A sheep in wolfs clothing.
Can you have too many crossovers in your range ? Vauxhall don’t think so. Joining the Mokka , Vauxhall recently have launched the Crossland X, which is a spacious, economical & practical family hatch back, based on the Peugeot 2008 platform & looks not unlike the Renault Captur.
The Nissan Juke has a lot to answer for, because the growth of the small crossover/SUV shows no signs of abating. However, the Crossland X is not really a competitor for the Juke, that would be more the Mazda CX-3, striking but not very practical, than the Vauxhall, which is much more in competition with the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur & soon to be launched Citroen C3 Aircross & KIA Stonic.
What this first Vauxhall-Peugeot alliance has in effect created, is a decent, user-friendly family car. The Walker family rented a 2008 this Summer in Lisbon & although as a rental it is classed as smaller than the Golf or Focus, it actually offers loads more practical space & swallowed four suitcase in the boot no problem at all. As the Crossland is based on the 2008, it will do exactly the same.
I mentioned the Captur before & if you squint then the Crossland does look a lot like the Renualt. It even comes with a similar selection of mix & match colour combination with my test model in Lava Red with a Mineral Black roof. Keeping things simple, there’s only one bodystyle to choose from & three specs; SE, Tech Line Nav & Elite. Don’t be confused though, as both the SE & Elite are also available in ‘Nav’ grade, which adds SatNav for an additional £700.
Engine choices are also straightforward. Entry level is the naturally aspirated 80bhp1.2-litre petrol engine. with a 5-speed gearbox. Then there’s the turbocharged 1.2 with 108bhp & my test model the 128bhp 1.2 turbo, offering a 0-62mph time of 9.1 seconds & a top speed of 128mph. The most economical choice would be the entry-level diesel, a turbocharged 1.6-litre with 98bhp with a claimed 76.3mpg on the combine cycle & with CO2 emissions of 93g/km. Above this, sits the more powerful 118bhp diesel,which is also impressive economy, coming as it does with a combined figure of 70.6mpg & 105g/km of CO2’s.
All models, apart from the non-turbo 1.2, come with ecoTEC stop-start technology, as well as a 7” touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, so is sure to tick MiIlenial’s boxes. Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge services are also included, as are cruise control, climate control, auto lights & auto wipers. Impressive.
As I mentioned, we drove the 130PS 1.2 petrol & it’s a competent performer. Up & down the A1 motorway it cruised well & was remarkably quiet. On the smaller roads near Wetherby it handled the winding country roads with aplomb, although when driving on uneven roads, there is a noticeable shudder in the cabin. Acceleration is adequate but as I tested it alone, I wouldn’t expect it to be that great with a full compliment of passengers & luggage. Compared to it’s nearest rivals it’s remarkably similar to drive, although the smaller 2008 steering wheel gives the Peugeot the advantage for fun, in what is ostensibly a large city car. I mentioned the Astra earlier & although the Crossland X is far more practical, with loads of space inside for 5 adults, the Astra is galaxies ahead to drive & handles much, much better.
The Crossland’s interior falls a little short of that found inside competition, mainly because it’s bland. Part of this is because it’s been cleverly designed & packaged to maximise space, but the blandness is exasperated by some cheap grey plastics on the dash & doors. Despite a leather steering wheel, which is standard across the range & with my test model including ambient LED lighting & a 7” colour touchscreen, internal ambience is severely lacking.
Despite the un exciting interior, in reality, the Crossland X is really aimed at being a practical solution for it’s buyers & in this respect it ticks all of the boxes. There’s loads of room inside for both passengers & luggage, with plenty of cup holders & storage solutions thoroughout the cabin.
Although it’s only available with five seats, for £300, you can add the Versatility Pack, which gives you a sliding rear bench, which can increase boot space by up to 100 litres & 40:20:40 split-fold seats. Overall there are 410 litres of space with all 5 seats in place, which increases to an extremely useful 1225 litres with the rear seats folded down. It’s an easy car to load as well, with it’s large, flat floor, allowing access direct from the bumper height, all finished in a tough feeling great fabric carpet.
This may seem like damning with faint praise, but the Crossland X does what it say’s on the box. Just don’t expect excitement or an upmarket interior as neither is forthcoming. My test car the Elite 1.2T 130PS retails at £19,395 OTR which I think is about right. It offers cheap, economical motoring & if you need a bit of practicality then it may well be for you. From the outside it’s not a bad car to look at either. If pushed, I would always choose the Astra, which was our Car of the Year in 2016, over the Crossland X or any of it’s competitors, which probably says more about me than the car itself.
A Blandings Castle 3/5.