Sunday, 17 January 2021

Ultra-smooth hybrid is dapper and debonaire

Ultra-smooth hybrid is dapper and debonaire

The good news for sport utility vehicle (SUV) fans that want a decent hybrid to choose from is that Vauxhall has in its line-up the Grandland X Hybrid.

This model, with its front-wheel drive configuration, has the lightest of touch on the steering wheel I have experienced in a car for some time.

So, parking and manoeuvring the car in tight spots becomes the easiest of tasks. With one proviso, I had to get used to the Grandland X’s lightness of being during motorway driving.

There, on the motorway, the Grandland X Hybrid performed extremely well, maintaining a permitted high-speed level with ease.

However, and this may or may not have been due to the front-wheel drive configuration, I felt it was surely capable of higher speeds but was most comfortable to drive at around 70mph.

You had the impression that this SUV could maintain that level of a cruising speed all day long and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact the car was comfortable on a three-hour round trip.

Vauxhall says that “customers will find the combustion engine useful mostly for medium to high-speed driving, while lower to medium speeds are taken care of by the electric motor”.

So when you are driving into town or through built-up areas, the car runs ultra-smoothly on the electric motor

The Grandland X Hybrid produces 225hp, thanks to a 180hp, 1.6-litre turbocharged, direct injection four-cylinder petrol engine and a 110hp electric motor.

Powered by a 13.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, the electric motor is coupled to an electrified eight-speed automatic transmission and provides up to 360Nm of torque (preliminary fuel consumption: 192mpg, 35g/km CO2 NEDC).

Driven purely by electricity, the hybrid offers up to 34 miles of range in the WLTP cycle (35g/km NEDC). In order to further improve efficiency, the Grandland X Hybrid features a regenerative braking system to recover the energy produced under braking or deceleration.

One thing about this car is that it is of a pleasing design. There are double-wing LED headlamps and the car gets the SUV look through sculpted wheel arches and protective cladding on the lower body.

There is an optional two-tone finish, with the roof in contrasting black, which I liked because it makes the car look even smarter.

The Grandland X Hybrid offers three drive modes — Electric, Hybrid and Sport — allowing drivers to tailor the car’s characteristics to their wishes or to specific driving conditions.

Choosing “Hybrid”, for example, allows the car to automatically select its most efficient method of propulsion, with the possibility of switching to “Electric” for zero-emission driving when reaching a city centre. “Sport” combines the power of both combustion engine and electric motor for especially dynamic driving performance.

The Grandland X Hybrid can accelerate from zero to 60mph in 8.6 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 140mph.

It features a 3.7 kW on-board charger as standard or an optional 7.4 kW version, with the plug socket positioned on the opposite side of the vehicle to the fuel filler. In order to maximise space in the interior and the boot, the battery is installed under the rear seats.

Vauxhall says: “As electricity is cheaper than petrol, drivers can save money when they regularly recharge the battery instead of putting fuel in the tank. Depending on local prices and distances covered, this can significantly lower energy bills.”

Charging time depends on the type of charger — using the Mode 3 cable with the 7.4 kW on-board charger, Grandland X Hybrid’s battery can be fully charged in under two hours.

Vauxhall says that with the Grandland, its electrification offensive is gaining momentum.

The brand’s first electric light vehicle is the Vivaro-e, while all-electric versions of the Combo Life, Combo Cargo and Vivaro Life arrive in 2021. These join the existing Corsa-e and Grandland X Hybrid4. By 2024, every Vauxhall model will be electrified.