CAR REPORT: Vauxhall Grandland GS-Line Plug-in Hybrid-E 4 Turbo auto put through its paces
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It comes as a surprise to most people, but Vauxhall is Britain’s oldest surviving car brand, in continuous manufacturing since 1903, writes Alan Douglas.
It has a glorious history, producing the world’s first sports car and Britain’s first 100mph car but has suffered years of uncertainty and several changes of ownership along the way.
It is now part of the giant Stellantis Group – a name which may not be familiar but includes Fiat, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Peugeot and Maserati, so it’s in good company.
Its latest creation, the Grandland, is an expression of its revival and confidence in the future.
Alongside the latest Mokka and Astra, it’s an important car for Vauxhall and represents an impressive package, showcasing the brand’s new family styling.
The compact family SUV will be entering a packed sector which accounts for around one in six of all new cars sold in the UK.
It’s got a big job on its hands taking on the likes of VW’s Tiguan, Ford’s Kuga and the new Sportage from Kia but Vauxhall is upbeat about the challenge not least because the car comes with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, and also a plug-in hybrid, a major move towards its ambition of having its complete line-up fully electric-only from 2028, ahead of the government’s deadline and a reflection of the growth in interest in electric power.
Since its introduction four years ago, more than 70,000 Grandlands have been sold in the UK but this latest version is a big improvement in styling, performance and innovation.
The plug-in version is the one which will attract most attention with an impressive range of 39 miles in all-electric mode and CO2 emissions as low as 31g/km which means it will appeal to business users with a Benefit in Kind rate of only 12 per cent in this tax year.
The hallmark Vizor front end has a single smooth panel running between the LED headlights and incorporates a redesigned trademark Griffin logo along with sensors and radar for the driver assistance systems.
There are other significant design touches like the double-wing rear lights, black door mirror caps, sharp-edged roof spoiler and silver skid plates. The GS Line test car – it sits between the entry-level Design and top-of-the-range Ultimate – had a black roof and black trim on the bumpers, wheel arches and door cladding.
The interior has been beefed up too. Two wide screens are the basis of the Pure Panel with a digital instrument cluster and central infotainment touchscreen but there’s also a row of physical buttons for climate control and the overall look and feel is clean and uncluttered.
The ergonomic front seats have been certified for the quality of their support of good posture.
Prices have also been reduced by around £4000 from the previous equivalent models and you get more for your money with comprehensive safety and connectivity technology, wireless mobile phone charging, powered tailgate and 60/40 split folding rear seats with a ski-hatch for long items.
In a first for Vauxhall, the new Grandland is available with night vision which uses infrared cameras to detect pedestrians and animals up to 100 metres ahead.
The performance from the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 110PS electric motor set-up is impressive and the electric-only range means it’s a practical option for many owners on a daily commute with the security of a petrol engine for longer journeys.
Potential customers can go to an online virtual showroom for a one-hour slot with an expert adviser who can give a personal tour of the car they’re interested in, explain all its details and answer any questions they might have.
The new Grandland is certainly worth a look if you’re after a practical, clever and innovative piece of family transport... and you don’t have to go face-to-face with a smooth-talking salesperson if you want to find out more.
PRICE: £33,820 (£34,420 as tested)
ENGINE: 1598cc 4 cyl plus electric motor 8-speed automatic
POWER: 225 PS (petrol and electric)
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 140mph; 0-60mph 8.9 secs
ECONOMY: 192mpg combined
ELECTRIC RANGE: 39 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS: 31g/km