Vauxhall doubles SUV

appeal

Vauxhall Crossland X, 2017, front, action 2
Vauxhall Crossland X, 2017, front, static
Vauxhall Crossland X, 2017, side, action
Vauxhall Crossland X, 2017, boot
Vauxhall Crossland X, 2017, rear, action
Vauxhall Crossland X, 2017, interior

IT might seem a tad brave of a car maker to launch a new model that in many ways is identical to one of their most successful current cars.

The fear is that it could possibly confuse the motor-buying public.

But there is a reason for this apparent method in their madness by Vauxhall who have unveiled their compact crossover the Crossland X, which goes on sale in July and is on the surface a direct competitor to their Mokka X SUV.

Vauxhall bosses though see the Mokka X as a more traditional small Sports Utility Vehicle with its bigger 19-inch wheels, more aggressive looking stance with four-wheel-drive and attracting younger drives with that kind of outgoing, active lifestyle.

Meanwhile this new Crossland X may physically be around the same size as the Mokka X but it's aimed at either the family motorist with two kids, or those early retirees around the 60 to 70 age mark, where practicality, versatility and sensible fun-to-drive are more the prerequisite needs.

In effect this new Crossland X replaces the old Vauxhall Meriva and not only competes against the Mokka X but also rival makes like the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008.

Mention Peugeot of course and everyone knows that the Peugeot/Citroen group has recently bought from America's General Motors both the Vauxhall brand and its German sister Opel so without doubt we will see more crossover of mechanical parts and car technology within this new sizeable outfit in the coming years.

Ironically the new Crossland X shares the same platform of the forthcoming new Citroen C3 Picasso and both will be built in the same Spanish PSA factory but all this groundwork was completed long before the big takeover was completed.

It's the same with the engines being offered in the Crossland X which are all Peugeot based with three petrol versions (79, 108 and 128bhp) from the French developed 1.2-litre PureTech and two 1.6-litre turbo diesels with outputs of 97 and 118bhp.

Vauxhall design chief Richard Shaw believes the two so-called in-house rivals will have distinctive sales patterns with this new Crosland X appealing more to ordinary families "needing a kind of softer approach to their everyday driving requirements".

"We expect private, retail sales to account for over 65 per cent of all Crossland X sales with probably around the remainder going to fleet buyers," he said. "They are different and will appeal to different buyers to that of the Mokka X.

"We expect the 1.2T 110 ecoTEC SE (£17,875) to be the best seller and we are offering five levels of trim with many optional extras so drivers can in a way personalise their own car," he added.

There are five trim levels starting with the 1.2-litre 79bhp petrol engined SE (from £16,555), then the Tech Line (from £16,650), moving up to the SE Sat Nav (£17,255). Then the Elite (from £17,755) and finally the Elite Nav from £18,455.

So what's the expected favourite like to drive?

For a start it has the exceptionally refined and efficient Peugeot 1.2-litre engine under the bonnet which gives a decent enough road going performance which is only spoilt really by the five-speed gearbox, not the best in the world it has to be said, where a six-speed manual would have been much better in my book (an automatic box will be available later).

The steering may be light but it's not exactly precise and there's hardly any feedback but again in these situation the driver will soon adjust to its driving traits and overall this engine is a good one as Peugeot have already proved in their own cars.

Fuel economy is good though with almost 60mpg given as the official combined figure and on a morning's test run over a variety of roads and traffic conditions it returned a satisfactory 48.6mpg.

Inside the Crossland X is decent being practical rather than with any luxury, plenty of soft plastic on the dashboard and surrounds though and all feeling fairly solid while space is impressive with plenty of head and leg room front and rear and the 410 litre boot space is better than on the Mokka X.

There is a more than handy £300 option pack available which offers rear seats that slide forward and back and also fold 40/20/40 again giving more flexibility in terms of luggage room - yes well worth the extra cash for this one.

Across the whole Crossland X range there is a plethora of options available on every model and would-be buyers will need to spend some time beforehand going this maze to make any decisions but there's clearly something for everyone.

Overall standard equipment levels are highly impressive with even the basic 1.2-litre entry-level having alloy wheels, cruise and climate controls, seven-inch infotainment touch screen system (really easy to use too), Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone monitoring, plus leather covered steering wheel, LED daytime running lights. Anti-lock braks and hill assist start.

This is quite an impressive list for any entry-level model in today's market.

Overall a welcome arrival in this fast-growing sector and Vauxhall are not finished here either - later this year motorists will see a new Grandland X model understandably based on the current Peugeot 3008.

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