Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Vauxhall Grandland review - Engines, drive & performance

The Grandland is smooth and comfortable, but doesn’t offer as much fun as rivals

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

​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. Further suspension tweaks for 2023 made the Grandland even better at coping with bumps, which is a welcome trait on British roads, even if it does lead to a bit more body lean than most rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Cupra Ateca.

Advertisement - Article continues below

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 calmly – although the brakes can feel a little grabby. This makes it tricky to gently draw up to a halt without passengers' heads nodding involuntarily.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

However, this relaxed nature becomes a problem in the high-performance Vauxhall Grandland GSe variant. While other hot SUVs such as the Cupra Formentor offer a driving experience similar to that of a nimble hot hatchback, the Grandland GSe feels uninspiring on a twisty road, unable to shake its near-1,900kg bulk. The benefit of all-wheel-drive traction is certainly welcome, however, the SUV’s numb steering makes it difficult to exploit the performance that’s on offer.

Other outright negatives remain slight and are easy to overlook; it's possible to detect a little wind noise around the door mirrors once up to cruising speed, for example, but this is partly because of 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), we expect most buyers will find it to be the pick of the range.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

On the road, the 1.2-litre engine has plenty of pulling power when mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. When accelerating, it gets up to speed quickly without ever feeling strained, and is flexible with ample power for overtaking manoeuvres. The gearbox is precise and feels slick to use, and refinement is good, with only a small amount of engine noise noticeable from the driver’s seat. We haven’t tried the 1.2-litre Grandland Hybrid yet, but with slightly more power and a 10-second 0-62mph time, it should feel even quicker off the mark.

A larger, four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol producing 178bhp was previously 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 delivered the best performance of the regular Grandland X lineup, getting the car from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds.

Diesel engine

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 increase in performance over the 1.6-litre unit it replaced. It has enough pulling power that you never really need to rev it to the point that it gets overly noisy, and it's very quiet at motorway speeds. With 129bhp at its disposal, the Grandland diesel will reach 62mph in 12.3 seconds, with help from its standard eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Hybrid engines

As part of the facelift in 2021, the Grandland X Hybrid and Hybrid4 models were replaced by a single variant: the Grandland Hybrid-e. It combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13.2kWh battery, producing a total power output of 222bhp.

Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and this is now the only PHEV offered in the facelifted Grandland at launch. 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 springs to life it's reasonably smooth and quiet at urban speeds. Pick up the pace, and the petrol can sound somewhat strained, while we also found the eight-speed automatic can struggle to find the right ratio.

Offering even more punch is the 296bhp plug-in Grandland GSe; billed as a performance SUV to rival the Volkswagen Tiguan R, this gets from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.1 seconds, thanks to all-wheel-drive grip. Unfortunately, like the standard PHEV, the gearbox tends to fumble around once you put your foot down and it doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as a hot hatch such as the Hyundai i30N.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £26,278

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 Plug-in Hybrid GS 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £40,000

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 Plug-in Hybrid [300] 4X4 GSe 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £44,895
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

All-new Vauxhall Grandland SUV gets EV option with 435-mile range
Vauxhall Grandland front quarter
News
22 Apr 2024

All-new Vauxhall Grandland SUV gets EV option with 435-mile range

Hot car deal: versatile Vauxhall Grandland SUV for just £148 a month
Vauxhall Grandland tracking
Deals
8 Mar 2024

Hot car deal: versatile Vauxhall Grandland SUV for just £148 a month

Vauxhall Grandland review - a family-friendly SUV, but lacks flair
Vauxhall Grandland SUV - front 3/4 dynamic
In-depth reviews
6 Feb 2024

Vauxhall Grandland review - a family-friendly SUV, but lacks flair

Hot car deal: fully-loaded Vauxhall Grandland SUV for just £210 per month
Vauxhall Grandland SUV - front 3/4 dynamic
Deals
15 Jan 2024

Hot car deal: fully-loaded Vauxhall Grandland SUV for just £210 per month

Have You Considered

Peugeot 3008 review - a great all-round family SUV
Peugeot 3008 SUV front cornering
In-depth reviews
22 Apr 2024

Peugeot 3008 review - a great all-round family SUV

Bentley Bentayga review – an opulent and comfortable SUV
Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
In-depth reviews
17 Apr 2024

Bentley Bentayga review – an opulent and comfortable SUV

Most Popular

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
17 Apr 2024

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

All-new Citroen C3 Aircross squeezes 7 seats into small SUV body
Citroen C3 Aircross front quarter
News
18 Apr 2024

All-new Citroen C3 Aircross squeezes 7 seats into small SUV body

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
19 Apr 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
best electric cars
Best cars
28 Mar 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024