Vauxhall Grandland X (2017-2021) Review

Phil Hall heycar

Written by Phil Hall

7/10
heycar ratingMeat and two veg motoring
  • 2017
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, PHEV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Practical interior
  • Comfortable and refined
  • Perky and smooth PureTech petrol engine

Cons

  • Hard to drive smoothly in the city
  • Uninspiring interior
  • Play-safe looks 

Overall verdict on the Vauxhall Grandland X

"If the Vauxhall Grandland X was a pair of shoes, it would be a pair of Clarks – a firm that's daggy image clouds the fact that it produces quality footwear. The Grandland X, meanwhile, has an uninspiring exterior and boring interior that mask what is fundamentally a decent family car – even if the OTT name smacks of low self-esteem."

Vauxhall Grandland X Review 2023 Front View

And it's easy to see why the company lacks the courage of its convictions because the mechanically identical Peugeot 3008 outsold the Vauxhall Grandland X at a rate of more than 2:1 in 2019, a gap that was even bigger the year before. Our Vauxhall Grandland X review explores why.


You might not like the 3008's look-at-me styling and unconventional cabin, though, and if you fall into that category, keep reading because the Vauxhall Grandland X should be right up your street. Okay, it isn't a dazzling car to look at but it's not ugly, either, and there are plenty of positives to be taken from the inside, too.


From its heavy doors to its abundant soft-touch plastics, Vauxhall's biggest SUV feels like a quality product, although a few lazy details let it down compared to its Volkswagen Group rivals – the Volkswagen TiguanSkoda Karoq and SEAT Ateca – and its interior layout isn't as intuitive as in those cars. That said, its cabin isn't as intimidatingly eccentric as a Peugeot 3008's, either. 


Like the Peugeot, the Vauxhall has plenty of space for you and another tall adult to get comfortable in the front, while leaving plenty of room for a pair of towering specimens in the back. Even three up, adults won't feel terribly squashed in the rear seats, the boot is large and practical, too, and you get plenty of smaller storage spaces scattered about the place.  


It's not just the interior space that makes the Vauxhall Grandland X a good family car: it's also very comfortable. It might not have the fancy suspension of a premium SUV but the Grandland X smoothes over the majority of bumps like they're not there and the cabin is quiet at a cruise, which makes up for the fact that autonomous driving aids are glaringly thin on the ground.


Thankfully, the Vauxhall Grandland X's comfort doesn't come at the expense of turning it into a blancmange in corners – it doesn't roll excessively and the accurate steering means it's an enjoyable car to hustle along. 


These well-rounded road manners are a brilliant match for the Vauxhall Grandland X's excellent 130PS 1.2-litre PureTech engine. It sounds worryingly small in a car of the Grandland X's size , but you'll soon forget about its capacity when you sample its surprising punch and smooth delivery. Only when you're pulling away from the lights or overtaking in the wrong gear can it occasionally bog down while you wait for the turbo's slug of torque.


It's such a well-rounded engine that the 130PS diesel only makes senses if you spend the majority of your days on the motorway – where it will return better fuel economy – and you should only choose one of the two plug-in hybrid options if you have somewhere to charge the car, and you have a short commute that'll take advantage of its decent electric-only range. 


It all adds up to an extremely well-rounded car that's let down by its uninspiring packaging. For something with a little more razzmatazz, the Grandland X was replaced in 2022 by a facelifted version with sharper looks, a more appealing interior and new name - the X was dropped, making it simply the Vauxhall Grandland - and for may buyers, that later version will be much more like it. However, the fact it's a little older and a little bit less desirable mean that the original can be had for considerably less on the used car market.


Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Vauxhall Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Vauxhall Grandland X cars for sale. If you're looking for the updated new version of this car, you'll need our Vauxhall Grandland review.

The Vauxhall Grandland X is right for you if you're looking for a spacious family car that goes about its business without drawing attention to itself. Though some might say it's boring., the Vauxhall's a nice car to drive on open roads and its PureTech petrol engine is excellent, while you can also choose from two petrol-electric hybrids that are ideal in town, and a diesel model that's best if you often drive on the motorway.  

