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The Top Gear car review: Vauxhall Crossland X
For:Big space in a small footprint. Well-connected. Might fool casual into observers into thinking you've got an SUV.
Against:The suspension didn't need to be this lumpy did it?
What is it?
You’ve probably forgotten the Vauxhall Meriva. Most had. Small MPVs used to be a thing, but buyers deserted them for the new crop of small SUV-crossovers. Even if those people want a crossover, an MPV might still actually be a whole lot more use to them. They want rugged looks, but they need space and versatility and fuel economy.
So the Crossland X is, in short, a mini MPV disguised as a crossover.
Instead of the normal MPV snowplough front end, it wears the mask of an SUV. Check the high, bluff grille and lights, and a relatively flat bonnet, with a faux bash plate underneath. The sweep of the two-tone roof at the rear aims to varnish over an MPV’s fishbowl glassiness.
But it doesn’t take much to penetrate the subterfuge. It still has an MPV’s pudgy boxiness. It’s a bulky-bodied thing on relatively small wheels, without much ground clearance. There’s no four-wheel-drive option.
The priority is cabin space and family-friendliness, fitted into a town-friendly length that’s 16cm shorter than an Astra’s. Adventurism is so far down the list as to have more or less dropped off the page.
BTW we’re not slagging off Vauxhall’s strategy here. If you want 4x4 drive and high ground clearance and bigger towing-capable engines, they’ll happily sell you a Mokka X instead.
The Crossland X is actually built on an updated version of the Peugeot 2008’s underpinnings and has Peugeot-Citroen-DS engines. It’s a joint-venture with the French company, and the other half of that venture is the Citroen C3 Aircross, due a month or two later. The C3 Aircross, just like the Crossland X, is a pseudo-crossover designed to replace an MPV – in that case the C3 Picasso.
But even though the Crossland X shares genetics with a French car, it’s no mere badge-engineering job. It looks like a Vauxhall on the outside, and most of the visible interior parts are familiar Vauxhall stuff. It also drives like some Vauxhall (if not the best of them, unfortunately).
Strangely, the joint-venture was announced several years ago. Then, just as the Crossland X and C3 Aircross hit showrooms, PSA decided to buy GM Europe – the company that owns Vauxhall. So this pair are a preview of a future strategy in which all Vauxhalls, Peugeots, Citroens and DSs will draw from shared engineering, like the VW Group’s brands have done for years.
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