The updated Vauxhall Grandland SUV has lost the 'X' in its name - but does it still have the X-Factor? Well, it remains an affordable and well-equipped option for Motability drivers, with a much sharper look and an improved cabin. If you want a car in this class, the facelifted Vauxhall Grandland is a well-rounded vehicle that Motability users in the market for a SUV should have on their list.
The Vauxhall Grandland SUV range now begins at £299 for the 'Ultimate' manual trim, with the automatic down to £999 (was £3999). We think that the latter will probably be one of the best selling cars this quarter (section updated October 2023).
It's surprising how long it took Vauxhall to get itself proper representation in the mid-sized 'Qashqai-class' family SUV segment. Yes, there was the Korean-built Antara model that sold between 2007 and 2016, but that car was crude, expensive to run and not very well built. Buyers almost universally ignored it. Which was a problem for the Griffin brand, at a time when Nissan Qashqais and Peugeot 3008s were flying from the showrooms.
What to do? Economics meant that some sort of platform-sharing deal for representation in this sector would be essential, so Vauxhall turned to Peugeot, with whom the brand was starting to consider a merger. Well before that happened, a deal was concluded to see the creation of a small SUV (the Vauxhall Crossland) created from the underpinnings of a Peugeot 2008. And a mid-sized model (this Grandland) to be built using the platform and engineering of a MK2 model Peugeot 3008.
Engine-wise, this Grandland model hasn't changed much. As before, almost all sales will be of the 1.2-litre 130PS three cylinder petrol version, available either in manual or automatic forms. In manual form, it makes 62 mph in 10.4s en route to 122mph. The alternative is a 1.5-litre diesel, also with 130PS but only available with a manual stick shift; that manages 62mph in 12.3s en route to 119mph. Vauxhall doesn't think potential buyers in this segment really need 4WD - not even with the top Hybrid Plug-in model, which used to have it, but now doesn't. As before, this PHEV variant uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, but there's just one electric motor mated to it in 2WD form, so the combined power output is 225hp. That gets you to 60mph in 8.9s and the top speed is 140mph (or 84mph in all-electric drive, which lasts for up to 34 miles between battery charges).
As for drive dynamics across the Grandland range, well we'd anticipate that your expectations of a car of this kind when it comes to handling will probably be pretty modest. You'll want quite a commanding driving position, a comfortable ride, reasonable refinement, decently responsive engines and, well, that's likely to be about it. If you're after a C-segment SUV that you can throw around a bit, then this one certainly won't suit. Take a more typically relaxed approach though and everything becomes much more satisfactory. It soaks up bumps and tarmac tears that would trouble many rivals. Plus, it's relatively quiet and easy to manoeuvre, particularly around town where the light steering that hampers you at speed becomes a boon.
As well as losing an 'X' (in its name), this Grandland gains quite a lot in terms of its adoption of the brand's far more interesting 'Vizor' trim detailing on the front of the car. This sees Vauxhall's latest Griffin logo proudly positioned in the centre, flanked by slim LED headlamps and more muscular bumpers. As before, the dimensions (nearly 4.5m of length, nearly 1.9m of width and nearly 1.65m of height) position this Grandland just above smaller mid-sized SUVs (like the Qashqai and the Ateca) and just below larger mid-sized models (like the Ford Kuga and the Volkswagen Tiguan). Avoid entry-trim and you get a contrast-coloured roof too.
Inside, changes have been made with the adoption of Vauxhall's latest Pure Panel cockpit with two widescreen displays for more of a digital experience. Ahead of the driver is a display up to 12-inches in size, offering up essential information, while the central 10-inch display controls all infotainment via a touchscreen.
As before, driver and passengers benefit from the elevated seating position typical of an SUV, which ensures good visibility in all situations. And this model's relatively long wheelbase provides decent space for up to five people, while the luggage compartment on conventionally-engined models (with a load volume from 514-litres to a maximum of 1,652 litres) should offer more than adequate room for luggage. Boot capacity falls to 390-litres with the Hybrid versions.
There's a now-simplified choice of three trim levels - 'Design', 'GS Line' and 'Ultimate'.
'Design' models have a high level of specification as standard including 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch colour touchscreen, 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone connectivity and dual-zone electronic climate control. There's also a raft of safety technology including lane departure warning, speed sign recognition, lane assist and automatic emergency braking.
The sportier 'GS Line' package features a black roof, door mirrors and wheel arches combined with 18-inch Gloss Black alloy wheels, dark tinted rear windows and alloy-effect skid plates. It also features LED headlights, tail lights and daytime running lights. Inside, there's Vauxhall's Pure Panel cockpit with twin screens including a 10-inch colour touchscreen and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster. Along with a Multimedia Navi Pro satellite navigation system and an AGR-approved driver's active sports-style seat for added comfort.
Top 'Ultimate' trim adds 19-inch multi-spoke 'Ironman' alloy wheels, IntelliLux LED Pixel Headlights and body-colour for the front bumper, rear bumper, wheel arches, door claddings and skid plates. Inside, there's Alcantara upholstery with heated front seats and steering wheel. Safety technology includes Side Blind Spot assist, Highway Integration Assist and Lane Positioning Assist.
Interestingly, Vauxhall is refusing to drop diesel engines from the range, but black pump-fuelled Grandland sales will be quite rare. Even though the 130PS 1.5-litre diesel variant in question manages up to 54.3mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and up to 136g/km of WLTP-rated CO2. Most customers will choose the 130PS 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol model, which in manual form manages up to 45.6mpg and 140g/km - or up to 44.1mpg and 146g/km as an automatic.
The PHEV Hybrid 2WD model of course, does a lot better - 192mpg on the combined cycle and 31g/km. Plus it can go 34 miles between charges that will take three and a half hours with the standard Mode 3 cable. You can reduce that to an hour and 45 minutes if you pay extra for your car to be equipped with the optional on-board charger.
Vauxhall hasn't brought us anything particularly new or innovative here, but it has now given itself a fighting chance of getting an important slice of sales in this vitally important fast-growing Motability segment. This updated Grandland is comfortable, good-looking, well-equipped and practical, all attributes that will endear it to likely Motability customers.
Don't expect it to be particularly dynamically rewarding; few SUVs are. You can though, have much higher expectations when it comes to ride and refinement. In short, if you want an affordable SUV in this class, there's no real reason why you shouldn't consider this one. And that, for Vauxhall, is a big step forward.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Vauxhall Grandland 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 Grandland models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: