Vauxhall joins the

plug-in revolution

Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, side, action
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, side
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, nose
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, front
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, rear
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, interior
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, charging point
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, boot
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, engine
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, charging
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, display screen
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4, 2020, badge

THE first plug-in hybrid from Vauxhall is on the way and it's arriving courtesy of the brand's new owners from France.

With the PSA group - which also has Peugeot, Citroen and DS in its stable - firmly at the helm the British car company is introducing the Grandland X Hybrid4.

With the Grandland already sharing its underpinnings with the Peugeot 3008 - itself soon to be available as a plug-in with the same powertrain - the hybrid Vauxhall has a huge attraction for company car and business drivers.

It has a company car tax rating of 20 per cent, emissions of 34g/km and a theoretical fuel return of up to 204mpg.

That fuel economy is of course fanciful and in the real world mid-to-high 30s to the gallon is more than likely in everyday use although the Hybrid4 does have a zero emission range of up to 35 miles running purely on electricity.

For private buyers it's fairly pricey with the four model Hybrid4 line up starting from £36,790 and that's some £10,00 more than the cheapest conventional Grandland X costs.

A two-wheel-drive version of the plug-in is coming soon and that is going to be available from £32,390 but for the launch the hybrid Grandland X is four-wheel-drive only.

As such it's a convincing performer and the model we tried - a Hybrid4 in top specification Ultimate Nav trim - had all the bells and whistles with performance to match.

It also cost the best part of £48,000 and for that it was possibly a little out of its depth.

Nevertheless, it has 300bhp to go at, a top speed of 146mph and a 0 to 60mph acceleration time of 5.9 seconds - not at all shabby for an eight-speed automatic 4x4 weighing in at some 2.3 tonnes.

Four drive modes are available - electric, hybrid, all-wheel-drive and sport - and while it starts up as an electric vehicle its default setting is hybrid where it automatically works out what's best given the circumstances.

An e-Save setting is also part of the software and that allows the driver to choose how much battery energy needs to be reserved for use at the vehicle's destination if going to a low emission zone.

There's a choice of six or 12 miles of EV range or if necessary the entire battery charge can be kept up your sleeve for use when required.

It's impressive on the road and has all the bases covered, from clean air running to sporty performance with a fair off-road performance thrown in for when the going gets tough.

With an electric motor on each axle as well as the combustion engine doing its bit, the Grandland X Hybrid4 can handle wet and muddy conditions with ease.

A full off-roader it is not and was never intended to be but with a towing limit of 1.25 tonnes it can lug a horsebox or the like across a grassy meadow.

Recharging the battery takes 3.5 hours from the standard 3.7kW charger or shave an hour and 45 minutes off that by going for a £500 7.4kW charger upgrade which Vauxhall is offering.

Compared to the non-plug-in Grandland the Hybrid4 has a smaller fuel tank at 9.4 gallons and boot space is reduced to 390 litres to accommodate the electrical gubbins. A maximum of 1,523 litres is available with the rear seats down - a reduction from 514 and 1,652 litres in combustion engined models.

The electrical charging point is behind a flap to the rear nearside of the vehicle while the fuel filler is on the opposite side in the same position as on the pure combustion engined versions.

There are also changes to the software displays on the car to accommodate the added electrical features but those are in addition to the range of driver systems available on the model such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot alerts and lane departure controls.

With the benefits from PHEV driving heavily weighted towards business use most Hybrid4s are likely to be leased and at they are available from £399 per month on a PCP after an initial payment of £8,379 for a model in SRi Nav trim.

In every way, the Grandland X Hybrid4 is a very capable and competent SUV but unlikely to curry much favour with everyday drivers for whom the tax advantages of plug-in driving are not that much of an advantage.

A fully electric version of the Grandland X is not available at the moment although pure battery power is going to be introduced on the smaller Mokka X SUV as part of Vauxhall's plan to offer an electrified version of each of its models by 2024.

That includes the new electric version of the Corsa which is due to be released in the next few weeks and the Vivaro van line up.

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