as physical switches.

On the whole, the materials look and feel quite plush, although there is a lot of cheaper plastic below your eyeline. This is easy to miss on the dashboard but harder to hide on the doors, which aren't so nice to look at and feature some pretty flimsy pockets. It’s also quite dark in there even with the optional panoramic sunroof, with only a few lighter plastic elements to lift it.

The screen is a little on the small side compared with rivals - although higher-spec models have a larger setup. But even the entry level model cars, with the smaller 7 inch infotainment screen, come with the all-important Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connections.

Optional leather, audio upgrades, and a panoramic sunroof

We like the way that the infotainment system works – just like the Astra and Insignia Grand Sport, it's bang up-to-date and well featured, and as long as you're a fan of touchscreens, you're going to like this one. We also like the ledge underneath the screen, which is great if you're trying to use it on bumpy roads - it gives you something to rest your hand on to successfully make selections. It's also not too complicated, which really helps with usability. 

As you move up the range (or add optional extras), things like audio upgrades and different trims lift the cabin, as does a large panoramic sunroof. It can feel a little dark in the back, so this could be a worthwhile selection if you're buying new.

How comfortable is it?

  • Comfortable suspension absorbs bumps
  • One standard chassis set up avoids confusion
  • Optional AGR seats are supremely supportive 

The Vauxhall Grandland X is a very comfortable car, absorbing the worst that speed bumps and potholes can fling at you, without feeling remote or detached. It steers accurately, and brakes with power and composure. The front- and rear-seat comfort is excellent, all controls are well placed (aside from the oddly-positioned stalk controls) and the visibility is so-so. 

Standard on Elite Nav and Ultimate cars (and optional elsewhere) are AGR seats, which are certified by the German Campaign for Healthier Backs. We found them both supportive and supremely adjustable. Although initially they seem a bit thin and hard, after a long drive you emerge from the car feeling much more fresh than a squashy, shapeless equivalent.

Even the Hybrid4 model is pillowy soft. Despite it having big, heavy batteries low down in the car, it never feels brittle or lumpen. Even on challenging roads, it smooths out potholes and ruts with little information being fed to your posterior.

Vauxhall Grandland X running costs and mpg

  • Good diesel efficiency
  • Tempting petrol, too
  • Hybrids are pretty quick

Efficiency kings of the Grandland X range are the hybrids. The Hybrid4 is officially capable of 204mpg, with CO2 emissions of 34g/km. The cheaper Hybrid model (with only one electric motor rather than two) is not far off its more expensive cousin. The MPG rating stands tall at 192mpg, and CO2 emissions of 35g/km.

If you regularly cover a lot of miles, the diesel could be the one to go for. The 1.5-litre Turbo D diesel promises up to 68.9mpg in both manual and automatic gearbox guises. As these diesels are RDE2 Compliant, company car drivers don't need to pay the 4% surcharge on BIK tax, which can reduce monthly payments by between £17 and £34 per month for a standard-rate tax payer.

Finally the petrol option, a 1.2-litre turbocharged unit, is only slightly behind with up to 54.3mpg officially claimed, again in manual and automatic specifications. Efficiency hasn't been a Vauxhall strong point in recent years, but the Grandland X benefits from (relatively) squeaky clean Peugeot engines putting out as little as 108g/km in the case of the 1.5-litre Turbo D models.

Vauxhall Grandland X (2020) boot badge

Is it reliable?

  • Built alongside the Peugeot 3008
  • Engines and platform shared too
  • Makes its reliability a bit hard to call

It’s hard to comment on this Vauxhall’s reliability because it's built in partnership with Peugeot, in this case sharing components with the 3008

If we had to take a punt, we’d say the French car firm doesn’t have an exactly sparkling history of reliability, but the engines used in the Grandland X are of a new generation with the promise of better dependability. The hybrid engines are new to Vauxhall too, so it's too early to comment on their reliability.

The materials used inside the car on the whole feel quite robust, although there are some notably thin plastics lower down, particularly on the doors.

Vauxhall Grandland X engines and performance

  • Three engines available in the Grandland X
  • Petrol and diesel options are both good ones
  • Hybrids powerful and economical

The engines offered in the Grandland X are shared with the Peugeot 3008 and Citroen C5 Aircross among others.

Petrol engines

Interestingly, rather than a traditional four-cylinder engine, the 1.2-litre petrol engine only has three-cylinders. Why should you care? It improves MPG. If you listen carefully, it might sound slightly more high-pitched than four-cylinder engines too. This 1.2-litre is smooth and punchy, with 130hp from 5,500rpm and a useful 230Nm of torque available from 1,750rpm. It completes the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 11.1 seconds when paired with a manual gearbox and 10.9 seconds with the auto – and both are capable of reaching a 117mph top speed.

Vauxhall Grandland X (2020) driving

Diesel engines

The 1.5-litre diesel engine is brilliant, as you'll find in all of the cars it's fitted to. It pulls strongly yet smoothly, and is suitably refined at speed. With 130hp at 3,750rpm and 300Nm from 1,750rpm, you can expect a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds for the manual and 12.3 seconds for the auto. Top speed is 119mph with either transmission. Our advice: stick with the manual, as at this level it’s much slicker and nicer to drive than the indecisive auto.

Hybrid engines

Topping the range are the hybrid models. These are essentially, greener, more economical, and faster, than the petrol or diesel. The downsides? Well, they're more expensive, and you'll have to plug them in to benefit from the electric motors.

We've tested the 300hp Hybrid4 model. It's the most powerful Vauxhall currently on sale and it feels it - 0-62mph comes up in 5.9 seconds and there are paddles behind the steering wheel if you want to change gear yourself too. The eight speed automatic isn't the sharpest if you're really wanting to attack a track. But we bet that you're not too bothered by that.