The Vauxhall Grandland X is seen in its best light when fitted with a 130PS PureTech petrol engine, which delivers fizzy performance – considering its tiny 1.2-litre capacity – and excellent fuel economy. It's worth avoiding the most basic Vauxhall Grandland X SE and SE Premium cars like the plague. After all, the Grandland X's rather unloved status means it's very affodable on the used market, so we'd be tempted to reap these rewards and get behind the wheel of a high-end Elite Nav or Ultimate car, which come with a leather interior and a panoramic glass roof.  

You have a huge choice if you're looking for a mid-sized SUV. The mechanically identical Peugeot 3008 has more style in its wing mirror than the Grandland X has in its entire body, while Volkswagen Group SUVs – the classy Volkswagen TiguanSkoda Karoq and SEAT Ateca – feel nicer inside and are better designed.  We'd also suggest looking at the refined Ford Kuga and, if it's hybrid power you want, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V both excel.


Other models worth considering include the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, both of which have long warranties and a reputation for reliability, plus the popular Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar.

Comfort and design: Vauxhall Grandland X interior

"The Vauxhall Grandland X shares its underpinnings with the Peugeot 3008 although there's very little to give that away from behind the steering wheel."

Vauxhall Grandland X Review 2023 Front Interior

Where the Peugeot oozes style from every shutline, the Grandland X plays things a lot safer. Out goes the 3008's mix of shapes and interesting trim pieces, and in comes the dashboard equivalent of a 'meat and two veg' dinner. It's smart and sensible, but not exactly stylish. 


What's more annoying is that the bits that don't work so well in the Peugeot are carried over to the Vauxhall. So, if you want to do anything other than turn up the temperature of the air-con, you'll need to venture onto the infotainment screen - turning a simple job into a series distracting screen presses. 


Get underway and there are a couple of other annoyances. While the clutch foot rest is a welcome addition, those with big feet will find that it does tend to get in the way when you are depressing the clutch and, while you get extendable leg rests that make the Vauxhall feel like a mobile La-Z-Boy, the air-bagged adjustable lumbar support is feeble, and you need to concentrate hard to even detect that it's working. 


What's most frustrating of all – not least for Vauxhall – is that these relatively minor niggles do their best to disguise what is fundamentally a very comfortable car to travel in.

Plastic quality is hard to fault in the Vauxhall Grandland X. The majority of the dashboard is made from spongy plastics that feel dense and expensive, and the tops of the doors are made from the same stuff. 


It's not a clean sweep, though: the stalks behind the steering wheel don't work with the same oily damping of a Volkswagen Group car, the leather seats on the Vauxhall Grandland X Elite Nav model we tried didn't feel, well, very leathery, and the commotion made when you turn on the ventilated seats makes you wonder if a tiny WW2 air raid siren is being spooled up deep inside the seat. 


Meanwhile, shining a phone torch on the centre console (done while plugging in a USB, more on that in a moment) revealed exposed cables between the gaps in the trim and, finally, neither the heated seats nor the steering wheel are capable of generating significant warmth, despite the former having three settings to choose from. 


In fairness, these are all minor complaints, but ones you won't have to put up with in the likes of the Skoda Karoq. 

Vauxhall Grandland X  SE or SE Premium models (the entry-level ones, depending on when your car was built) get a 7.0-inch infotainment screen that comes complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can use your phone's navigation and music playback apps (and many more) on the car's big screen. It's easy to navigate using the same menus you're used to on your phone and it also uses your handset's voice activation system so you can do almost everything without having to take your hands of the steering wheel. 


The rest of the range comes with an 8.0-inch centre screen, which has Vauxhall's own navigation and voice activation (neither of which you'll ever use if your phone's compatible with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay). This system comes with a three-year subscription to Vauxhall Connect which, as well as having live traffic updates, also allows you to connect to your car remotely, via an app, so you can do things like (on the hybrid model) check its battery charge status. 


