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Overview

What is it?

Vauxhall’s biggest crossover, now sporting a fresh new face for 2022. You might recall it as the Grandland X, as it was called when it was launched in 2018, before it ditched the ‘X’ last year. In the four years since it was introduced Vauxhall has sold more than 300,000 across Europe, with 70,000 of those in the UK, and the buyer’s preference for crossovers has shown no sign of slowing down.

The new ‘Vizor’ front end is now all too familiar, as first revealed on the Mokka and lately the Astra, and it’s certainly more interesting to look at than its predecessor. There are also new LED headlights, bigger air intakes, a two-tone roof and various other bits and bobs all helping to give it greater road presence. It wears its new uniform well, too, looking smart among a sea of bland rivals.

There’s plenty of new tech, as is to be expected, ranging from adaptive headlights – with 84 LED elements per headlight – to infrared night cameras to adaptive cruise control and more. The cabin has also been given a makeover, now revolving around the manufacturer’s ‘PurePanel’ dual widescreen set-up.

What’s underneath the new face?

There’s no messing around here – the new Grandland is available with the same three engines as its predecessor: one petrol, one diesel, one plug-in hybrid. 

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol, producing 128bhp, is the entry-level engine, available with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto gearbox. One up is the 1.5-litre turbo diesel, outputting 148bhp and available solely with the eight-speed auto ‘box.

Top of the tree is the plug-in hybrid, which consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and 13.2kWh battery pack for a combined 222bhp, paired with the eight-speed gearbox. Vauxhall claims it’s capable of up to 192mpg and a handy electric range of up to 34 miles (WLTP), enough to cover the average driver’s 28 miles a day.

Vauxhall’s also keen to point out that with emissions of 31g/km CO2, the PHEV is eligible for just 11% Benefit-in-Kind rate, compared to 32% for the entry-level petrol model. Ideal for business users, in other words.

Sounds good, but what’s it like to drive?

We’ve driven two versions so far, the 1.2-litre petrol with a six-speed manual ‘box, and the 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid with an eight-speed auto. The former feels slightly cumbersome, a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds meaning progress is fairly pedestrian.

The plug-in hybrid is an altogether more pleasant affair. The auto ‘box is fairly smooth, if a little slow to downshift, but the electric boost helps reduces the 0-62mph time to 8.9 seconds. There are three driving modes, Electric, Hybrid, or Sport, which most folk will leave in Hybrid mode, while you can also handily instruct the car to save a set amount of charge for use when best required, such as in town centres.

On the move both are reasonably quiet and refined. There’s little steering feel but that won’t worry many prospective buyers, while the AGR-approved (Aktion Gesunder Rückenor or ‘Campaign for Healthier Backs’) seats are pleasantly comfortable. It’s not the smoothest of rides and does pitch and roll a fair amount, but the extra weight of the plug-in hybrid (2,310kg plays 1,930kg gross in the manual petrol) does improve this somewhat.

Has the cabin had a makeover, too?

It’s been transformed for the digital age, if that’s what you mean, redesigned around Vauxhall’s ‘PurePanel’ set-up. Base spec models get a seven-inch instrument cluster and infotainment display, while upper spec models get a 12-inch instrument display and another 10-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Said set-up looks fancy and it’s functional enough too. The display in front of the driver is informative and easy to read, while the touchscreen is intuitive and responsive, allowing you to easily switch between sat nav, media and anything else you require. Our biggest gripe is that the infotainment display doesn’t make use of the full screen.

Still, perhaps the best news of all is that Vauxhall hasn’t fallen down the same trap as others in the industry, namely the VW Group, keeping the climate control panels entirely separate to the touchscreen as well as steering wheel clear of any haptic feedback buttons. Thumbs up from us there. 

What will it cost me?

Vauxhall has recently simplified its range structure, meaning the range now comprises three versions – Design, GS Line and Ultimate – as well as reducing the prices for both the ICE and PHEV models compared to its predecessor.

The cheapest Grandland you can buy, the 1.2-litre petrol with six-speed manual in Design trim, will set you back £25,810, a saving of £1,780 over the pre-facelift model. Add £2.5k for the 1.5-litre diesel and eight-speed auto in the same trim.

The plug-in hybrid, only available in the upper two trims, starts from £33,820 in GS Line, topping out at £37,375 in Ultimate. The latter is just shy of £4k cheaper than the like-for-like previous Grandland PHEV.

