SIZE really matters in the burgeoning SUV sector and the new era of sub-compact models is being joined by the Vauxhall Crossland X.
It's shorter and lower than the sibling Mokka X AWD and close to the Astra Hatch in proportions but it features an elevated seating position and a user-friendly interior to the front-wheel-drive only platform.
There's a familiar look to the front of Crossland with the Adam-inspired ‘floating roof' and at the rear a skid-plate is visible.
The Crossland X is the latest to get standard Vauxhall OnStar comprehensive assistance connectivity with wireless charging, plus IntelliLink infotainment to work with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all via a big touchscreen.
Front seats have been given a lot of attention to maximise comfort and those in the back sit higher than the front pair and except in base models can adjust legroom in their 60/40 split seats with minimum 410 to maximum 1255 litres of loadspace utilising a double-deck floor.
Interior design points major controls & displays towards the driver and available features include head-up display, adaptive full LED beams, 180-deg rear camera, advanced park assist, pedestrian collision alert, lane departure, drowsiness and blind-spot alerts, together with speed sign recognition and speed limiter equipped cruise control.
The UK is the biggest market in Europe for the Mokka X and Vauxhall believe the more compact Crossland X will have particularly strong appeal to those living and driving in built-up urban areas so there is a strong emphasis on being able to clearly see around and safely park.
It will jointly appeal to young families and older people who want easy access and room.
The five-seater Crossland X will be joined early next year by the larger Grandland X as Vauxhall ramp up their presence in the fastest growing sector of UK and European sales.
Initially there will be about 26 models in the Crossland X range based on a three trim levels with technical refinements, powered by a choice of 81, 110 or 130bhp petrol 1.2-litre three cylinder engines or 99 and 120bhp four cylinder 1.6 diesels using five or sxi speed manual boxes or six speed sequential automatic transmission. Prices rise from £16,555 to £21,380.
This new generation of Vauxhall SUVs has been designed from the inside out to maximise space and practicality and wrap it all in an eye-catching body.
We liked the big opening doors, low loading double-deck bootspace and reach adjustable rear seats, there's a higher riding position in the front as well and you get good all round vision, helped by the reversing camera and sensors on most models.
Technophiles will appreciate its big touch-screen and infotainment system, its climate system and easy to drive character.
It's not demanding of a driver, but it's not very rewarding either except for economy potential and for us the best was the most powerful 130ps version we tried.
The six-speed gearbox is a good match for the 1.2 triple-pot power-plant with excellent ratios to optimise output, and a precise linkage, with adequate brakes and sharp steering.
We saw an indicated 37.1mpg with the 130bhp unit and this was plenty of power for what could be a regularly used four-seater family car.
I am not so sure you'd be as satisfied with running the slightly less powerful 110bhp version because it needed to be stirred along through its five gears with a clunky feel and sound to the changes, and a fault on this particular pre-production car meant the trip meter was inoperative but expect about 47mpg as a guide.
A dappling with the 99bhp 1.6 diesel saw the best economy at 54mpg and for the purely economy minded this has to be the best of the bunch, but its lack of power was noticeable and again I wouldn't recommend the five speed manual box. It's probably the model you'll see on hire and courtesy car fleets which won't buy the even less powerful 81bhp petrol version.