2020 Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 review: price, specs and release date
The Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 is the company’s first plug-in hybrid, combining rapid performance with impressive economy and emissions figures...
Priced from £36,790 On sale Now
Strange, isn’t it? Not so long ago, you could guarantee the fastest version of any car – especially one fitted with a petrol engine – would also be the thirstiest and dirtiest. But that’s often not the case these days, with plug-in hybrid versions of new models ripping up the rulebook by combining high performance with low running costs. The latest is this: the Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4.
Combining a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a pair of electric motors, the Grandland X Hybrid4 has a potent 296bhp and, as its name suggests, four-wheel drive. That’s enough for a 0-62mph time of just 5.9sec and a top speed of 146mph. Fully charge up the 13.2kWh battery and, according to official numbers at least, it’ll also manage 35 miles of pure electric driving.
But does the Grandland X Hybrid4’s relatively late entrance mean it’s a more polished product than its stablemates, and should you pick one over an Audi Q5 TFSIe or Volvo XC60 T8? Whatever your decision, don’t forget to have a look at our New Car Buying pages for big savings on thousands of cars.
What's the 2020 Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 like to drive?
Like most plug-in hybrids, the Grandland X has a number of different driving modes to choose from. As long as there’s charge in the battery, Electric mode does exactly what it says on the tin: it keeps the Hybrid4’s petrol engine switched off and instead uses a rear-mounted electric motor. Should you need more urgent acceleration, another motor connected to the gearbox up front can join the party to give more than adequate acceleration up to 84mph. Sink the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor and the petrol engine does wake up for maximum acceleration, though.
Hybrid mode uses a mixture of the petrol engine and electric motors to suit the current or upcoming situation, with the option to preserve battery power for later in the journey should you know you'll be entering a low-emissions zone. There’s also an AWD mode that ensures all four wheels are driven at all times, through a combination of petrol power and electricity, and finally a Sport mode that prioritises performance and rapid response from the two power sources.
Happily, the Grandland X is really rather pleasant when running purely on battery power. It's quick enough and easy to drive smoothly, and you can adjust the level of regenerative braking using the gear selector. A more aggressive setting makes the car slow down more abruptly when you lift off the accelerator pedal, meaning you don't need to use the brake pedal much at all.
Things are less rosy when you wake up the four-cylinder petrol engine. True, if you’re pottering around then it’s pretty smooth and fades into the background at a steady cruise. However, should you decide to try the 5.9sec 0-62mph time, you’ll find the engine turns rather coarse as the revs rise. It’s not just offensive to your ears, either; you feel vibrations through the steering wheel, seat and accelerator pedal, too. At least wind noise is pretty well contained, making motorway journeys a largely peaceful experience.
Unfortunately for an SUV that seems so well suited to crowded town centres with tight emission controls, ride comfort falls apart somewhat in urban environments. Hit a pothole, a manhole cover or any other road imperfection, for that matter, and there’s a noticeable jolt that ruins the calm. Mind you, our test car did have chunky 19in alloy wheels; hopefully a lower-spec model with smaller wheels will prove more agreeable.
You won’t find us complaining about the performance, though. Although in Hybrid mode you sometimes have to wait a moment for the gearbox to change down one gear and then another (in Sport mode, the car changes down two gears in one hit), you can still feel the electric motors start to whisk the car up to speed while the engine and gearbox finish pondering. Acceleration is really quite impressive; short motorway slip roads and overtakes of tractors with trailers are nothing to fear; the Grandland X Hybrid4 really does have the oomph to frighten many hot hatches.
Don’t expect to stay on their coat-tails through corners, though. There’s plenty of body lean to put you off even trying, and you’re aware of the extra weight added by the electric motors and battery.
So, what about charging times? Well, if you’re stuck with using a three-pin domestic socket, you’re looking at eight hours to go from 0-100%, although the standard Type 2 cable cuts this down to a more palatable 3hr 30min when charging from a 7kW wallbox. However, pay an extra £500 (plus VAT) and you can double the car's maximum charging rate from 3.7kW to 7.4kW, taking a 0-100% charge down to just 1hr 45min. No rapid charging compatibility is offered.
What's the 2020 Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 like inside?
Up front, it looks much the same as any other Grandland X with an automatic gearbox. Poke around and you’ll find a few Hybrid4-specific buttons and displays, but there’s no glitz or glamour to the interior. Yes, you’ll find a decent spread of squishy materials on the dashboard and doors, but the painted plastic trims and fake stitching can’t lift a rather dreary environment. Of course, if you do want a bit more flair, there’s always the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4.
We suspect practicality will be more of a concern for many, though – especially considering plug-in hybrids often have compromised boots to make space for the battery. At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be the case, with the Hybrid4 having the same amount of space above its boot floor as any other Grandland X. However, you do lose the sizeable underfloor storage area of the regular car, reducing overall carrying capacity with the seats up to just 390 litres. That's five litres less than the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, 60 less than the Q5 TFSIe and more than 100 litres down on the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4x4.