LONG before Peugeot took over Vauxhall the British firm had cosied up and signed off a compact SUV based on the award winning 3008.
Good move. It gave Vauxhall an exciting, well designed and proven crossover and chance to catch up with the rest of the gang led Nissan with the Qashqai launched more than a decade ago.
But moving on to present day, the indisputable fact is that the Grandland X is one of the most pleasing cars in its sector to drive and among the best looking too. To cap it all, the 1.2T which is reviewed her, is the sweet spot of the range, blending decent economy with punchy acceleration and a hushed cabin.
With a price tag of around £27,000 for the highly specced Elite version it does battle with blood brother 3008, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and VW T-Roc and quite a few others in this crowded marketplace.
A three-cylinder engine of just 1.2-litres doesn't sound impressive to handle a spacious five-seater, but make no mistake it's a little gem with plenty of mid-range punch as well as outright acceleration. 62mph comes up in under 10 seconds and it tops out at 117mph - stats that put it towards the front of the pack.
A sensitive ear can detect a difference in the three-pot's engine tone. There's a distant ‘thrum' which is neither intrusive nor unpleasant. Even when revved hard there remains little trace of harshness.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard and proves well suited to the job with a light, positive change. Sixth gear is quite high and helps make cruising economy frugal. Emissions of 121g/km aid low taxation. My average of 39mpg with a best of 47mpg should be within reach of most owners.
Unlike some high-riders that tend to allow the vertical dimensions adversely affect their handling and road-holding, the front drive Grandland X is nimble and surefooted with only modest body roll. The steering isn't quite as pin-sharp as the Peugeot but this may be due to the larger diameter steering wheel.
Body composure is generally good, although knobbly or rippled road surfaces can make the ride somewhat fidgety.
Cabin space is cleverly used to maximise every centimetre, so there's no shortage of leg or headroom and the boot is among the biggest in its class providing more than 500 litres of cargo room.
The Elite gets leather seating, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, speed sign recognition and heated front screen as standard. A useful and cheap extra at £50 is the All Weather pack that provides insurance against the elements through some clever technology.
A choice of several driving modes can be selected through a circular dial mounted near the gear stick to increase traction in slippery conditions. Mud and snow tyres are also fitted.