- The car Vauxhall Grandland X Elite Nav 1.2 130 Turbo S/S
- Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer
- Why it’s here To see if Vauxhall’s late entry to the SUV market is worth considering over accomplished rivals such as the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008
- Needs to Be cheap to run, provide smooth transport on long journeys and have enough space inside for the family’s clutter and all the camera gear
Price £26,660 Price as tested £28,490 Miles covered 12,800 Official fuel economy 52.3mpg Test economy 37.2mpg Options Wireless phone charging (£160), heated windshield (£100), fixed panoramic sunroof (£695), spare wheel (£110), Winter Pack 2 (£200), two-coat metallic paint (£565)
3 August 2018 – safety technology: a help or hindrance?
As one of the longest-serving members of the What Car? team, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve probably run more long-term test cars than anyone else at the magazine. It’s one of the real highlights of my job, and even though friends and family often ask questions like, “don’t you get fed up of having to move from car to car”, the honest answer is no – I genuinely never get bored of it. Not only do my long-termers allow me to keep up to date with new models and breakthrough segments within the industry (the family SUV class that the Grandland X occupies, for example, didn’t exist twenty years ago), but they also give me early access to new technology.
Indeed, from the Tesla Model S to the hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, I love getting to grips with new tech – especially if it makes life behind the wheel more enjoyable. And yet I don’t particularly like the modern batch of safety tech such as lane-departure warning and automatic emergency braking. You know, the systems that ‘help’ you from either drifting too close to the white lines or from ramming into the rear of a slowing car in front.
In theory, they make a lot of sense – forget airbags and crumple zones, the best way to remain safe is to avoid a crash in the first place. But in reality, I just feel like they’re a distraction. The Grandland X comes as standard with traffic sign recognition, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. And while this does enable it to score a full five stars on Euro NCAP's safety tests, I always turn them off as soon as I get behind the wheel.
Now, that might sound a little reckless, but, I figure, if you’re struggling to remain in your lane to the extent that you need to rely on intervention from the car, you probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place. And the same goes for the blindspot monitor. I just feel it promotes sloppy driving. Performing ‘lifesaver’ checks, indicating early and double-checking your mirrors will always be safer than relying on a little orange dot blinking away at you.
Having said all of this, I appreciate that these systems are a massive plus for safety-conscious families, so I thought it was worth pointing out that the Grandland X Elite Nav does indeed get them as standard. Talking of which, I’ve just discovered a number of clever little standard features that have made Grandland X ownership all that more enjoyable. More on that next time.
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