Maths fans: pay attention. The Hybrid4 model has a 1.6-lite turbo petrol engine making 200hp. It also has a front electric motor developing 110hp, and the rear motor makes 113hp. This adds up to 423hp. But the power rating is only 300hp.

While in full power mode, all three power sources are in use, because they all work at different RPM, there's not a single moment all three can produce maximum power.

On the flip side, rather than having a theoretical 300hp (dependent on battery levels) you'll always have 300hp. This is because even when the digital readout is at 0 electric range - you still have 15% battery. This means that even if you've 'run out' of electric power, you still have 300hp at your disposal.

There are four driving modes, electric, hybrid, AWD, and sport. Lock it into sport and full power is available. In electric mode it's mostly rear-wheel-drive, with a theoretical 35 mile range. Even at motorway speeds, we just about managed 30 miles. That's with 'B' mode selected - which is a form of regenerative braking.

The Hybrid uses the same 1.6-litre engine, although it's detuned. And it makes do with one electric motor - not two. This means it has 225hp, and is capable of the standard 0-62mph sprint in 8.6 seconds. Both hybrids take around 1 hour and 50 minutes to charge from a standard wallbox.

Engines no longer available

Before the 1.5-litre diesel arrived in 2018, a 1.6-litre motor was available. It was an engine we rated - in fact, the 1.5 that replaced it has similar characteristics, although the 1.6 was shy on power at 120hp. Performance-wise the 1.6-litre Turbo D had a top speed of 117mph for the manual, 115mph for the automatic, with 0-62mph times of 11.8 and 12.2 seconds, respectively.

A 2.0-litre diesel with 177hp at 3,750rpm and 400Nm at 2,000rpm is also available on the used market. This is appreciably faster than the lower-powered units, with 0-62mph falling in 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 133mph. It’s available only with an automatic gearbox but in this setting the self-shifter works quite well, thanks to a deeper well of torque to call on in this largest engine. As a package, it’s surprisingly responsive given that there is just one transmission mode – so there’s no faffing around with comfort or sport settings. This engine pulls really well, and only gets noisy at higher revs.

How does it handle?

  • Quick, light steering lacks feel
  • Body movement is well-controlled
  • Good grip levels

The Grandland X's steering is quicker than you’d expect and a little light, suffering from an ultimate lack of feel. As you’d expect from a tall car there’s also a fair bit of lean when you corner quickly, but it’s a reasonably well-controlled movement rather than a sickness-inducing wallow.

Traction levels are quite high but the mostly comfy ride gets a bit busy at higher speeds, especially while cornering. All-in-all the handling is good enough for the market it's aimed at – although not as sharp as the SEAT Ateca or Renault Kadjar.

Despite the Hybrid4 being the fastest of the range, there’s still very little feel to the steering. And there’s a tremendous amount of roll. Tip it into a long curvy corner and you can feel the car tilt, as you'll also hear a fair heft of tyre roar. Because of the four-wheel-drive there’s plenty of grip. It's fast then, but just not all that engaging.

Vauxhall Grandland X safety

  • Five-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Three Isofix points available
  • Assistance tech as standard

When tested by the crash simulation experts at Euro NCAP in 2017 the Vauxhall Grandland X scored a full five-star rating thanks - in part – to the availability of electronic safety equipment.

In terms of standard equipment, you get the following items:

  • Speed-sign recognition
  • Lane-departure warning system
  • Rear parking sensors
  • A host of driver and passenger, plus curtain airbags
  • Anti-submarining ramps in the front seats (to prevent occupants from slipping out under the lap belt during a crash)
  • Five inertia reel, three-point belts

Optional safety equipment

Upgrade from the base car and you add the Safety Pack, which comes with driver drowsiness system, forward collision alert and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Individual upgrades also include LED day running lights, a blindspot-alert system and a front-facing parking camera.

How many Isofix points does it have?

There are Isofix points on the front passenger seat, and the outer rear seats.

Watch: Vauxhall Grandland X Euro NCAP crash test

The Parkers VerdictVerdict: should you buy a Vauxhall Grandland X?

On reflection, while the Grandland X is comfortable for long distances, good looking, and refined at speed, we'd recommend a Peugeot 3008 SEAT Ateca or Mazda CX-5 over the Grandland X, unless of course, the more adventurous styling of those cars isn't your bag. It's a decent enough car, but if you want the best in the class, you need to look elsewhere.

Considering it's so closely based on the Peugeot 3008, this Vauxhall has a character and personality of its own. And so far, it's been a substantial success. It's certainly a better looking effort than the gawky Crossland X and pudgy Mokka X, being particularly handsome around the rear quarters. It isn't the sharpest driver's tool in this segment – but it probably doesn't need to be, as its popularity attests to.

There are plenty of options to go for, too, if you're looking to buy. We reckon the 1.2-litre petrol is an undercover budget choice, thanks to its low list price and relatively bold fuel economy figures, and well worth recommending. It's a great engine and delivers excellent mpg and decent performance.

It's well-equipped, with some interesting safety kit as standard. This is good news at such a competitive launch price. Our long-term review threw up some questions about its reliability (it needed a new gearbox), which is something we'll be monitoring in the future.

The hybrids add another layer of variety to what already is a capable and option-filled car. List prices can look a bit scary, but the cheapest model works out at around £350-£400 per month. This is not to be sniffed at for a 300hp SUV that's big and comfy. Similarly powerful SUVs, like the BMW X2 M135i cost more like £450 per month. While other largish plug-in SUVs like the Volvo XC60 are more like £700 per month.

Further reading

Vauxhall Grandland X (2020) rear view, driving

Vauxhall Grandland X SUV rivals