Vauxhall Grandland X 1.2T Elite Nav 5dr
- Price£ 28,440
It wasn’t all that long ago that if a salesperson tried to sell you a 1.2-litre petrol front-wheel-drive-only SUV, you’d have told them to jog on before they had a chance to throw in a set of floor mats.
But the SUV world is all change these days, and engine downsizing delivers its most surprising results in this class. The turbocharged three-cylinder engine doesn’t exhibit many of the usual characteristics associated with such a setup.
You don’t get that thrum or buzz under heavy load that can be typical of such engines, for a start. It revs freely and feels larger than its cubic capacity would have you think. Compared to the diesel, the manual gear change feels a smidge tidier, though neither are quite at the precision levels associated with more dynamic rivals.
Nonetheless, the Grandland X can comfortably cruise at motorway speeds and does so in a refined fashion. There is a bit of wind noise as the speed increases, but nothing to annoy you all that much.
It’s when you start carrying speed through the bends that the tall Vauxhall starts to look a bit shaky, or wobbly to be more precise. The suspension is tuned more towards the comfort side of the spectrum and even on 18-inch wheels it manages to soak up poorer surfaces with ease. Though you do get a decent side order of body roll, the fact that it’s proficient at being comfy tends to make it a little easier to forgive.
With the diesel engine, you end up with a decent long-distance cruiser, but around town it’s not as perky as the petrol version. In comparison to some other diesel engines, the noise level has been kept down, but not impressively so. The promise of great fuel economy may be tempting, but unless you’re spending your life on the inside lane of a motorway, you’re unlikely to see any significant difference between this and how much the petrol motor drinks.
But of course if fuel economy is your priority you’ll want the Hybrid or all-wheel drive Hybrid4. We’ve only tried the latter, and it’s just fine, but far from the best PHEV you can buy. The transition between electric and petrol power is smooth enough, but the 1.6-litre turbocharged motor isn’t very refined at high revs, and the combined output of 296bhp and ensuing performance is totally at odds with how the Grandland handles. The Hybrid4 is at its best driven slowly, with minimal use of the internal combustion engine, meaning the cheaper two-wheel drive Hybrid is probably the better bet.
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