Wireless charging is only fitted as standard to hybrid models (it was a £180 option on other models), which is annoying because plugging a cable into the USB or the 12V socket – which are recessed in a dark centre console cubby – is almost impossible to do at night without a torch. It's the natural place to put your phone, so it's also odd most large-screened handsets won't fit in the cubby. 

You could be tall or small and still get a comfortable driving position in the Vauxhall Grandland X because the driver's seat has a wide range of adjustment to match the rake and reach movement of the steering wheel. Elite X models are the first to add an electrically adjustable driver's seat, which makes getting comfortable that bit easier and they also add the less-than-potent heated front seats and steering wheel.


The advantages of the Grandland X's SUV body are plain to see when you get in the back because there's room for tall adults in the rear even if there are adults of a similar height sitting up front and, even with the space-eating panoramic roof fitted, there's no shortage of headroom. Sure, with three in the back it's a bit of a squeeze, but there's room in the footwells for everyone's feet and you won't feel as squashed as you do in a similarly sized hatchback. 


Passengers in the back also get their own air vents, as well as a 12V socket and USB socket, plus a centre armrest with two cupholders and a hatch to feed skis through from the boot. Meanwhile, you'll find two ISOFIX points for fitting child seats on the outer rear seats as well as on the front passenger seat. 


The boot is just as practical as the back seat. Wiggle your foot under the bumper (on top-of-the-range Elite Nav models) and the tailgate opens electrically – handy if your hands are full – to reveal a 514-litre load bay (390 litres in the hybrids) that is boxy, wide and easy-to-load despite a small lip. 


Folding the back seats is easy – you yank a couple of levers in the sides of the boot and the chairs fall down under their own weight to reveal a completely flat floor and a total capacity of 1652 litres (1528 litres in the hybrid). There's also a small storage space to hide valuables under the floor, which disappears if the optional £110 spare wheel has been specified.


In terms of smaller storage areas, the Vauxhall has plenty. All the doors have large pockets that can swallow bottles of water, there's a deep cubby under the front seat centre armrest – you'll find the wireless charging pad here in cars that have it – and there are two cup holders next to the gear stick. The only annoyance is the small glovebox, which is split in half by the fusebox in right-hand drive cars. 


If you're looking to fit the Vauxhall Grandland X into your garage, you'd be interested to note that it's 4477mm long, 1856mm wide (including door mirrors) and 1609mm high (including roof rails).

Handling and ride quality: What is the Vauxhall Grandland X like to drive?

"If you were to use a football analogy to describe how the Vauxhall Grandland X drives, you could call it 'a game of two halves'.

Vauxhall Grandland X Review 2023 Rear Side View

That's because in town, it's not that great. Making off, the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine can feel gutless before its turbocharger chimes in which, in combination with the tall gears and high biting point of the clutch, can make it an easy car to stall. Another bugbear are the brakes, which can send you hurtling towards the windscreen if you so much as breath on them: you soon learn to use them like you're driving barefoot with a tack superglued to the pedal. 


On the plus side, the steering isn't overly heavy and all but the basic model come with front- and rear parking sensors so you can squeeze into spaces, although it's odd that a rearview camera was a £341 option on all but the top of the range hybrids. The Grandland X's raised ride height also makes it ideal for traversing nasty speed humps, and that doesn't come at a cost of clumsy handling in corners. 


No, the steering is direct and accurate – if far from laser quick – and while there's some lean in bends, it's in no way excessive. It's in this second half that the Grandland X gives a much better account of itself: away from stop-start traffic, you don't need to worry about making off smoothly, the brakes aren't quite so grabby at slow speeds, and the standard LED lights produce a bright, white, well-defined beam. 


The suspension, while comfortable in town, is even better at ironing out bumps on A roads and motorways, plus the car feels stable, tracks true and doesn't suffer from overly light steering at a cruise. That said, the Vauxhall misses out on an extra layer of comfort on long hauls because it doesn't have autonomous driving aids that can accelerate, brake and steer the car for you on the motorway. 

