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Vauxhall Grandland X (2017) review

Performance Ride & Handling Comfort

Practicality Economy Selling New

Selling Used Vauxhall may be late to the medium-sized SUV sector with the Grandland X, but is confident it has a model with retail appeal The all-new Grandland X completes Vauxhall’s SUV line-up and as a C-segment SUV finally gives the brand’s dealers an opportunity to compete in the fastest growing sector of the new car market.

The Grandland X is the third and biggest member of Vauxhall’s X-family of SUVs with the revamped Mokka X and recently launched Crossland X both covering the B-segment; the former as a lifestyle car and the later as a more family-orientated model. Vauxhall has high hopes for its new entrant, which debuts in showrooms in December, expecting it to become its second biggest seller in the retail market after the Astra. Indeed, the brand expects 75% of sales to go into the retail sector with annual volumes restricted to around 20,000 units as it shares its platform and production line with PSA stablemates the Peugeot 3008 and forthcoming Citroen C5 Aircross.

This means the Grandland X is more likely to be jostling for market share with the likes of Renault’s Kadjar and Volkswagen’s Tiguan, rather than the ubiquitous and recently facelifted Nissan Qashqai which achieved a market dominating 62,700 registrations in 2016. For that reason Vauxhall will be steering clear of fleet deals as it focuses on the more lucrative private market. Prices start at ?22,310 rising to ?28,035 with the choice of either a 1.2-litre (130PS) turbo petrol engine or 1.6-litre (120PS) turbo diesel.

As befitting wider market trends, petrol models will account for 60-65% of total sales.
Unlike the Mokka X, the Grandland X will not have a 4X4 option but will be the first Vauxhall to feature the IntelliGrip electronic traction control system as an optional extra. For brand manager Ian Mitchell the Grandland X fulfils an important role in filling a gap in the line-up and is not concerned about being late to the party or being more expensive than some of the competitors. “The rate of growth in the sector is slowing but it’s important for us to be in it.

Customers on their second Qashqai will be looking for something new and that will give us an advantage. “In terms of pricing we’re above the Qashqai, Sportage and Kuga but we are richer in specification.” He has a point.

The standard gear in the entry level SE trim is generous, covering dual zone climate control and hill start assist, lane departure warning, as well as Vauxhall’s OnStar service which provides high levels of connectivity while also offering a personal assistant service, stolen vehicle assistance and automatic crash response.
The Grandland X marketing campaign kicks off in January but Mitchell admits it will be more about changing attitudes to the brand than selling a car it knows will meet its production constricted volumes. “We know we’ll do the volume, so the marketing will be about changing the perception of the brand to show that we can do lifestyle and ruggedness.”

Behind the wheel
The good news is that Vauxhall’s X-styled SUV family makes more sense in the metal than on paper. The Grandland X sits at the top of the three model range and at 4.48 metres long is 20cm longer than the B-segment Crossland X and Mokka X. It’s also a good looking car which will help Vauxhall achieve the conquests sales it is targeting.

This means the Grandland X boasts generous levels of useable cabin space for a full complement of five, especially for those travelling in the rear, with a boot big enough to accommodate most everyday family needs. We tested the 130PS 1.2-litre turbo-charged petrol model, which will significantly outsell the 1.6-litre diesel option, and found it to be a remarkably versatile engine whether pootling around town or pressing on. It’s also a relatively frugal unit capable of delivering 52.3mpg in the claimed combined cycle.

For Vauxhall dealers the Grandland X marks a welcome opportunity to finally compete in the C-SUV segment; furthermore it holds its own against some tough competition.

Fact File
Vauxhall Grandland X
Petrol 1.2T (130PS), Diesel 1.6 (120PS)
Prices: ?22,310-?28,035
Trims: SE, Tech Line Nav, Sport Nav, Elite Nav
On sale: December
Sales forecast: 20,000 pa, 75% retail
Rivals: Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Volkswagen Tiguan

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