First Drive: Vauxhall’s Crossland X takes on compact SUV rivals
What is it?
Look throughout any manufacturer website and it’s likely that SUVs will now make up at least a small section of their vehicle offerings – even companies like Lamborghini and Aston Martin are well on the case with their own off-roader.
And Vauxhall is no different. It’s got the large Grandland X, and it’s also got this – the smaller Crossland X. And though, in truth, it’s largely a compact car wearing the mask of a SUV we’ve been out to see what if it can take on other rivals in the segment.
Underneath, the Crossland X uses the same platform as the Peugeot 2008 and the Citroen C3 Aircross, and it uses the French firm’s running gear too – so the gearbox and engines are the same.
But it’s far from just a cut and paste job. The exterior styling follows suit with the rest of Vauxhall’s line-up, while the interior benefits from the firm’s own infotainment system too.
What’s under the bonnet?
Our test Crossland X featured a 1.5-litre diesel engine, producing 100bhp and 250Nm of torque. It doesn’t endow the car with sparkling performance figures, but a 0-60mph time of 11 seconds and a top speed of 111mph means it won’t be left completely for dead by day-to-day traffic.
Efficiency-wise, Vauxhall claims 55.4mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 107g/km. Both are pretty par for the course in this segment. The diesel engine will undoubtedly be the go-to option for long distance drivers, though petrol-powered versions are available too, of course.
Despite its chunky looks there’s no four-wheel-drive here, with the six-speed manual driving just the front wheels alone.
What’s it like to drive?
The Crossland X isn’t blessed with sparkling dynamics nor telepathic driver-car feedback, but then we wouldn’t expect it to be. The real questions you ask of a car like this revolve around how easy it is to drive, and how comfortable it is.
And for both parts it largely ticks the boxes. The controls aren’t heavy, with the gearbox and clutch both light and effortless to use. The ride is a little choppy though, and the car can become unsettled by bumps in the road quite easily. Steering feel is absent, but it’s not a hard car to position – both because the steering is quite predictable and because the car isn’t that large.
The engine doesn’t have a lot of shove, and needs to be worked hard in order to maintain progress. We’d like a little more power, in honesty.
How does it look?
The Crossland X certainly has plenty to keep the eye interested. Big chrome sections, a contrast roof and a wide, rounded front help to keep things as interesting as they can be. We’re not so keen on the rear-end styling, however; it’s a little blunt and looks a touch unfinished. It’s all down to personal opinion, of course.
Livelier colours certainly help things out, as in more drab shades the Crossland X tends to fade into the background.
What’s it like inside?
Inside the Crossland X things are a bit of a mish-mash. Overall material quality isn’t that high, with quite a lot of harsh plastics used throughout. The cabin has been brightened thanks to various aluminium-effect elements, but the overall effect is quite drab.
The driving position itself isn’t that bad, and you have a good view forwards. The narrow rear screen doesn’t restrict rearwards visibility, however. Rear seat space is decent, with plenty of knee and headroom for those sat in the back too.
Boot space-wise, the Crossland X offers 410 litres of standard, which rises to 1,255 litres if you fold the rear seats down – they don’t go completely flat though, unfortunately.
What’s the spec like?
There’s plenty of standard equipment to be found on the Crossland X’s kit list. Standard features include a full infotainment system accessed via an eight-inch colour touchscreen; it incorporates satellite navigation, media functions and audio control. While it isn’t the most intuitive of systems nor the most detailed, it’s easy enough to get along with after a while. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto means that integrating your smartphone into the car’s system is a breeze, too.
Cruise control is also bundled in as standard on Elite Nav specification, as tested here, along with tinted windows, 17-inch alloy wheels and steering wheel-mounted controls.
In short, you shouldn’t really be left wanting for more when it comes to standard equipment on the Crossland X.
The Vauxhall Crossland X doesn’t break any new ground. It does, however, provide plenty of space, decent levels of equipment and relatively funky looks – so it does what a small SUV needs to do.
Could we recommend it over rivals such as the Renault Captur, or even the Peugeot 2008 upon which the Crossland X is based? Not quite. But while the Vauxhall may appear more expensive than rivals, it counters with good levels of standard equipment and plenty of practicality.