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Long-term report – Our Vauxhall Grandland X proves size does matter

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Our man begins to warm to the Grandland X, but it’s not a love story just yet

I have to admit that the cars in my custody rarely get used to full capacity. I don’t have any bulky hobby equipment, I don’t have children to stick in the back seat, and my sister’s cavernous Skoda Superb tends to be the vehicle of choice for family outings.

But a recent industry test day up at Millbrook Proving Ground saw the rear bench of our Vauxhall Grandland X finally get some use, as three of us made the 100-mile trek from Southampton to Bedfordshire.

The Grandland X is a big car, something that’s easy to forget from behind the wheel – the feather-light controls and decent visibility frontwards mean it’s simple to place on the road. Fellow staff writer Ryan wasn’t lacking for space in the back row, even behind two six-foot front-seat passengers. There’s decent legroom and, despite the panoramic glass roof, ample headroom.

The 514-litre boot made short work of our meagre backpacks too. Again, I rarely use the boot beyond simply throwing in a few bags of shopping, but it’s good to know that the capacity is there if I end up buying more 1960s furniture from eBay (a frighteningly common occurrence).

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Yet bigger isn’t always better – especially when it comes to parking. I’ve no issues in my car park at home, but visiting my parents involves parallel parking in a very crowded street. I’ve found myself wishing the Grandland X was less… grand, at least when trying to squeeze into a spot two streets away.

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It’s parking that shows up the Grandland’s shocking rear visibility, too, with a shallow rear window and thick C-pillar making me wish our long-termer had a reversing camera in addition to the standard parking sensors.

One area that certainly doesn’t need downsizing any more is the engine. It’s a tiny 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol with 128bhp, and I’m impressed with its cruising ability – it’s returning a steady 45mpg – still around 10mpg off the claimed figure, but impressive nonetheless for a hefty petrol-powered SUV.

So the Vauxhall is growing on me just a tiny bit – although I still don’t enjoy driving it. A recent trip to the hand car wash got the Golden Sunstone paint gleaming again, but left me with one more unwelcome size-related surprise – the Grandland qualifies as a ‘large car’ and therefore costs me £8 rather than the usual £5. I think it looks better dirty, and my wallet agrees.

  • Model: Vauxhall Grandland X 1.2 Turbo S/S Sport Nav
  • Price: £28,175
  • Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol
  • Power: 128bhp
  • Torque: 230Nm
  • Max speed: 117mph
  • 0-60mph: 10.9s
  • Fuel economy: 55.4mpg
  • CO2: 117g/km
  • Mileage: 6,724

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