You can have your Vauxhall Grandland X with one petrol engine, one diesel engine and a choice of two hybrids, one of which has four-wheel drive.


The 130PS 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine may be the proverbial runt of the litter, but it never feels it. It accelerates the Vauxhall from 0-62mph in a nippy 9.5 seconds and it has enough mid-range surge to feel perfectly adequate in normal driving and it doesn't get obnoxiously noisy if you ask more of it. 


The six-speed manual gearbox's slick and light shifts mean you don't resent using it, which is good because steep hills on the motorway might require you to drop down a gear or two for overtakes, although the flip side of this is that the engine's barely ticking over at a cruise. All of which makes the eight-speed automatic seem like a needless extravagance. 


The 130PS 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel is a tad slower than the petrol (0-62mph takes 10.2 seconds) which manifests itself in the engine's unwillingness to rev – it's all out of puff at 3750rpm, while the petrol gives maximum power at a comparably heady 5500rpm. As a result, we'd advise you leave the diesel unless you do lots of motorway miles where you'll see the benefit of its improved fuel economy. 


Or if you tow – the diesel will haul up to 1500kg compared to the 1400kg the petrol manages and the 1250kg the hybrids will shift. 


The hybrid models, meanwhile, come into their own if you have a short enough commute to get in and out of work on battery power alone. Both use a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that's boosted by an electric motor to produce 225PS (Hybrid) or 300PS (Hybrid4). Thanks to that extra power – and the additional traction of its four-wheel-drive system – the Hybrid4 gets from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds – almost three seconds quicker than the standard model. 

If you're looking for a family SUV that's quiet, then the Vauxhall Grandland X is one of the best. It will lollop along the motorway while barely breaking sweat – even the tiny petrol engine is well muted at a cruise – and there's not much wind noise to speak of save for a flutter around the wing mirrors. Tyre noise is also well contained except over poorly surfaced motorway sections: for best results, we'd avoid models with 19-inch wheels.


It's also a very quiet car in town and that's especially true of the hybrid models, which can clear city centres and suburbs running on all-but-silent electric power. That being said, the 130PS petrol model we tried did suffer from a very faint whine – like you were driving an old car in reverse – at slower speeds.  

The Vauxhall Grandland X scored five stars for safety when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP although it's worth noting that this was achieved under 2017's test conditions, which are far less stringent than they are today. 


Basic versions do without automatic emergency brakes and will be more likely to be involved in low-speed shunts as a result. However, they do get kit like auto-dipping headlights, lane departure warning and six airbags. 


Vauxhall Grandland X Business Edition models and above get the all-important automatic emergency brakes as well as kit like lane assist and attention assist, which warns you when you should take a break from driving. 

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Vauxhall Grandland X cost to run?

"No Vauxhall Grandland X costs a fortune to run for a mid-sized SUV but you could save a fair wedge on fuel by choosing a hybrid version if you have a short commute and a place at home to charge it."

Vauxhall Grandland X Review 2023 Back Car Seats And Rear Passenger Space

The model with the highest running costs on paper is the 130PS petrol, which will achieve up to 45mpg according to WLTP testing procedures. That drops a couple of MPG if you go for a car with the optional automatic gearbox. The 130PS diesel model will get closer to 50mpg and its fuel economy is unaffected when specified with the auto.


The hybrid models can travel up to 35 miles on battery power alone and take as little as 1hr 45m to recharge from flat using a 7.4kW wall charger. They post economy figures of 192mpg and 204mpg for the front-wheel drive Hybrid and four-wheel drive Hybrid4 models, respectively. 


It's worth remembering that the hybrids will only save you money over short distances, though. On a long motorway run, they soon run down their battery, and will then burn more fuel than the standard petrol. Blame the substantial weight of the battery for that. 

