Way before the PSA Group decided to buy Vauxhall, or before they announced it, anyway, the Crossland X was announced as a joint venture. It shares a platform with the Citroen C3 Aircross, and its range of engines are French, too. But don’t go thinking this is just a rebadged rehash – rightly or wrongly, under the skin it’s quite different from its Gallic counterpart.
Clearly, it’s a little SUV; a genre that sells so many cars for so many brands. It doesn’t come with a 4×4 option. That’ll come as no surprise to most people, but it doesn’t even come with their version of the C3 Aircross’s Grip Control system or Hill Descent for tackling slightly rougher terrain, if not quite the North Face of The Eiger.
It’s designed with tarmac based, ‘lifestyle’ buyers in mind, then, but does it do enough to tempt them away from the wide & varied competition?
A Bit More Than A Raised Corsa
Speaking of design., looked at head-on, the Crossland X is very much a jacked-up Corsa with some chunky, black plastic bits. Big deal. It’s only when you get towards the sides that things get slightly more interesting thanks to a ‘floating‘ roof that can be specced in a different colour to the rest of the car. The rear of the Crossland X somehow looks narrower than the prow. Obviously, it’s taller, which helps, but it’s taken on an almost i3 look, like it’s been squashed from the sides to fit into its own bumper.
SUV or MPV?
If you look at the proportions of the Crossland X, it’s actually more mini-MPV than SUV, which makes sense as it’s taken the place of the Meriva in Vauxhall’s lineup. The contrasting roof does a good job of camouflaging its roots, but when you sit inside the Crossland X, you may well be thankful for them. You see, like all mini MPVs, disguised or not, the Crossland X is quite a bit larger inside than you might imagine. No, the design of the cabin isn’t the most imaginative or pleasing on the eye, but four adults can sit with adequate room and there’s a little fifth seat for either a little person or a big person who doesn’t have far to go.
Infinitely More British
Roomy it may be, but the Crossland X’s cabin isn’t perfect. The slouchy seats from its French counterparts have been replaced with some far more strait-laced, typically British affairs. They’re not uncomfortable as such, they’re just a bit narrow and long journeys could be something you’d think twice about attempting. Something that really hasn’t been thought out is the location of the cupholders in relation to the handbrake lever: forget you’ve got a drink in one and you’ll do well not to take the skin off your knuckles when you release the handbrake.
When it comes down to engines, there’s one diesel – a 1.5l unit with 101bhp or one petrol, a 1.2l, 3-cylinder that comes in three states of tune; 82, 109 or 128bhp – the latter two being turbocharged. The 109bhp petrol engine is the only one that’s available across the entire six-spec range, the most powerful engine isn’t available on the two cheapest specs; SE & SE Nav. The diesel and the least powerful petrol aren’t an option on the range topping Ultimate model which we have here in 128bhp guise.
This 1.2l, 3-cylinder engine with has found its way into so many Peugeots and Citroens really is rather good. It comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox which isn’t quite as much fun as the engine due to it being rather wooly, but it does the job. If you go for the lowest powered Crossland X it comes with a 5-speed manual and there is an automatic option that’s an option with any spec, but you have to have it with the 109bhp petrol engine.
The diesel engine is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the cleanest option, returning up to 58.9mpg combined. This, the most powerful Crossland X gives up to 44.1mpg which is the same figure as the 82bhp unit. Having 3-cylinders, it sounds great and will do 0-62mph in a respectable 9.1 seconds. The rest of the car isn’t really set up for performance so torque-steer and wheelspin can come in waves, but it’s a fantastic engine that makes the Crossland X more fun than you may warrant.
Could It Have Been Softer?
In terms of ride and handling, the Crossland X differs hugely from its Citroen counterpart. Gone is the wafty Gallic-ness, having been replaced with a far more British setup that promotes stiffness for improved cornering. This does work, to a point, but the elevated height of the Crossland X means it’ll only combat body-roll so far, then you can feel it give in and the car will understeer. Whether you’d prefer cornering over improved bump absorption is up to you, personally I can’t help but feel that there must have been some middle-ground option that made the Crossland X more comfortable over damaged road surfaces.
Should I Buy a Crossland X?
With the Crossland X, Vauxhall have made a decent enough job of offering plenty of space inside something that looks like an SUV without actually being one. It may not come with any terrain-bashing assistance whatsoever, but what it does come with as standard is Vauxhall’s rather good OnStar connectivity service. The fact that OnStar can call the emergency services, even if you can’t will probably be more important than off-road ability to buyers considering the Crossland X.
By Ben Harrington
Vauxhall Crossland X Ultimate Specifications
Engine – 1.2l 3-Cylinder petrol, Transmission – 6-speed manual, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Power – 128bhp, Torque – 230Nm, Emissions – 116g/km CO2, Economy – 44.1mpg combined, Maximum Speed – 125mph, Acceleration – 9.3-s 0-60 mph, Price – £23,975 OTR
The Vauxhall Crossland X is available now, priced from £17,995. For full details go to: www.vauxhall.co.uk