posted 5 months ago

Vauxhall Grandland X Ultimate Review

The Grandland X is the third and largest SUV to come from the Vauxhall stable and now there is a range-topping Ultimate model available. But is it up to the challenge in such a fiercely competitive sector?

From £34,040
Pros
  • Sporty styling and plenty of on-board kit as standard
  • Practical interior with generous boot capacity and room for five adults
  • Good choice of trim levels, engines and transmissions
Cons
  • Ultimate version lacks IntelliGrip traction system and only available with a diesel engine
  • Unusual gear shifter and diagram is wrong side of gear lever
  • Driving experience is not that inspiring

Introduction:

Following hot on the heels of Vauxhall’s Mokka and Crossland X models comes the company’s biggest SUV to date – the mid-sized Grandland X. At launch it was available with four trims called SE, Tech Line Nav, Sport Nav and Elite Nav, but now there is a range-topping version called Ultimate.

The Grandland X Ultimate, priced from £34,040, is available with just one powertrain – a 177PS 2.0-litre diesel mated to an all-new eight speed transmission. There are 1.2-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines with various power outputs on offer along with six-speed manual and six-speed auto gearboxes on alternative models.

Attracting buyers in such a competitive sector is key and Vauxhall is confident the styling of the Grandland X is a winner thanks to its athletic, yet muscular stance complemented on the Ultimate edition by 19-inch diamond cut alloys, a black roof and door mirrors, a panoramic glass roof, dark tinted rear windows and sculpted wheel arches. But with rivals like the highly successful Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008, only time will tell whether or not the Grandland X Ultimate has the X factor.

On the Road

We tested the Grandland X Ultimate driven by the 177PS 2.0-litre diesel engine with 400Nm of torque. It could reach 60mph from a standing start in 9.1 seconds and maxed out at 131mph. Admittedly, there are more dynamic SUVs out there but the Grandland X is a respectable performer.

In congested city centre traffic the car, which measures just shy of 4.5 metres, is deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre. The addition of advanced park assist also makes you look a complete expert when squeezing into tight parking bays.

Then out on faster lanes, the road-holding is confident and assured. There is a little body sway if pushed too enthusiastically into bends, but generally it copes well with twists and turns. But perhaps where the Grandland X is most accomplished is on the motorways and dual carriageways where it accelerates smoothly through the eight-speed gearbox and can easily keep pace with fast-moving outside lane traffic.

Despite being fitted with large 19-inch wheels, the Grandland X delivers high levels of ride quality. Although you can experience a little body sway into long sweeping bends, it is generally composed and feels well balanced.

The steering is fairly light but there is ample driver feedback and to be fair, these are not the sort of cars that are driven by petrol heads or driving purists.

The Ultimate model features Vauxhall’s new eight-speed gearbox that has been engineered with a smooth linear shift pattern and it is beautifully timed. The acceleration can be rapid when driven with a heavy right boot or more composed when gentle increases in pace are required. At times, I felt I would have liked paddles to control the gear shifts myself, but there are many mid-sized SUVs that lack them so Vauxhall is not alone on that count.

Whilst Vauxhall’s IntelliGrip traction control system is available on other versions of the Grandland X, the upmarket wheels on the Ultimate model means it is not compatible. This is a shame as it offers extra traction on tricky terrains such as snow, mud and sand.

The days when diesel engines were noisy and unrefined are a thing of the past and the 2.0-litre powertrain driving the Grandland X is further proof of that. It’s only when pushed really hard that any engine sound filters through to the cabin. The same can be said for road surface and wind noise which only really become noticeable at higher speeds.

The gear shifter is a bit of a strange set up. It moves sideways as well as back and forth and to make matters worse, the diagram outlining the gear positions is the passenger’s side of the gear lever.

Within the cabin there is plenty of refinement with the Ultimate model boasting leather seats along with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and smart interfaces. There are alloy-effect door sill covers and sports pedals along with a smart panoramic glass roof.

The Grandland X has quite an upmarket feel to it and there is a wealth of on-board technology as standard too. 

In the car

The Grandland X Ultimate is a car that is easy to get comfortable in thanks to the electrically-powered seats and adjustable steering wheel. The elevated seating position means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and all the dials and controls are ideally positioned for ease of use. Vauxhall has been rather clever with the finer touches too such as a ledge to rest your hand on when using the eight-inch colour touchscreen. We all know just how tricky it can be to programme a sat nav destination or change a radio station whilst on the move and a steady hand makes this process a lot simpler.

Creature comforts include the likes of an eight-speaker Denon sound system, wireless charging, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting and full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The Ultimate edition adds adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree Panoramic Camera, leather upholstery, heated sports seats, a heated steering wheel and plenty more besides.

A car competing in the fastest growing mid-sized SUV sector needs to tick all the boxes and practicality is high on the list. Thankfully, the Grandland X is well equipped to cater for the active family. There is ample space in the back for three adults to travel in comfort with generous amounts of leg, head and shoulder space and luggage limitations shouldn’t come into force either as the boot can accommodate from 514 litres to 1,652 litres of kit with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are door pockets, a relatively small glovebox, cup holders and a central bin where the smartphone wireless charging system is located.

Access to the rear seats is simple making it ideal for child-seats and the large windows and sunroof means lights floods into the cabin helping to create a bright, warm and welcoming environment.

Ownership

The test car carried a £33,040 on-the-road price-tag although this increased to £34,765 with the addition of tri-coat premium paint costing £725. The Grandland X model range starts from a £22,510 for the Tech Line Nav model powered by the 1.2-litre 130PS petrol engine.

The Ultimate model can deliver combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg with carbon emissions of 128g/km which would result in a Vehicle Excise Duty cost of £160 for the first year and £140 per year thereafter.

The cheapest models to run would be powered by the 1.6-litre 120PS diesel engine which can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 70.6mpg with carbon emissions of 104g/km. This would result in a first year VED charge of £140 which would remain the same each year following.

The insurance group rating for the Grandland X Ultimate is 24.

When it comes to build quality the Grandland X feels solid enough. There are soft-touch surfaces, lots of wipe-clean hard plastics and some neat chrome-effect trim throughout the cabin.

The switchgear feels sturdy and the seats look like they would last the test of time. Dig deep under the steering wheel and you will find a few sharp edges, but you do have to go in search for them.

The Grandland X shares many of the same platforms as the Peugeot 3008 on which it is based, but as it is such a new model an honest opinion on its reliability is hard to call.

It does come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, but it’s worth noting rivals offer better deals especially Hyundai and Toyota with five-year cover and Kia with its untouchable seven-year warranty. 

The Grandland X was awarded the maximum five stars for safety when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating and is packed with safety systems and driver aids.

The Ultimate model is equipped with adaptive forward lighting with LED headlamps with functions such as cornering light, high beam assist and auto levelling guaranteeing excellent visibility without dazzling oncoming motorists.

Other features include lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, speed sign recognition, traction control, hill start assist, tyre monitoring plus six airbags.

On the downside, and rather disappointingly, due to the unique wheel design on the Ultimate model, it is not compatible with Vauxhall’s IntelliGrip traction control system that offers extra grip on snow, sand and mud.

But on a plus note, it does have OnStar which links you to a ‘live’ person (not a machine) in Luton and they can offer all sorts of assistance ranging from details of the nearest petrol stations, hotels and supermarkets with the directions downloaded directly to the car’s sat nav system. And more importantly, they are there to offer help if the vehicle is stolen, breaks down or is involved in an accident whereby they will contact the emergency services and your GPS position will be given.