What Car? says...
The Vauxhall Grandland was rather late to the family SUV party, turning up more than 10 years after the Nissan Qashqai sent out invites.
The Grandland (previously known as the Grandland X) gives you an elevated driving position and chunky bodywork, and is one of three SUVs in the car maker's range. As the 'Grand' in its name suggests, it's the biggest model in the line-up, offering more space inside than the Vauxhall Mokka and the Vauxhall Crossland.
We’ll leave you to decide whether you like its looks, but there’s no denying that Vauxhall has done well to disguise the fact that's it's closely related to another family SUV, the Peugeot 3008. It looks more traditional than the wildly styled 3008, and has simple, well-proportioned lines and a front ‘vizor’ grille resembling the latest Vauxhall Astra and Mokka.
In terms of engine options, you have four to choose from: a 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel and two petrol plug-in hybrids (PHEV), the Plug-in Hybrid-e and the GSe. There are also four trim levels to choose from: Design, GS, Ultimate and GSe.
Most Grandlands have front-wheel drive, but the performance-focused GSe has an extra electric motor, giving it four-wheel drive and making it the most powerful Vauxhall currently on sale. Even so, if you plan to venture off road, we’d suggest looking at something like the Range Rover Evoque.
With all that in mind, should the Vauxhall Grandland be at the top of your shortlist, and how does it compare with the best family SUVs? Well, that’s what we'll tell you over the next few pages of this review, as we rate its performance, practicality and more.
Once you've decided which model is right for you, make sure you get it for the best price by searching our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. You could save you a bundle of cash with one of our new family SUV deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Vauxhall Grandland engine range opens with the turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol (badged 1.2 130PS Turbo), producing a respectable 128bhp. Performance is punchy enough for most situations, delivering a healthy amount of muscle in the middle of the rev range. It’s our pick of the range, but if you want even more shove it’s worth noting that the entry-level Kia Sportage comes with a 1.6-litre engine and is much quicker – at our private test track, we recorded a 0-60mph time of 8.5sec for the Sportage, versus 9.9sec for the Grandland.
The 128bhp 1.5-litre Turbo D diesel Grandland accelerates more effortlessly from low down in the rev range, but runs out of puff when driven hard, and progress is hampered by the standard-fit automatic gearbox. It's best suited to those who need a relaxed cruiser. For the most oomph you’ll want the 222bhp Plug-in Hybrid-e or the 296bhp GSe plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Both can officially travel around 39 miles on electricity alone, which should cover most commutes, and there’s enough power when running on electricity around town.
Manual models have a rather long throw to their gearshift, while the automatics shift gently between gears. The hybrid’s auto gearbox can be dim-witted and slow to respond when you need a burst of acceleration, though. The petrol engine gives you the highest braked towing weight in the range (1,400kg).
Suspension and ride comfort
The ride in the Grandland isn’t as forgiving over poor road surfaces as in the Sportage or the Skoda Karoq, especially around town, where larger abrasions can send a shudder through your seat.
Ultimate trim models with the largest 19in wheels struggle to settle down the most at any speed, gently tossing your head from side to side even on roads that appear relatively smooth. The Sportiest GSe trim gets the same big wheels, but also gets upgraded suspension and Koni damping. Those additions help to combat the unsettled ride but don’t prevent the larger thuds you’ll feel through potholes.
For that reason, if you’re after comfort we’d still stick with lower-spec (Design and GS) models, because Vauxhall equips them with smaller wheels that isolate you from bumps the most.
The upside of the GSe’s upgraded suspension is that it handles better than the standard car, with better body control and less lean. That said, it’s still not exactly what you’d call dynamic on a country road – you’ll want to take a look at the BMW X1 if that’s your thing.
Even if you don’t go for the sportiest Grandland, the standard firm suspension still does a decent job at containing body movements over undulating roads. Due to the extra weight of the PHEV’s battery, it leans slightly more than the petrol and diesel versions and feels slightly more top heavy when you quickly change direction.
The steering feels vague around the straight-ahead, leading to a rather dead feel on motorways. Once you turn the wheel past the first few degrees, the car starts to change direction quite quickly, and the inconsistency can take a while to get used to. The Seat Ateca has more progressive steering and feels more intuitive, making it a better choice if driving pleasure is important to you.
