Grand entrance for

Vauxhall's big SUV

Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, front
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, side
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, rear
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, interior
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, display screen
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, rear seats
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, console
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, engine
Vauxhall Grandland X, 2017, boot

BETTER late than never is probably the best way to describe Vauxhall's eleventh hour arrival in the busy mid-sized crossover-cum-Sports Utility Vehicle sector with the Grandland X.

To help the Luton car firm on the way in this ever growing part of the market, Vauxhall went cap in hand to Peugeot - long before the French firm became its owners - and borrowed the 3008 platform along with the petrol and diesel engines on which to base the Grandland X.

A fine start indeed as the 3008 is the 2017 European Car of the Year and the new Vauxhall is built at the same factory in Sochaux in France.

With such a good pedigree it made commercial sense in every way for Vauxhall to try and gain a toehold in this sector.

In fairness to the Vauxhall backroom team they have tried hard to make the Grandland a different looking car to the 3008 and it's worked in a way.

It looks different and has nice, clean body lines, looks solid enough with the word smart is probably the best way to describe its exterior.

Like the 3008 it sits high off the ground making perhaps the casual observer believing that it has off-road driving potential but Vauxhall admits there are no plans in the pipeline for such a version.

The Peugeot/Citroen group engines used are already well known with the 1.2-litre petrol unit, called the PureTech, a little underpowered for a car of this size in my view and it's best to opt for the 1.6-litre 118bhp turbo diesel with its excellent low down torque.

Fuel economy is rated at a healthy 70.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 104g/km yet it's a fine performer with 0 to 60 accleration of 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 117mph.

This is a remarkably quiet and refined diesel, again already well proven in other PSA cars, and coupled with a light, easy-to-use six-speed gearbox the turbo version offers an extremely civilised ride with really good mid-range torque for overtaking.

In a way, the Grandland X Sport Nav doesn't feel like an SUV in the same way as the 3008 does.

Despite both having high sitting positions for the driver and passengers, and there's plenty of head and leg room too, the cabin is quite different with better quality plastic coverings than most rivals.

The touchscreen is easy to use and as for the seats, both front and rear, they all offer decent lumbar support.

As for trim levels these are in the usual Vauxhall vogue starting with SE, then Tech Line Nav, Sport Nav and the range-topping Elite Nav.

Opting for the slightly better standard equipped (and dearer at £25,950 on the road) Sport Nav and the buyer gains what Vauxhall calls OnStar which includes automatic crash response, smartphone app, stolen vehicle assistance and vehicle diagnostics, plus there's cruise control, leather steering wheel with audio controls, power tailgate, rear parking sensors, six airbags and more.

Vauxhall though is a little mean for a car of this status and price to be charging for options such as a spare wheel (£100), heated windscreen (£100) and wireless charging (£150) when rivals generally include them as standard.

The luggage space of 514 litres with the rear seats in use is good for a car in this class while overall the car feels safe and secure and offers an extremely comfortable ride, particularly as a long distance cruiser.

It's good to see Vauxhall finally offering something in a sector it last appeared in with the Antara.

The Grandland X is functional and comfortable if not outstanding, and hopefully that long serving Vauxhall badge on the front grille will continue on future models - even if they are underpinned by PSA platforms and engines, which in reality is no bad thing.

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