What's the verdict?

“Vauxhall’s facelifted crossover adds eye-catching looks to an assured, if ordinary, drive. A sensible choice for the sensible headed”

With seemingly no end to the public’s love affair for crossovers, the Grandland, launched in 2018, was well due a facelift. It joins the Mokka and Astra in being given the Vizor treatment, and it wears its new face just as well as its siblings.

It remains as comfortable and spacious as its predecessor, aided by a whole array of new tech and refreshed cabin, if only let down by some interior own goals. The drive and ride aren’t anything to write home about but remain as good as they need to be for a car in this class, with the plug-in hybrid in particular an appealing choice.

Add together the eye-catching looks, advanced tech, and a reduced price compared to its predecessor, and the result is a sensible choice for families and company car drivers alike.

Driving

What is it like to drive?

As well as it needs to, given that, let’s not forget, this is a family crossover that’ll likely be used for ferrying the kids to school, the weekly supermarket run, and perhaps the odd trip away. 

In other words, the ride and handling are just fine. You’re sat high and it’s comfortable enough inside, though it doesn’t absorb bumps and ruts in the road quite as well as we’d have liked, and the steering, if lacking a little in feel, is precise enough. All to be expected. 

Around town it’s pleasant, with good visibility thanks to the high seating position, but on B-roads it does pitch and roll somewhat. On the motorway it’s reasonably quiet and refined, with just a small amount of wind noise.

Any difference between the ICE and PHEV models?

So far, we’ve tested the 1.2-litre petrol with six-speed manual, and the 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid, solely available with the eight-speed auto ‘box. There’s also a 1.5-litre diesel option, but chances are buyers will continue to shun this.

We’ll start with the petrol variant first, offering 128bhp and 169lb ft of torque and good for 0-62mph in 10.4secs. Pulling away does feel a little laborious, while the manual gearbox is slightly cumbersome. Worth considering the auto ‘box, which also shaves 0.1secs off the 0-62mph time, if you’re set on this variant.

The plug-in hybrid, thankfully, improves things. It combines a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with an 109bhp electric motor for a combined output of 222bhp and 265lb ft of torque, which helps to reduce the 0-62mph acceleration time to 8.9secs. The auto ‘box feels smoother than most, too, if a little hesitant to downshift.

There are three driving modes, Electric, Hybrid and Sport. In electric mode the 13.2kWh lithium-ion battery is good for up to 39 miles, while the electric motor is plenty powerful at low speeds and for nipping around town. 

Hybrid mode optimises fuel efficiency and driving performance, while sport maximises power and performance. In reality there’s little difference between hybrid and sport mode and most will leave it in the default hybrid mode. You can also handily instruct the car to reserve charge for future use, for example if you live in the London low-emission zones.

Where the 1.2-litre petrol weighs in at 1,930kg gross, the PHEV comes in at 2,310kg due to the added electric gubbins. Still, this does help to counteract the pitch and roll and leave it feeling better planted, giving you more confidence round corners. 

Against Vauxhall’s claimed 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 142g/km in the petrol and taking in town, B-roads and motorways, we averaged around 40mpg. In the PHEV, meanwhile – offering a claimed 192mpg and CO2 emissions of 31g/km – we averaged around 50mpg. Rely mostly on EV-power only and you’d easily improve on this. 

Any driving aids to note of?

There’s plenty to mention, with every new Grandland coming as standard with front collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, drowsiness detection, and cruise control. Thankfully we didn’t need to test all of those, but those that we did worked well enough.

One thing to note – blind spot visibility is almost non-existent. The third rear window is so small Vauxhall may well as have not bothered, while the chunky D-pillar, particularly on the passenger side, means you’ve absolutely no idea if there’s anything lurking there or not. Blind spot monitoring comes as standard on top-spec Ultimate models, but it’s well worth considering on lesser-specced models.

Interior

What is it like on the inside?

Those familiar with the Mokka will note the similarities in here, of course, with the model’s interior based around Vauxhall’s ‘PurePanel’ twin-screen set up. 

It’s pleasing enough, with the steering wheel slim-rimmed and regular-sized, while the front seats are plenty supportive, with mid-spec GS Line models and above fitted with ‘active sports-style’ seats approved by the AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rückenor or ‘Campaign for Healthier Backs’) who seem to know a thing or two about sitting properly. Oh, and the heated seats are excellent.