Noise and vibration
The Grandland's three-cylinder petrol engine thrums away and sounds rather coarse at high revs, and there’s a constant whine at cruising speeds. It also sends quite a few vibrations through the pedals and gearlever. The diesel makes a racket too, especially at higher revs.
The PHEV runs more smoothly and quietly, but isn’t quite as polished as the best family SUVs. There’s a small amount of whine from the electric motor, and the petrol engine becomes rather coarse if you really put your foot down. The switch between petrol and electric running isn’t as smooth as in the Ford Kuga or the Sportage.
From about 50mph upwards in all versions, you have to put up with some wind noise from around the door mirrors and, on coarse surfaces, a degree of road noise too. It’s not overwhelming, but for those with particularly sensitive ears, the Volvo XC40 is noticeably quieter.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Vauxhall Grandland has a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment, and the pedals are well aligned with the driver’s seat. Most people will find it easy enough to get comfortable and you sit reasonably high up (roughly in line with Hyundai Tucson drivers, but not quite as high up as in the Volvo XC40).
Ergonomic sports seats with lumbar support are included on all but entry-level Design trim and unique Alcantara sports seats come with GSe trim. Both seats are supportive and offer plenty of adjustment, but our road testers all complained that they are simply too firm to be comfortable on a long journey. If you opt for one of the two top trims, the front seats and steering wheel are heated.
The dashboard is logically laid out, with separate climate control buttons that are easy to operate without getting distracted while you're driving. The Peugeot 3008 and the XC40 force you to delve into the infotainment screen just to change the interior temperature.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
You get a good forwards view in the Grandland, but the shallow rear window doesn’t offer the best view backwards. The boxy Skoda Karoq, for example, is far easier to see out of.
Fortunately, Vauxhall gives you front and rear parking sensors on all trim levels, and a rear-view camera is standard on GS models and above. If you want a full panoramic camera, you’ll need to step up to Ultimate trim.
Bright LED headlights are standard across the range, and range-topping Ultimate trim gets adaptive LED headlights that can shape their main beam so they don't dazzle other drivers. You can even specify a night vision camera on Ultimate trim. That beams an infra-red view of the road ahead on to the dashboard, in theory highlighting hazards before you can actually see them. However, we reckon it’s almost always better to keep your eyes on the road than the dashboard.
Sat nav and infotainment
In entry-level Design trim, the Grandland comes with a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth audio streaming as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. GS, Ultimate and GSe trims get a larger 10.0in touchscreen with built-in sat-nav.
The screens have reasonably crisp graphics – although not as good as in the Kia Sportage or the Karoq – but need to be prodded quite firmly to get a response.
Some tasks, such as pairing your phone using Bluetooth, involve delving into the screen's sub-menus, which can be a little frustrating to navigate. The physical shortcut buttons under the screen are a welcome touch, and there are audio controls on the steering wheel for convenience on the move.
The upper levels of the Grandland's dash have soft-touch plastics, with gloss-black and chrome-effect trim pieces to add visual interest. Higher-spec models make greater use of metallic finishes to help lift the ambience.
Some of the rotary controls don’t feel particularly tactile, while the pull-down storage cubby below the headlight controls feels particularly cheap.
The Grandland’s interior doesn’t have the wow factor of the Tucson, the Peugeot 3008 or the premium Volvo XC40. Even the cheaper Karoq feels more sumptuous overall.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There’s more than enough head and leg room in the Vauxhall Grandland for taller adults, and the interior is wide enough to ensure that front-seat occupants won’t clash elbows.
As with the Peugeot 3008, the Grandland’s glove box is tiny, but unlike in the 3008, the central storage bin under the front armrest is small too and there are fewer storage cubbies.
Rear legroom in the Grandland is reasonable, with a small amount of foot space under the front seats. Just bear in mind that the Tucson, the Kia Sportage, the Skoda Karoq and the Volvo XC40 all offer more.
Those models are slightly wider too, and better suited to carrying three adults abreast, although the Grandland’s near-flat floor does at least give the middle passenger plenty of foot space.
Seat folding and flexibility
Folding rear seats are standard in the Grandland, but they split 60/40, rather than the more versatile 40/20/40 arrangement some rivals offer. You’ll have to go for GS to get a centre rear seat armrest with a ski flap.
It’s easy to get the backrests down because there are handy quick-release levers right next to the tailgate opening.
The Grandland doesn't have rear seats that recline, as they do in the Sportage, nor do they slide forwards and backwards, which they can in the Karoq from SE L trim and up, and in the VW Tiguan.
At 514 litres, the boots in the petrol and diesel Grandlands are spacious enough to take a buggy or a couple of large suitcases with ease. It’s a practical shape, with no awkward intrusions. We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases below its tonneau cover, which is two more than we managed to fit in the back of a Honda HR-V but one less than we got in the Sportage and Karoq.
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Grandlands have their batteries under the boot floor, reducing capacity to 390 litres. That’s a big loss on paper, but it still leaves you with enough space for a big weekly shop or a family’s holiday luggage. If you want a PHEV with a truly massive boot, take a look at the Tucson.
Ultimate and GSe models get a powered tailgate that you can open with a swipe of your foot below the rear bumper when your hands are full.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Vauxhall Grandland price starts higher than the Nissan Qashqai but undercuts the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and the premium Volvo XC40. However, because the Grandland has some of the poorest predicted resale values in the class, you might not find such good PCP deals. You can check the best prices on our New Car Deals pages.
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models, on the other hand, are too expensive for us to recommend to private buyers buying outright. A monthly finance contract can make more sense, and if you’re a company car driver, it's a tempting proposition because of the low company car tax compared with more conventional rivals, including the mild-hybrid Volvo XC40 B4.
Fuel economy should be impressive across the range, with the 1.2-litre petrol engine returning 39.7mpg on our mixed test route (an entry-level Sportage managed 36.1mpg). The diesel version can officially manage almost 50mpg but, as you might expect, it’s the PHEVs that promise the highest efficiency. Officially, you should get about 192mpg, but our experience suggests that that that's optimistic unless you charge the battery regularly and drive very conservatively.
Equipment, options and extras
All Grandland trims include alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights (including high-beam assist) and auto windscreen wipers.
Our favourite trim is GS, which is still reasonably priced and adds a host of desirable features, including a larger 10in infotainment system, built-in sat-nav, a rear-view camera and an ergonomic driver’s seat.
Depending on which engine you go for, the top-spec trim will either be Ultimate or GSe. Both come with some genuinely useful gadgets, but they’re both far too expensive to recommend, especially when you consider their price tags aren’t that far off the premium BMW X3.
In our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey, Vauxhall as a brand finished 23rd out of the 32 included manufacturers. That places it above Ford and Peugeot, but can’t match Kia, Skoda and Volkswagen.
We don’t have data for the new Grandland just yet, but the 2018-2021 Grandland X managed to finish around the middle of the family SUV table, one place above the Qashqai but way above the Peugeot 3008 (which came last). The Sportage, the Tucson and the Skoda Karoq all fared much better, sitting near the top of the table.
Like all Vauxhalls, the Grandland comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty and a year of roadside assistance. That matches the cover provided by most manufacturers, but can’t beat the five-year warranties offered by Hyundai and Toyota, or Kia’s class-leading seven-year package.
Safety and security
The Grandland has six airbags, and like most rivals, it was awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP. The Volvo XC40 does a slightly better job of protecting the chests of front and rear-seat occupants in front collisions.
Entry-level Design cars come with lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking (AEB), a driver drowsiness alert, a blind-spot warning and Isofix child-seat mounts on the front passenger and outer rear seats.
Every Grandland comes with an alarm and engine immobiliser. Security experts Thatcham gave the model four out of five stars for its ability to resist being stolen from, but five stars for resisting being stolen altogether.
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The only version with four-wheel drive is the top spec GSe. That performance-focused trim comes with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engine that uses its engine to drive the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rears. It's not an off-roader as such, though.
Yes, unless you opt for the entry-level Design trim. All others come with built-in sat-nav and an upgraded 10in touchscreen infotainment screen.
If you avoid the entry-level Design trim, every Grandland comes with a rear-view camera, which is upgraded to a 360-degree camera if you go for Ultimate or GSe trim. Those two trims also come with a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.
|RRP price range
|£29,620 - £45,850
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|diesel, petrol parallel phev, petrol
|MPG range across all versions
|201.7 - 51.3
|Available doors options
|3 years / 60000 miles
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£573 / £2,414
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£1,145 / £4,828