► Vauxhall’s latest, littlest crossover
► Testing the 1.2T 130 Elite model
► Giant boot, giant kit list, small price
Vauxhall Crossland X: a name that sounds like the result of one too many proseccos before the weekly blue-sky marketing meeting.
Decoding the moniker, the X at the end signifies it’s an SUV, but that’s where the relative sense stops. Crossland says it’ll cross… land. But this car does without much in the way of off-road capability. Did they mean Crossroad X?
Not sure that’s the solution either, but one thing’s clear: it’s the least capable X model when it comes to tackling the rough stuff. The fractionally larger and more expensive Mokka X has the option of all-wheel drive and the soon-to-arrive Qashqai-rivalling Grandland X is getting a Grip Control traction management program to shuffle twist between the front wheels.
But the Crossland X is styled like an SUV, with the ubiquitous high ride height and associated ‘commanding’ driving position. It’s set to take on the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Nissan Juke.
How does it drive?
Unfortunately the tuning of the jacked-up suspension leaves a little to be desired on the road. The Crossland X pitches and wallows under cornering and braking to the point that you simply don’t want to drive quicker than snail’s pace for fear of motion sickness or falling out of the seats, and there’s a disconcerting lack of predictability when you turn into a corner.
There’s added incongruity from the steering – in that it’s actually very good. Vauxhall’s been on a bit of a roll recently with feel and feedback and the Crossland’s helm is deftly weighted with sharp response. Totally at odds with the rest of the car, but something to be applauded.
What’s under the bonnet?
In this particular 1.2T car, the best engine in the range. The turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder can be had in two outputs – 108bhp and 128bhp – but the latter is the only one keen drivers should consider. It comes bolted exclusively to a six-speed manual ’box that’s perfectly matched to this mill’s thrummy three-pot power delivery.
Work it hard and it can on occasion feel quicker than its 9.1sec 0-62mph time suggests. It’s not what you’d call exciting, but it can be mildly entertaining. It’s what fishing is to sport.
Okay, so do the Vauxhall Crossland X’s talents lie elsewhere?
You’ve got it: pragmatism. It’s not intended to be as emotionally appealing as the Mokka X (no, really…) instead offering a boot that will swallow a small country and genuine room for four adults.
Plenty of kit on board too, with even base-spec SE cars getting a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with cruise control and automatic lights and wipers. That’s an impressive list for a car whose list price starts at £16,555.
This particular car’s a top-spec Elite, which gets more personalisation options including the contrasting roof colour.
You may think I’m damning the Vauxhall Crossland X with faint praise, and I’d struggle to dispute that. It isn’t a car that makes you yearn to take it for a spin. But that’s missing the point somewhat, because for its target market it does the job admirably well, and while we wouldn’t buy one, we suspect quite a lot of people might if sales of the Mokka X are anything to go by.