VAUXHALL is embracing the drive towards cleaner motoring with the launch of the new Grandland X Hybrid4 - the company's first plug-in hybrid model to date.
And since Vauxhall has been taken over by the PSA group, bringing with it all its experience in this field, we can expect to see lots more of this proven technology introduced across the range.
In fact, the original Grandland X model was based on a PSA platform so it comes as little surprise that the five-door, full-sized SUV is the first Vauxhall to incorporate the cleaner powertrain set-up - and it does it all rather well.
The car features a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that works in tandem with two electric motors delivering a combined output of 300hp with 520Nm of torque.
It boasts all-wheel drive and can complete the 0-60mph sprint in just 5.9 seconds, topping out at 146mph while delivering a combined 204mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of just 34g/km.
Customers can choose from four different trim levels called Business Edition Nav, SRi Nav, Elite Nav and Ultimate Nav with prices ranging from £36,790 to £46,650.
Measuring 4.5 metres in length, the Grandland X Hybrid4 is a good looking family car with muscular styling and plenty of eye-catching design cues, including a bold upright profile, chunky wheel mouldings, signature double blade LED lights, a distinctive crease in the bonnet and a large front grille where the company's Griffin badge is supported by two chrome wings.
The interior is ultra-modern and neatly designed with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. Depending upon trim level selected, expect to see the likes of a smart eight-inch infotainment system, full sat nav with European mapping, Bluetooth, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, advanced park assist, smartphone integration and plenty more besides.
All the hybrid-specific information, such as charging levels etc., can easily be accessed and viewed at a glance and there is a very handy e-Save function that allows the driver to reserve energy to ensure it can be driven in EV-only mode when in a zero-emissions zone. It is possible to save six or 12 miles, or reserve all the battery energy.
The vehicle features an electrified eight-speed transmission and four drive modes - Electric, Hybrid, AWD and Sport. In pure electric mode it can travel up to 35 miles, switch across to Hybrid and the car automatically selects the most efficient driving method so will, for example, go into all-electric when travelling at lower speeds.
Sport mode combines the power of the combustion engine and the electric motor for a more dynamic performance and All-Wheel Drive mode is there to offer extra traction in more adverse driving and weather conditions.
We tried the all-new Grandland X Hybrid4 in Ultimate Nav grade on a range of roads and even ventured away from the comforts of the Tarmac. And in fairness, the car didn't disappoint.
It fires up in EV-mode and then pulls away in complete silence. Out on the faster-moving country lanes, the acceleration through the automatic gearbox is smooth and responsive and there is always a constant stream of power on tap so overtaking at short notice is no problem. The road holding is ultra-grippy and, provided sharper bends are given a degree of respect, body roll is kept to a minimum too.
In busy town centres, the upright driving position resulted in excellent all-round visibility and parking the largest SUV in Vauxhall's line-up was made easier thanks to the reversing camera and sensors.
We also took the car off the beaten track and the AWD mode offered ample grip as the car powered round a boggy course in all-electric mode
On-board comfort levels are impressive with ample space in the back of the car for two adults to stretch out - add a third and it gets a little cosy but is still acceptable.
The boot is well sized and can swallow 390 litres of kit - a limit that increases to 1,528 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There are also lots of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, although the glovebox is tiny so don't plan on putting too much in there.
When it comes to charging, the Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 is supplied with a small 3.7kW on-board charger with the option of buying a more powerful 7.4kW version which would result in full charging in less than two hours.
In addition, you can pre-programme the car for delayed charging so if it is plugged in overnight you can time it just right to benefit from lower electricity costs.
The Grandland X Hybrid4 boasts a range of safety kit to protect occupants and pedestrians as well as preventing accidents happening in the first place. Specifications, dependant once again on trim level, include forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness detection, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and lots more besides.
With the latest plug-in Hybrid model in either two or four-wheel drive guise, there is ample choice for customers and Vauxhall continues to offer the vehicle with petrol or diesel powertrains too.
Vauxhall's first foray into plug-in hybrid technology is definitely a successful one and there is plenty more to come as there are already plans in the pipeline for a fully electric Corsa, Mokka X, Vivaro Life and a Vivaro van.