Vauxhall doesn't enjoy the best reliability record, although that is partly because of the huge numbers of cars it sells. It's inevitable that some will go wrong, but it's probably fair to say that an equivalent Hyundai or Toyota will likely be more dependable.


The 1.2-litre petrol engine did have some early issues, while electrical gremlins aren't unheard of. As is often the case, it's worth avoiding the diesel unless you cover enough miles to keep the DPF (diesel particulate filter) clear of blockages.

The Vauxhall Grandland X ranges from Group 12E insurance for a low-spec fitted with the 130PS petrol engine to 32E for an Ultimate Hybrid4 with all the kit. That's due to its complex technology and, of course, because it has plenty of performance courtesy of its 300PS powertrain.

You won't have to worry about year-one VED tax costs on a Grandland X these days because you can't buy one brand new any more. In terms of annual road tax rates, you'll pay the same £180-per-year flat rate as you will on all petrol and diesel cars. That's unless you go for one of the plug-in hybrids, which qualify for the discount given to alternatively fuelled vehicles. However, this discount amounts to only a tenner. Also bear in mind that the plug-in hybrids are the most expensive versions, and in most cases, the orginal list prices of plug-in versions would have been upwards of £40,000, which means that they're liable for the 'luxury car' surcharge. That means paying an additional £390 on top of the regular £170 annual charge until the car is more than six years old.

How much should you be paying for a used Vauxhall Grandland X?

"When the car first went on sale, prices started from around £24,000 for a Vauxhall Grandland X SE, and rose to around £35,000 for the Ultimate. As with all cars, though, prices rose significantly over time, and the arrival of the plug-in hybrid versions made top-end versions even pricier."

Vauxhall Grandland X Review 2023 profile

However, a lot of time has passed since then, and this - combined with the car's rather unloved status - means that used examples can be had for much, much less. Browse our listings, and the cheapest cars sneak in under the £10,000 mark. These are early examples with fairly punchy mileages, but both petrol and diesel engines are available at this money, and many of these examples come in appealing trim levels. If you want one of the plug-in hybrids, meanwhile, you'll be paying a minimum of about £16,000.

The trim levels available with the Vauxhall Grandland X chopped and changed a bit over the car's life, and when you include special editions, there were no fewer than 15 in total, confusing when you're trying to make sense of them and choose between them. Allow us to help.


With early cars, SE was the entry-level trim, and this came reasonably well equipped with kit like dual-zone climate control – with individual settings for the driver and front passenger – cruise control, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, auto-dipping LED headlights, rear parking sensors and automatic wipers, although the lack of automatic emergency brakes is a glaring omission. Front foglights and 17-inch alloy wheels mean it looks smart on the outside. 


Then came Design Line cars, which added front parking sensors and a moveable boot floor as well as a host of interior and exterior styling upgrades, including larger 18-inch alloys. Tech Line Nav trim was the fleet-focused option, and came with even more kit than the Design Line but for a lower price (you couldn't get the sizeable discount on this one that you could on the rest of the range. It makes a cracking used buy as a result. It came with the upgraded infotainment system, plus automatic emergency brakes and a blind spot assistant.


Sport Nav cars added some raier design touches, while Elite Nav added leather upholstery, heated front seats, powered driver's seat adjustment, a heated windscreen and a panoramic roof. Range-topping Ultimate trim added a premium sound system, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, a powered tailgate and 360-degree cameras.


Later on, the entry-level trim became SE Premium and was broadly similar to the previous Design Line trim. Tech Line Nav,became known as Business Edition Nav, while Sport Nav became SRi Nav, while Elite Nav and Ultimate trims remained. Aside from a few minor alterations, kit levels remained broadly similar to before.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The Vauxhall Grandland X is a great choice if you want a practical family car that's very comfortable to drive, especially if you're not swayed by flashy styling or a posh badge.
Yes, the Vauxhall Grandland X is the biggest SUV Vauxhall sells. It slots into the range on top of the smallest-of-all Mokka and mid-sized Crossland X.
The Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 is four-wheel drive, while the rest of the range is front-wheel drive only.

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