It’s compact yet surprisingly spacious, as well as being fashionable to look at and efficient to run. There’s no pretence at off road capability but in all the areas that really matter, the car looks to be a strong proposition.
Thanks to its Peugeot-derived platform and light PSA Group engines, the Crossland X has a huge weight advantage over its Mokka X showroom stablemate – around 200kgs – and you really feel that the first time you turn into a bend with any sort of real speed. Don’t get us wrong, the Vauxhall isn’t any sort of driver’s car, but it’s certainly a lot more agile and chuckable than you might expect. That’s helped by its lower centre of gravity and shorter stance, though body roll remains a factor. Of more interest to likely drivers is the fact that there’s a decent quality of ride on offer too – another area where this Crossland X has benefitted from Peugeot engineering. Uneven tarmac that would trouble a Mokka is dealt with in a more assured fashion, though really poor surfaces can still make themselves felt in the cabin.
Engine-wise, Crossland X drivers are offered a PSA-sourced range of three cylinder 1. 2-litre petrol powerplants, plus a couple of that French group’s 1. 6-litre diesels developing either 99 or 120PS. If budget is everything, there’s a price-leading normally aspirated 81PS petrol unit, but easily the best option in the line-up is the mid-range 1. 2-litre 110PS turbo petrol powerplant that most likely drivers will choose. It’s the only engine on offer with the option of an automatic transmission, but the gearbox makes quite a dent in the efficiency figures. Stay with a stick shift though, and this unit will give a good account of itself, delivering up to 58. 9mpg on the combined cycle and 109g/km of CO2. If you need more power, then you’re more likely to steer towards the 1. 2-litre 130PS model.
Drivers in the smallest SUV segment tend to prioritise aesthetics more than those in larger Crossover categories, so with that in mind, it’s safe to say that the Crossland X starts off with something of a head-start. Provided you choose a variant with the contrast-coloured roof, there’s something of the sophisticated, personalised feel that you get with the Griffin brand’s trendy little ADAM citycar.
Switch to a Crossland X from, say, the kind of Corsa supermini model that flows down the same Spanish Zaragoza production line and there’s hardly any acclimatisation required at all, though you will approvingly note the slightly raised driving position that SUV Crossover drivers like so much. The centrepiece of the smartly styled dash is the beautifully-integrated Intellilink infotainment screen which incorporates the usual DAB stereo, Bluetooth ‘phone and informational functions. Include the optional satellite navigation system and the screen size increases from 7 to 8-inches and you’ll be better set up to use the car’s other key technical innovation, the OnStar ‘personal connectivity and service assistant’. This includes a vehicle tracking system in case of theft, creates in your Crossland X an in-car wi-fi hotspot and will allow you to monitor key vehicle information via a downloadable ‘MyVauxhall’ smartphone app. ‘OnStar’ will also automatically alert the emergency services if the airbags deploy. And if you press the system’s blue button on the roof, you’ll be connected through to an operator who can find just about any information you might need throughout your journey.
Once inside, the first thing to say is that the slight advantages the Vauxhall enjoys in overall length over rivals really show because the Crossland X feels significantly less cramped in the back than either of those two cars. An option that we wish had been added in, is the optional sliding rear bench, available as part of an extra cost ‘Versatility Pack’ that also adds a central armrest with cupholders and rear seatback reclining functionality.
Overall, there are great grounds for optimism. You have to reason that if Vauxhall could make the Mokka into a sales success, then the prospects for the Crossland X are pretty promising. It is, after all, a significantly more competitive product, a handsome, comfortable and versatile small SUV that demonstrates just why this class of car is so popular. In short, it’s the kind of model Vauxhall needs to make. The rest is down to you.