Vauxhall's updated Crossland SUV now looks a much more appealing proposition thanks to a smart new front-end and a slightly tweaked interior that gives it a more 'up-to-the-minute' feel. It may have lost its 'X' designation, but it has gained some nice new extras which, when you take into account the low Advance Payments across the range (including some of the top-spec models), makes the refreshed Vauxhall Crossland a family-friendly option for Motability drivers who want a practical, flexible and affordable car.
There are just two Vauxhall Crossland models this quarter, with the 'Ultimate' automatic now available for £0 Advance Payment (section updated October 2023).
So, yet another small SUV to add to all those in the PSA Group's bulging crossover portfolio. Some of that Gallic conglomerate's latest little Crossovers are based on its most sophisticated CMP2 platform - cars like the Peugeot 2008, the DS 3 Crossback and the Vauxhall Mokka. Others - like the Citroen C3 Aircross - sit on older underpinnings and this Crossland is one of those, mainly because it's a facelift of a car launched in 2017.
Still, fashion-led Motability customers shopping in the popular segment for small SUVs won't care too much about that, particularly now this car has such a striking look, courtesy of the same 'Vauxhall Vizor' front end that's given this model's Mokka showroom stablemate so much extra pavement presence. Let's take a closer look.
Surprisingly, there are dynamic as well as cosmetic changes here: well a few anyway. New springs and dampers aim to cure the slightly wayward low speed handling characteristics of the original model and the revised steering system should deliver a bit more feel at the helm. The agility of the previous car is trained - as is its range of engines, which continue as before apart from a range of efficiency updates.
That means most folk will continue to choose the familiar PSA Group 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol unit, available in normally aspirated 83PS base guise (with 5-speed manual transmission) or in turbocharged 110PS form (which now gets a 6-speed rather than a 5-speed manual). Plus there's a 130PS version of this unit which must be had with an auto gearbox. We expected Vauxhall to drop the previous diesel (black pump-fuelled small SUVs are a rare sight these days) but the 1.5 Turbo D powerplant continues and the manual variant has an 11PS power increase (to 110PS) and is another recipient of a 6-speed rather than a 5-speed stick shift. This powerplant generates 120PS when mated to the AT6 6-speed auto that makes quite a dent in the efficiency figures. Finally, we need to mention that, like many cars in the SUV 'B' segment, this one can't be ordered with any kind of 4WD system.
Some facelifts offer merely a minor wash 'n brush-up. This isn't one of those. This rejuvenated Crossland features Vauxhall's latest design language, including the bold new Vauxhall Vizor front-end that was first introduced on the MK2 Mokka. A single module now runs across the face of this compact SUV, containing LED lights and the latest Griffin logo. At the back, smarter dark-tinted tail lights and a high-gloss black tailgate surface give the Crossland a wider stance. As before, you can choose a variant with a contrast-coloured roof, if you want more of a sophisticated, personalised feel
Budget obviously ran out a bit when it came to the cabin because that's pretty much as it was before. So as before, the centrepiece of dash is an Intellilink infotainment screen which incorporates the usual DAB stereo, Bluetooth 'phone and informational functions. Include the optional satellite navigation system and the screen size increases from 7 to 8-inches. The rear seat can't do anything clever like slide or recline but the standards of leg and head room it offers are still very class-competitive. Out back, there's a 410-litre boot. Push forward the backrest and up to 1,255-litres of fairly flat space is opened up.
Prices for retail customers start at just over £19,000 and Vauxhall reckons that over 65% of sales of this car will be to private buyers. As before, there's an emphasis on petrol power in the line-up, all the green pump-fuelled engines being 1.2-litre three cylinder units. If at all possible, try and avoid the entry-level normally aspirated 83PS variant and go for the pokier yet more efficient turbocharged version of this powerplant.
As for diesel power, well we'd question whether you really need it, given the relatively small annual mileages likely to be covered by Motability customers who choose this kind of car.
There's now a choice of three trim levels - 'Design', 'GS Line' and 'Ultimate'. Even base 'Design'-spec gets you 16-inch bi-colour alloy wheels, speed sign recognition, rain-sensitive wipers and 'Apple Carplay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. The sportier 'GS Line' trim gets bigger alloy wheels, colour contrast roof, driver's ergonomic active seats (AGR Approved), dual zone climate control and satellite navigation. The top Ultimate trim also comes with panoramic rear-view camera, heated front seats, heated steering wheel and keyless entry and start.
Because this Crossland doesn't sit on the PSA Group's latest CMP2 platform, it can't offer that conglomerate's latest electric technology, so unlike Vauxhall's only slightly larger small EV, the Mokka, there'll be no full-battery-powered version of this car. And no hybrids of any kind either. Still, light weight has always been a Crossland virtue and that spells very competitive efficiency figures nonetheless. Let's get to the WLTP-rated figures. We can safely ignore the base normally aspirated 83PS 1.2-litre petrol model, since that's what most customers tend to do; this variant's WLTP-rated returns, up to 47.9mpg on the combined cycle and up to 135g/km of CO2 are actually slightly worse than those of the much more powerful turbocharged 110PS version of this three cylinder unit (up to 47.9mpg and up to 131g/km). We tried this engine in its upgraded 130PS state of turbo tune, which returns up to 48.7mpg and 130g/km as a manual and up to 45.6mpg and up to 137g/km as an auto.
Rather surprisingly, Vauxhall still offers a diesel option with this car. Diesels have fallen from favour in this segment not only because of the prevailing environmental zeitgeist but also because black pump-fuelled models demand a price premium you're unlikely to be able to recoup with fuel savings, given the relatively low annual mileage that a car of this kind is likely to cover. So some feverish calculator button-pressing will be required to justify acquisition of the 1.5-litre Turbo D unit offered here, which benefits from a more efficient common rail fuel injection system, which joins an emissions reduction system comprising of a passive oxidation catalyst, an AdBlue injector, an SCR catalyst and a Diesel Particulate Filter. The returns from this diesel unit are WLTP-rated at up to 60.1mpg on the combined cycle and up to 120g/km of CO2 in manual form; or up to 55.4mpg and up to 130g/km as an auto.
How to summarise? Well ideally, if you came in search of a small, trendy Vauxhall-badged SUV, you'd choose the new Vauxhall Mokka because it's a more sophisticated, more modern product. But, at the time of its launch at least, the Motability Advance Payment saving this new Vauxhall Crossland offers versus the Mokka is significant.
When all's said and done, what we've got here is essentially a first generation Peugeot 2008 enlivened by a package of cosmetic embellishments, but the visual facelift changes have at least made this car feel a bit more like a Vauxhall than before. And what matters more is that they've given this model quite a bit more pavement presence. That's what matters in this segment. In short, this is the kind of model Vauxhall needs to make.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Vauxhall Crossland through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Vauxhall dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these Vauxhall Crossland models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: