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Vauxhall Grandland Ultimate 1.5 Turbo D Automatic

This is the new, refreshed Vauxhall Grandland. It looks much improved over its predecessor, doesn’t it? Looks, design – call it what you will – are of course subjective, but in this specification and two-tone colour combination, you’ll be a pretty strong glass-half-empty kind of soul to think otherwise. For a mid-life refresh, there’s a lot of little changes been made, the most obvious being the name. Grandland X is now just Grandland, like it’s smaller sister, the Crossland. 

There’s a new front end, bumpers, grille, and headlights to give Grandland the new Vauxhall family face of the Mokka and freshly launched Astra with the Vauxhall Vizor – that’s a grille to you and me. At the back, the only real changes are LED taillights and the new Grandland name being spread across the middle of the boot lid. 

Inside there’s a new dashboard, containing a new digital dial screen with switchable modes. It looks pretty good, in a different shade of grey kind of way. The infotainment display and workings are lifted straight from the Corsa, but it’s starting to look a bit dated against the latest Astra and some of its competitors.

But really, it’s all about the outside, especially in the top specification Ultimate guise we have here, with the punchy tri-metallic Cobalt Blue paint, contrasting black roof and 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels. As part of a wider rationalisation of the Vauxhall range, Vauxhall has slimmed down the Grandland line-up since the X days to three choices – entry level Design, sporty GS Line and top-of-the-range Ultimate. They’re all pretty nicely equipped, but let’s focus on the Ultimate, as that’s what we’re feasting our eyes on. 

A few key highlights for me are a heated front windscreen, fancy LED headlights that Vauxhall call ‘Intellilux’, full body-coloured bumpers, Alcantara seats and 360-degree parking camera with park assist. Unfortunately, because this is a pre-production car, the last two are missing from our car, but we do have an optional extra, a tow bar. 

Engines I hear you say? Well, I’m pleased to report the Grandland has one, and it’s diesel. Rejoice! Special recognition should be sent to Vauxhall, along with Peugeot, Citroën, and DS Automobiles for offering cars with a choice of petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid drivetrains. We still need choice for our different needs, and they give it. 

Yes, I’m grateful we can have a diesel engine, but there’s now only one engine on offer, the 1.5-litre 129bhp unit – gone is the mighty 2.0-litre 174bhp unit that we had in the Peugeot 5008 that I said a sad goodbye to last month. I jumped into the Grandland with a thousand miles on the clock, so already partly run-in, but it didn’t feel particularly willing to move with any urgency, compared to my old 5008. I have tried very hard to keep an open mind and keep comparisons out of the room, but it was difficult not to notice the difference. One glimmer of hope is that I know that these engines get better with additional miles on the clock, so I’m looking forward to that. Already the engine feels more flexible, and the torque is really starting to shine through. Official fuel economy figures are in the low 50s, and the Grandland isn’t far off that already, registering 49.1mpg.

Engine power aside, it was really handy jumping out of the 5008 and straight into the Grandland to see how the two manufacturers tune and develop what is essentially the same platform underneath the two cars. First impressions are of harder, but still comfortable, front seats, though you feel like you’re sitting on them, rather than relaxing into them. And similarly, the ride feels stiffer, which is great for going around corners, but maybe trickier when photographing out the back of it. Only time will tell whether that causes me an issue… 

Mileage 2,103
Date arrived 9th June 2022
Economy (combined) 53.3-54.3mpg
Economy (On test) 49.1mpg

What's Hot

Haven’t driven much in the dark yet, but the Intelligent main beam works well. No dazzled drivers.

What's Not

1,000 miles on the clock, but the paint has flaked off already. New one is on order.

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