GRANDLAND X sounds like the latest American gangster TV drama on Sky Atlantic.
It is, in fact, the latest SUV from Vauxhall.
I’ve got a sneaky feeling that those marketing luvvies from Vauxhall have sat for days in a New York coffee house, scratching their goatee beards and ponytails, thinking of car names.
Picture the scene in Central Perk, sirens blaring outside, gunshots ringing in your ears and sketches of Griffin-badged future models scattered all over the table.
Ahh let’s see, what about Mokka X, Crossland X and Grandland X. Perfect I’ll have a skinny latte with a Frank Zappa-cino or whatever the kids are drinking these days.
Anyway, where were we, back to Vauxhall.
This is actually our first drive of their now smallest SUV, the Crossland X.
I like the name for starters, it’s far more rock n’ roll than the dull old Meriva it replaces.
However, just to confuse matters, Vauxhall refer to it as a CUV, not an SUV. That’s not an MPV either. CUV is for Crossover Utility Vehicle.
Just don’t take it to KFC for lunch or you’ll have an acronym meltdown!
It’s 4.21 metres long, which is 160mm shorter than an Astra but 100mm taller at 1.58m. That means it’s larger than a Nissan Juke or Peugeot 2008, but smaller than a Mokka X or Renault Kadjar. It’s also smaller than the Meriva it supersedes.
Vauxhall are already scoring big sales with the recently facelift Mokka X – so why have they introduced another model like this which is virtually the same size?
Well, Vauxhall say they are actually two different sorts of car. The Mokka X is a traditional SUV while this Crossland X is a more family-focused crossover, front-wheel drive only and a much softer, friendlier personality.
It actually has a very sophisticated, almost premium spearhead expertly created by brilliant design chief Mark Adams.
A two-tone paintjob along with the blacked-out C-pillar also creates a similar ‘floating’ roofline to the Astra hatchback. The overall look is very much in line with other models in the Vauxhall range, with the roof also resembling that of the Adam city car – and as with that model, there’s a choice of colours for the roof as well – contrasting white, black or grey, or the standard body colour.
It also kicks off wider implications for the brand, the platform will be used by the next Citroen C4 and other Peugeot-Citroen models following the French giant’s recent purchase of Vauxhall-Opel.
So that’s all the marketing guff. What about the actual car.
The strong-selling Crossland X is expected to be this mid-range petrol-powered 1.2-litre turbo with110bhp.
It’s classic family car stuff, it’s a nice engine with enough power for pottering about on school runs and to the local supermarket. On the motorway it’s a little more laboured but you’re not expecting it to be a Ferrari after all.
Over our wretched local roads, the ride can be a bit rough but that’s down to the surfaces not the car.
At least the steering is light in town, while good visibility makes it easy to drive in its natural environment.
Front-seat passengers sit high, and two adults in the rear will find plenty of space within the solid interior. There’s an enormous 410-litre boot as well, and this alone justifies Vauxhall’s decision to add it to the range: it’s much larger than the Mokka X and the Nissan Juke that it rivals. Add on a £300 Versatility Pack and you get sliding rear seats and a 40/20/40 split.
Prices start at £16,555 going up to £19,575. But even the entry-level is big on kit. These cars get a 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, plus Vauxhall’s OnStar suite of connectivity features.
Other standard equipment highlights include cruise control, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers and lights with daytime running LED signatures, plus 16-inch alloy wheels.
It’s light years ahead in style and kudos over the Meriva. I love the name and look, it’s well equipped and has tons of practicality which marginally gives it the nod over the Juke and other rivals. The rest of it is down to buyer personal choice.
We raise a glass, er actually a coffee, to this new Vauxhall star.