Vauxhall Grandland SUV - Engines, drive & performance
Comfortable, with light controls and compliant suspension, the Vauxhall Grandland dispenses long journeys with ease
It's all too easy to get hung up on a car’s outright handling prowess, but there’s a strong argument to say buyers of family SUVs such as the Vauxhall Grandland are less concerned about this aspect of their cars than, say, owners of conventional hatchbacks and saloons.
Rather than being a driver-focused, sharp-handling SUV like the SEAT Ateca, the Grandland is a relaxed, comfortable and easy car in which to cover long distances. If that’s what you’re after, it could be the SUV for you.
True, its light steering provides little feedback, but as a welcome flipside it’s an easy car to manoeuvre around town. The clutch is similarly effortless to operate and, although the gearbox provides little reward to those attempting quick, slick shifts, it's smooth enough if you take things a bit more sedately, although the brakes can feel a little grabby. This makes it tricky to draw up to a halt gently without passengers' heads nodding involuntarily.
Its front-wheel-drive layout means it isn't really designed for off-road excursions, and it's no longer fitted with the 'IntelliGrip' system designed to improve traction using clever electronics. If you need to go off-road, a model like the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a better bet.
What outright negatives there are remain slight and easy to overlook: it’s possible to detect a little wind noise around the wing mirrors once up to cruising speed, for example, but this is partly due to the Grandland’s otherwise hushed nature. Equally, while the slanting roofline has a knock-on effect where rear visibility is concerned, this is compensated for by the standard parking sensors and optional reversing camera.
Vauxhall Grandland petrol engine
The three-cylinder 1.2-litre 128bhp petrol engine offered with the Grandland is carried over from the Peugeot 3008. It’s a smooth, punchy little engine, delivering more get-up-and-go than its small capacity might suggest. Going from 0-62mph takes 10.4 seconds (10.3 if you choose the automatic gearbox) and we expect most buyers will find the petrol engine the pick of the range.
A larger, four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol producing 178bhp was also available in the range-topping Ultimate trim level, offering a significant power increase over the base engine. Discontinued for the facelifted version, it was only available with an automatic gearbox and offered the best performance of the regular Grandland X line-up, getting the car from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds.
If you need a diesel, don’t be put off: the 1.5-litre engine offered with the Grandland promises impressive economy and it's a fair improvement over the 1.6-litre engine it replaced in performance terms. It has enough pulling power that you never really need to rev it to a point that it gets overly noisy and it's very quiet at motorway speeds. Getting to 62mph from a standstill takes 12.3 seconds with the standard auto.
A 2.0-litre diesel was discontinued from the Grandland X range in early 2021.
In early 2020, a pair of plug-in hybrid models called the Grandland X Hybrid and Hybrid4 were introduced. The flagship Hybrid4 model combined a punchy 197bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, the car produced 296bhp in total and managed 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds, making it the quickest car Vauxhall sold at the time.
It was joined by a 222bhp front-wheel drive version, which was a better choice and this is now the only PHEV offered in the facelifted Grandland. It can still get from rest to 62mph in 8.9 seconds; making it roughly as quick as most 2.0-litre diesel SUVs.
It's possible to drive at up to 83mph in EV mode, but when the petrol engine does spring to life, it's reasonably smooth and quiet at urban speeds. Pick up the pace, and the petrol can sound rather strained, while we also found the eight-speed automatic can struggle to find the right ratio.