Our long-term Vauxhall Grandland X: EV etiquette? What's that?

Published: 05 August 2020

► CAR lives with a hybrid Vauxhall
► Most expensive, fastest car Luton makes
► Reports on our Grandland X daily driver

We've already got a Renault Zoe that my wife mainly drives and which, being electric, is of course utterly dependent on our wallbox for power.

She selfishly hogs it too. Every time I come home, there's the Zoe sucking juice out of the house, like a big blue greedy baby, leaving the Grandland hybrid's batteries flat and desperate for a quick fix to restore its 24 miles of electric range. I've got a granny cable which I am running out of the garage, under the door, and is being used as a much slower, trickly, substitute.

On the standard 'big' cable, the Grandland takes less than two hours to recharge. On the little one, three times that, though.

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 Elite Nav

Price £43,400 (£43,900 as tested)
Performance 1598cc turbo four-cylinder plus e-motors, 13.2kWh battery, PHEV, 296bhp, 5.9sec 0-62mph, 146mph
Efficiency 204-225mpg (official), NAmpg (tested), 34g/km CO2
Energy cost 6p per mile
Miles this month 75
Total miles 632


Month 1 living with a hybrid Vauxhall Grandland X: hello and welcome

grandland LT hello\

When I was informed by those in power that I would be driving a very expensive, fast Vauxhall for the next few months, I wondered if perhaps I had been transferred, reject footballer-style, to CAR's sister title Classic Cars and was going to spend the summer hooning about in a Lotus Carlton – the only expensive, fast Vauxhall I could think of.

Alas, this proved not to be the case and the almost-as-expensive, almost-as-fast Vauxhall turned out to be a very different beast: the petrol-electric Grandland X Hybrid4, a modern crossover in so many senses it is hard to know where to start.

So we'll start with the basic facts. This is Vauxhall's first plug-in hybrid (the prescient range-extending Ampera not counting), with a claimed electric range of 30-plus miles from a 13kWh battery powering two electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear to provide a combined 100bhp and, hopefully, plenty of useful traction.

The electric motors work in concert with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine driving the front wheels to bring the combined output to 296bhp. (There's also a front-wheel-drive version with a total output 75bhp lower.) This is shy of the Carlton's 370-plus, but in accelerative terms there's not much in it, with the 383lb ft of torque ensuring this eco-friendly family car will hit 62mph in under six seconds.

At the same time, the official figures claim more than 200mpg and 34g/km Co2, but I think we all know that's not a realistic target. I'm optimistic, though: my regular daily driving, which involves eight miles to drop kids off at school and off to work, and then back again, means that I might actually be able to survive most of the time almost entirely on plugged power, and that life with the Grandland is defined by the 30 number, rather than the 300 one.

The model we've gone for is an Elite Nav AWD, priced at £43,400 before extras (I told you it was an expensive Vauxhall), which is stacked with all the technology expected of a crossover at this price, including memory leather front seats with ventilation, wireless mobile charging, Vauxhall's IntelliLink infotainment, blind-spot indicators and an auto kicky foot boot release sensor I will never use.

The only option is a 6.6kW high voltage onboard charger which means the battery can be replenished at home in under two hours off a standard wallbox.

So the Grandland is not short of kit, power and seemingly space too, which could mean it is a fine all-rounder, or that it is jack of all trades, master of none. In its favour, the Grandland X sits on the EMP2 platform used on the similar Peugeot 3008 and DS 7, which is not a bad place to start.

It also competes against the prince of plug-ins, the Mitsubishi Outlander, and it is here that the main battle will be fought. Yes, this is a Very Expensive Vauxhall (I think I may be hearing that phrase a few times in the coming months), but the Outlander is a Very Expensive Mitsubishi, and that has not stopped it being a roaring success.

I hope I can say the same for the Grandland after its time with us.

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 Elite Nav

Price £43,400 (£43,900 as tested)
Performance 1598cc turbo four-cylinder plus e-motors, 13.2kWh battery, PHEV, 296bhp, 5.9sec 0-62mph, 146mph
Efficiency 204-225mpg (official), NAmpg (tested), 34g/km CO2
Energy cost 0p per mile
Miles this month 0
Total miles 557

By Steve Moody

Contributing editor, adventurer, ideas pitcher, failed grower-upper

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