Grandland X shares EMP2 architecture with four other Groupe PSA C-SUVs

Grandland X shares EMP2 architecture with four other Groupe PSA C-SUVs

Opel and Vauxhall's range of SUVs just keeps on expanding. After the arrival last year of a facelifted and renamed Mokka X as well as the Crossland X, now comes the 4.5m long Grandland X. The new model not only steps in for the Antara but will eventually serve as the replacement for the Zafira Tourer. 

Production - same French factory as the Peugeot 3008

What we used to call GM Europe hasn't had a competitive entrant in the Qashqai class for some years, imports of the GM Korea-built Antara having stopped in late 2015. The project to replace it was one of several GM and Groupe PSA joint ventures which predated the ownership transfer of Opel and Vauxhall to the French firm.

Even though they share so much, the Grandland X looks nothing like the Peugeot 3008. Outside or inside. Both are built in PSA's Sochaux plant in eastern France.

Powertrains - not as many as the 3008

The public debut of the new SUV was at the Frankfurt IAA last September with the model arriving in Vauxhall dealerships during December, priced from GBP22,310. There is a choice of three engines:

  • 120PS 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel, manual and automatic
  • 130PS 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol, manual and automatic
  • 177PS 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, automatic only

The Grandland X shares its PSA-developed EMP2 architecture with not only the 3008 but also the larger 5008 as well as the Citroen C5 Aircross and DS 7 Crossback. It comes only in front-wheel drive form, although a PHEV powertrain will mean electric AWD for the 3008 and DS 7. Vauxhall and Opel are yet to reveal if there will be an electrified version of their model. The seven-seat layout of the 5008 may preclude it from having an electric rear axle and necessary large battery pack.

When I saw that the test car would have only a 1,560cc engine, albeit one with 300Nm of torque, I was sceptical that there would be enough get up and go.

Maximum torque is developed at 1,750rpm and the 120PS is achieved at 3,750rpm.

The 0-62mph time is roughly the same as the Kia Picanto X-Line (11.8 seconds) which I recently drove and maximum speed is 117mph. In reality, this little diesel is up to the task, and delivers much better economy than the tiny Kia to boot. How so? It's none-too-stressed, maximum torque being developed at 1,750rpm, and the 120PS is achieved at 3,750rpm. This encourages a relaxed driving style, which means excellent economy.

Official data state that this 4,477mm long SUV can return up to 80.7mpg. OK, none of us will see that as we don't drive in the fictional Extra-urban world yet the car's worst figure, Urban, is 60.1mpg. In my hands, the average was 52mpg. Most of the miles were in urban conditions. The press car came in Sport Nav trim, for which the CO2 number is a low 104g/km.

The annual VED for this variant is just GBP140, the insurance group is 12E and pricing starts at a very reasonable GBP25,950. For that you get OnStar, SatNav (including European continent mapping) and an 8-inch touchscreen, an electric tailgate, forward collision alert, lane assist and automatic emergency braking. Vauxhall charges for a spare wheel (GBP110) and you must also pay for a heated windscreen but that's only a hundred pounds.

The interior isn't dissimilar to that of the Astra, Insignia and a variety of several other Opel/Vauxhall vehicles, and that's no bad thing. Big dials ahead of you, column stalks that all have logical actions and a solid feel, controls for the infotainment system which can be readily understood and everything generally where you would want it to be. That includes large door pockets, a 220V power socket behind the front seats, deep cupholders, and a generously proportioned cubby box under the central armrest.

The rear seats are easily flipped and doing so liberates up to 1,652 cubic litres although even with them upright, boot space is still 514 litres (more or less the same as the 4,450mm long 3008 which is quoted as having 520 litres).

In January, Vauxhall took back the second place which it relinquished to Volkswagen in December.

What about the driving experience? Even though the roads were especially slippery with flurries of snow, the lack of all-wheel drive wasn't an issue. There is no disguising the diesel sound of the 1.6-litre engine but it's not unpleasant. Gritted bitumen with patches of black ice and then, on other days, standing water after downpours gave the traction system a good workout and the Grandland X passed all tests with aplomb. A properly snowy upwardly sloping driveway would have presented a lot more of a challenge but that 300Nm of torque and all-weather tyres were more than a match for some ice when taking off in second gear from cold.

On the motorway, wind noise is low and stability strong. In fact, as a high-riding family car in which to face most things which a southern English winter could throw a driver's way, the Grandland X comes up trumps. Perhaps the only criticism which can be levelled at it is an overall appearance which some might label as being forgettable. The test car was white with a grey interior, which didn't help matters but in other colours, the Vauxhall does look more distinctive, especially from the rear.

The class which the Grandland X has entered isn't lacking in entrants. ACEA numbers for January show that Nissan has taken a hit which is no surprise given how long the Qashqai has been at the top of the C-SUV tree. The brand's largest fall in fact took place in the UK, where registrations dropped by 30.4 per cent. That also reflects the age of the Juke, which was also once a best seller. So for Vauxhall, there is a clear opportunity. And the year isn't off to a bad start by any means, its sales back above those of Volkswagen which pushed it down to third position in December. It will be interesting to watch that battle develop further during 2018.

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