Mid-range SUV’s are now just about the most popular car sector in the UK, with Vauxhall launching their Qashqai competitor the Grandland X a couple of years ago. The tie up with PSA means that this model is now available with a more modern PSA Group 1.5 diesel engine & with the UK Government discounting the Benefit in Kind on EV’s & plug-in’s, has just been launched as Vauxhall’s first ever plug-in hybrid. This version combines a 1598cc petrol engine, with an electric drive system of two electric motors (combined output 109hp), all-wheel drive & a 13.2kWh lithium-ion battery.
The front electric motor is coupled to an electrified eight-speed automatic transmission, while the second motor & differential are integrated into the electrically-powered rear axle, providing all-wheel traction on demand. It’s quick too, going from 0-60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, thanks to the 200hp on offer & the 300Nm that arrives at 3000rpm.
It’s not all about speed though. The Grandland X Hybrid4 offers four driving modes; Electric, Hybrid, AWD & Sport. In pure electric mode, the car has a range of 35 miles (according to WLTP). In hybrid mode, the car automatically selects the most efficient method of propulsion.
The Grandland X Hybrid4 also features a regenerative braking system, which can increase the electric range by up to 10%. You can choose from two recuperation modes that turn the electric motors into generators, allowing electrical energy to be returned to the battery and stored.
The Hybrid4 comes with a 3.7kW on-board charger, with an optional 7.4kW version also available. The cable socket is handily located where the petrol cap would be on the rear left of the car. Vauxhall will also offer devices for fast charging at public stations, as well as wallboxes at home. With a 7.0kWh wallbox, customers can fully charge the battery in less than two hours.
Vauxhall has introduced an exclusive charging offer available Grandland X Hybrid as well as for Corsa-e customers. When opting for the brand’s electric Corsa or hybrid SUV, customers will receive a free six-month membership to the Polar charging network. With the free Polar subscription, drivers gain unlimited access to the UK’s biggest public charging network. Polar comprises over 7,000 charging points nationwide, including over 400 rapid charge points.
Most of the charging points are completely free to use. For others, the membership offer allows customers to avoid the service charge & only pay for the electricity consumed. Prices start from only 12p per kWh, which is cheaper than the average cost of charging at home. After the free six-month period, customers pay just £7.85 per month but, with no long-term contract or notice period, drivers are free to cancel at any point.
Any customers – private or company car drivers – can take advantage of the Vauxhall LEV charging offer. When purchasing a Corsa-e or Grandland X Hybrid4, the buyer will receive an inactive Polar card and leaflet from their retailer. The card can be activated online at www.polar-network.com/activate.
The new Grandland X Hybrid4 is available to order in four different trims.The Business Edition Nav Premium aimed at tempting fleet customers, is available for £36,790 on-the-road, bringing with it best-in-class BIK. All models feature the same powertrain with high spec as standard. The SRi Nav is priced at £41,500, while the Elite Nav is priced at £43,400. Topping off the range is the Ultimate Nav, which is available for £46,650.
Ion effect, the Grandland X is one of two Vauxhall SUV’s, alongside the Crossland X & to my mind, is the better looking of the pair. It’s not as different to look at the Peugeot 5008 or Citroen C5 Aircross, or as obvious as the Nissan Qashqai or Renault Kadjar, but is more akin to the Volkswagen Tiguan or SEAT Ateca. This means straighter lines & a more conservative shape.
The interior isn’t the most exciting by some way, but it’s spacious & comfortable. The centrally located 8″ colour touchscreen infotainment screen is definitely the standout. The quality & finish is very good & I have no doubt that it’s built to last. It’s just that the grey colour finish is a bit wishy-washy. Despite the washed out look, it all functions well. The heating controls are separate to the touchscreen, sitting underneath it. There’s a small storage cubby beneath which also contains a 12v socket & a single USB. The auto gear lever & the Drive Mode switch, are located between the front seats.
Tech wise, the Vauxhall touchscreen, which gets you into the SatNav & media selection, is really straightforward to use. Connecting to Bluetooth takes just a few seconds & the bonus of Apple CarPlay meant that I could sync my iPhone to the system & utilise hands-free messaging. In addition on the Hybrid4, There’s an ‘e-Save’ section of the infotainment system. On our test drive, we were encouraged to give this a go, because it allows the driver to determine how much battery energy needs to be reserved to ensure that the vehicle reaches its destination when in a zero-emissions zone. The driver can choose to save six or 12 miles of range, or reserve all of the battery energy.
Furthermore, the addition of the new Vauxhall Connect telematics service, which includes Live Navigation with real-time traffic information, gets you access to key data via the Vauxhall App. This allows you to pre programme, for example, to heat up or cool down the car’s interior, dependant on temperature outside, directly from your Smartphone.
What’s the space inside like ? Both front seat passengers get good head & legroom whilst in the rear, thank’s to the almost flat floor, three adults will have decent leg room as well. Rear passengers also benefit from a fold down centre seat armrest with two cup holders that doubles as a ski hatch..Door pockets are generous & there’s a couple of drinks holders in the centre cubby.
The addition of the batteries on there hybrid version, does reduce the boot capacity from the standard diesel or petrol Grandland X. This goes down from 513 litres to 390 litres & with the rear 60:40 seats folded down, from 1652 litres to 1528 litres. This space, although reduced, is still useful enough for most.
On the road, the Hybrid4 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In Electric Mode it silently moves off & at lower speeds the cabin is very quiet. Change up to Hybrid & you get the best of both worlds. AWD gives you more traction & the Hybrid4 can be taken off-road dealing with wet grass & some decent mud tracks with aplomb. Push the boat out in Sport Mode & the 300Nm comes to the fore, with that 5.9 seconds to 60mph giving this Grandland-X the kind of performance associated with an upmarket, German marque.
On the latest WLTP Combined Low/High fuel economy, Vauxhall claim 225-204 mpg & with CO2 emissions of just 34g/km, company car drivers should take an interest. As we’ve said before though, the only way you’ll see any kind of fuel economy return close to 200 mpg, is if you drive in Electric only, plug-in after every short journey & utilise the charge saving on offer. We’d guess that if you don’t do these things regularly & many PHEV customers don’t, then 30-35 mpg is a more likely scenario.
Whether Vauxhall have launched the Grandland X PHEV, to move a step closer to full electrification, or simply because it’s company car tax breaker, we couldn’t say. Looking at it from a purely retail perspective it’s actually an expensive car to buy, with our test model, the Ultimate NAV version costing £46,650. But & it is a big but. If you’re a company car driver & you lease one, as a higher rate tax payer , you’ll pay just £140 per month, which is astonishingly low.
From a purely fiscal perspective, company car drivers should definitely consider the Hybrid 4 Grandland X. The fact that it also drives well, is spacious & comes very well equipped helps too. Fleet managers & company directors should be aware though, that if their employees don’t utilise the car’s full electric range & charge regularly, then they could be liable to a larger than expected fuel bill.
A Budget Special 3.25/5