If you’ve been lucky enough to escape the curse of the crossover or SUV, and have lived your life unencumbered, unlike me, by the need to transport four children around, then you will probably have had blissful years driving two-seater roadsters, hot hatches and high-powered estates round the countryside.
MAY 23rd 2017
Review: Vauxhall Crossland X
If, however, you’ve given in to the clarion call of weekend practicalities, then at some point or other you will have joined the rest of humanity in an SUV of some description, whether it’s a two-wheel-drive soft-roader or a full-on 4x4 with seven seats. The Sports Utility Vehicle market remains the fastest growing one, with everyone from Dacia to Rolls-Royce in on the act. Vauxhall, unsurprisingly, now offers two SUVs: the Mokka and new, smaller Crossland X crossover (think Renault Captur, Nissan Juke, Mazda CX-3 etc). A third, the Grandland X, is coming soon.
It’s easy, from a petrolhead point of view, to scoff at these small crossovers, that have all the rugged appearances of a proper off-roader – raised ride height, chunky bumpers, protective skirts – but mostly have front-wheel drive only and might mount a grassy kerb if they’re lucky. However, drive one and you soon begin to see what the fuss is about.
I took my two sons, aged four and six, to Legoland in our white Crossland X. We piled overnight bags and toys in the boot, which has plenty of room for a big weekly shop or a couple of medium suitcases, and I bunged them in their car seats in the rear.
You cannot overestimate the importance of having raised seating when you’re loading heavy children – the fact that you don’t have to bend down is a really blessing. It’s also a huge plus that this breed of cars has such a small footprint – young families, even if they live in the countryside, spend so much time acting as taxis, dropping off and picking up from various clubs, that it’s a relief not to swing past the club for the fourth time before a big enough space becomes available.
The Crossland X styling is the usual soft-roader mix of horizontal shaping round the headlights to convey width, chunky sides and black plastic sills for that rugged look. It’s one of the better-looking cars in the segment, with its contrasting roof (available on the higher trim levels). Inside, plenty of glass makes it feel spacious – four adults have plenty of knee room – and the boot has an adjustable floor to create a flat load space when the seats are down. The standard equipment list feels generous, with Apple CarPlay, alloys, cruise control, and a touchscreen infotainment system.
The underpinnings of the Crossland X are the forthcoming Citroen C3, which is the newer version of the current Peugeot 2008 (the Grandland X will be based on the 3008). Engines are a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel and there’s a six-speed manual from launch and an automatic to come as an option.
On the move, the Crossland X demonstrates the difference between a road tester’s review and that of an ordinary customer. A road tester might consider the suspension set-up too soft, with the dampers too forgiving and not enough control. However, my boys and I loved the way it sprang along the road and the subsequent comfort. The steering is light, which is great for around town.
We tested the 1.2-litre petrol with the higher 128bhp output (there is a 108bhp version; we’d recommend the higher output, which still returns about 50mpg, depending on your route. The test car trim level, Elite, gives you rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, Bluetooth, a 7-in colour touchscreen for satnav etc, steering wheel audio controls… pretty much the lot in terms of entertainment.
The options of keyless entry (£405), heated windscreen (£100), panoramic roof (£695), diamond cut wheels (£100), winter pack (£355), bigger satnav screen (£710), wireless charging for mobiles (£160), spare wheel (£110) and “brilliant paint” (£285) took our car from £19,395 to £23,580. But you could really do without nearly all of that and you’d still have a pretty well equipped, good-looking family car. It comes to us all, in the end.
Price as tested: £23,580
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