French bred

It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. Vaux­hall’s Peu­geot-based cross­over is a win­ner

CAR (UK) - - First Drives - COLIN OVER­LAND @ColinOver­land

NO POINT pre­tend­ing this is any­thing other than a lightly re­jigged Peu­geot 3008, but equally there’s no rea­son to with­hold the praise this new Vaux­hall de­serves. The 3008 is bang on the money as a fam­ily-friendly com­pact SUV, and so’s the new Vaux­hall ver­sion.

If, for what­ever practical or emo­tional rea­sons, you’d rather buy a Vaux­hall than a Peu­geot, the Grand­land X makes ev­ery bit as much sense. Con­ceived be­fore the sale of GM’s Euro­pean op­er­a­tions to PSA, the Grand­land X is a well ex­e­cuted ex­am­ple of badge en­gi­neer­ing. You don’t have to look fur­ther than key ri­vals such as the Nis­san Qashqai and VW Tiguan to see how preva­lent this is; the Re­nault Kad­jar and Seat Ateca re­spec­tively are close rel­a­tives of those two.

How’s it dif­fer­ent from the Peu­geot? Not in the en­gines – you get the same choice of 1.2 turbo petrol (128bhp) or 1.6 tur­bod­iesel (114bhp), both avail­able with six-speed man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions. It’s front-drive only, as with the Peu­geot.

The body is broadly the same too. But the styling is dif­fer­ent, with sev­eral el­e­ments adapted from the As­tra, and so’s the in­te­rior, which is more con­ven­tional than the Peu­geot’s.

Prices for petrols start at just over £22,000 and diesels £1000 higher. Au­to­matic trans­mis­sion adds £1500. Th­ese prices are a big step up from the next class down, but in line with di­rect ri­vals.

Stan­dard equip­ment on the base SE in­cludes cruise con­trol, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, front fog­lights, rear park­ing sen­sors, LED tail lights and day­time run­ning lights, and touch­screen-based in­fo­tain­ment (in­clud­ing DAB ra­dio) de­signed for easy in­te­gra­tion with your smart­phone.

Go for a higher spec – Tech Line Nav, Sport Nav or Elite Nav – and you get kit in­clud­ing for­ward col­li­sion alert with emer­gency brak­ing, a driver drowsi­ness sys­tem, pedes­trian pro­tec­tion, a pow­ered tail­gate and plenty more. Op­tions in­clude leather trim, au­dio up­grades, a black roof and a panoramic sun­roof.

It’s a fam­ily car, as much about the pas­sen­gers and the lug­gage as the driver. Ev­ery­one’s well catered for, with a boot and cabin that are not just roomy but feel user-friendly and well made. But it’s not with­out its plea­sures for the driver: the man­ual 1.6 diesel we drove is a crack­ing en­gine, and the Grand­land X steers well. The sus­pen­sion is fo­cused on com­fort rather than pre­ci­sion, in line with most com­pact SUVs; this isn’t pre­tend­ing to be a Porsche Ma­can ri­val. But on first im­pres­sions it’s ready to go head to head with the Qashqai, Kad­jar, Tiguan, Ateca and Ford Kuga.

App-based screen is from In­signia rather than 3008

Vauxhll atylists have made a spir­ited at­tempt at su­per­im­pos­ing As­tra curves on to a Peu­geot

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