By Mike Torpey on 2019-01-27 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Vauxhall Grandland X
2.0 Turbo D Ultimate
BRITISH car designer Mark Adams is convinced Vauxhall's latest swing at the SUV scene, the Grandland X, really hits the sweet spot.
And with a number of successful models in his portfolio, notably the fifth generation Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Insignia, the former Royal College of Art student is well placed to offer an opinion - even if the design is his own.
The point though is that the Grandland X, which as its name suggests is the largest vehicle to emerge from the Vauxhall SUV stable, needs to succeed.
It wasn't exactly up with the lark when the crossover craze started to really kick in, but can be buoyed by the stats that say one in four new car buyers in Europe now steer towards SUV.
What's also interesting is that the Grandland is a blood relative of a model that's already proved a massive hit in the shape of 2017 European Car of the Year the Peugeot 3008, the pair being based on the same platform.
Also shared are some of the engines including a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel and the 2.0-litre diesel featured in our tested variant.
In the Grandland X this Turbo D unit with its 177ps of punch doesn't quite deliver the performance you might expect from an engine of its capacity - at least not without some heavy manners from the right boot.
That said it's average fuel return is impressive. Even if you are unable to match the claimed combined return of 57.6 you should still get close to 50 miles per gallon, well acceptable for a family vehicle of this nature.
It's also both pleasant and relaxing to drive, well damped and smooth through the eight-speed automatic gearbox and grippy through sweeping bends.
Where X really does mark the spot is concerning both the Vauxhall's style and interior.
Elegant and dynamic in its design, giving the Grandland an edge over rivals like the SEAT Ateca and top-selling Nissan Qashqai, our flagship Ultimate spec model also featured a huge panoramic glass roof.
The cabin, while trademark 'new' Vauxhall, is of upmarket quality and simple layout with soft-touch plastics on the dash plus some piano black and chrome-effect cabin inserts.
Space is adequate for five, including three across the back where the flat floor ensures decent legroom for a centre rear passenger, and the rear seats split/fold 60-40.
That extends space in the boot, which in higher spec versions has a powered tailgate, which you can open by swiping your foot underneath the rear bumper.
Regards standard equipment, even the cheapest Grandland X at £22,755 comes well specced up to include a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
And every car also gets Vauxhall's OnStar concierge service with wi-fi hotspot and connection to a dedicated call centre.
Vauxhall Grandland X 2.0 Turbo D Ultimate
Mechanical: 177ps, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 133mph
0-62mph: 9.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 128g/km
C02 emissions: 24
Bik rating: 26%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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