Three abreast in the rear shouldn’t be too much bother with plenty of head-room, but knee-room is limited. It also feels quite dark back here, while the windows are quite high – young’uns may complain about not being able to see out too well.

Anything else to note? The gloss black finish around the buttons is quite prone to fingerprints while Vauxhall has gone trigger-happy with the chrome-effect trim. Strangely not on the paddle shifters, though, which seems a missed trick. Still, much like the exterior, it’s far more interesting to look at than the old one.

What’s the ‘PurePanel’ all about?

Slang for Vauxhall’s new digital display. Base spec models get a seven-inch instrument cluster and infotainment display, while upper spec models get a 12-inch instrument display (shame it’s not more customisable, mind) and another 10-inch infotainment touchscreen for controlling the radio, sat nav and the like. 

Thankfully it’s not all screens in here – there’s a row of shortcut buttons directly beneath the screen, including a handy e-mode button for adjusting electric power use settings, while Vauxhall has also seen sense and kept the knobs and buttons for adjusting the climate control entirely separate slightly below. Happy days.

We do, however, have one slight gripe with the infotainment display, in that it doesn’t make whole use of the 12-inch screen, with the set temperature for each front seat passenger taking up not far off a quarter of the display on each side. What’s even more baffling is that the exact same information is displayed on the climate control panel below. Tapping the temperature on the touchscreen also brings up a menu that allows you to change the settings, which seems rather pointless when there are perfectly good knobs and buttons for doing just this sat below. Why install such a huge screen if you’re not going to make use of it all?

One other thing – wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, but there’s just one USB port in the front and one in the rear, meaning if you’re using your phone for navigation/music, other front seat passengers won’t be able to plug in. Unless, that is, you’ve specced Ultimate trim, which comes with wireless charging.

How much storage space is there?

There’s a slight difference between the ICE and PHEV models here, with the former offering 514 litres and the latter 390 litres with the seats up, while 1,642 plays 1,528 respectively with the seats down. That’s about average for the class, with the VW Tiguan offering 520 litres with the seats up and 1,655 litres with the seats down. 

The 60:40 split folding rear seats also come with a ski hatch that allows long items to be loaded through the centre seat without the need to fold either side of the rear row. There’s otherwise plenty of cubby holes dotted about the cabin, plus, strangely enough, removable cupholders up front. No, we’re not sure why either.

Buying

What should I be paying?

A quick reminder then: the cheapest Grandland you can buy, the 1.2-litre petrol with a six-speed manual will set you back from £25,810, and the 1.5-litre diesel from £28,310 with an eight-speed auto, both in entry-level Design trim. 

The 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid, paired exclusively with the eight-speed auto gearbox, is only available in the upper two trims, and starts from £33,820 in GS Line guise. As standard it comes with a 3.6kW charger that takes three hours 30 minutes to fully charge, while a 7.4kW version is a £500 option, which’ll charge in one hour 45 minutes. Using a three-pin plug takes five hours 45 minutes. That’s your lot.

Monthly payments for the petrol start at around £300, rising to around £330 for the diesel and £360 for the plug-in hybrid, on a four-year agreement with a six-month initial payment.

What are the differences in trim?

As mentioned earlier, the available trim levels have been reduced from four to three, with the entry point to the range now Design trim. One up is GS Line, which adds a touch of sportiness to the affair, while top-spec Ultimate adds more premium tech.

Standout features of Design models include LED head and taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch instrument cluster and colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and a heap of safety tech.

The sportier-looking GS Line features 18-inch black alloy wheels, a black roof and more black detailing. Inside you get a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch colour touchscreen, AGR-certified front seats and 180 degree reversing camera.

Top spec Ultimate highlights include 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, plus body-coloured wheel arches and cladding. Inside, there’s Alcantara upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, and wireless phone charging.

What spec should I go for?

If you’re looking to buy on a budget then the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol in Design trim seems good value and brings with it lots of tech as standard, but otherwise we’d suggest going for the plug-in hybrid in one-up GS Line trim.

You’ll surely appreciate the extra oomph while the ability to travel in EV-only mode offers lots of appeal. 39-miles of range is enough to cover most people’s daily commute, and left plugged in overnight will be charged by morning. Enough to help recuperate the £60 extra spend per month and more.

Keyword: Vauxhall Grandland

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