Vauxhall Grandland Plug-in Hybrid
Review by Bill McCarthy
Vauxhall is continuing its journey towards electrification with a hybrid technological tour de force.
The Grandland is the firm’s first four wheel drive plug-in hybrid SUV with electric performance in more ways than one.
Now part of the PSA group, it is part of the the French firm’s wider drive to electrification, with Vauxhall aiming to go fully electric by 2024.
In typical hybrid style there is more than one power unit, three in this case.
The combination comprises a 200hp, 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors delivering a combined 109hp and powered by long-life13.2kWh lithium-ion battery.
Added together, this delivers a stonking 300bhp and 520 Nm of torque or pulling power, indicating it would be an ideal towing vehicle with a 1.25 tonne capability.
It has a muscular yet stylish look with alloy-effect door sill covers, 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, black roof and door mirror, bright front and rear skid plates and neat light clusters and foldable door mirrors with puddle lights.
The interior feels well put together with a logical instrumentation and controls set up and nice soft touch finish, which is just as well because the starting price is just under £37k, with this top spec model a shade over £48k.
For that you get a car with the full bells and whistles of creature comfort, connectivtiy and safety kit. It features alloy-effect sports pedals, leather seat facings and heated front seats with the driver eight-way electrically adjustable, 3D instrument cluster and alloy-effect door sill covers.
The eight-inch touch screen houses the infotainment system with premium audio system, Navi 5.0 IntelliLink system with voice control, and smartphone and Bluetooth® connectivity, wireless charging for mobile devices and Vauxhall Connect assistance.
As an SUV it is naturally practical, but boot space is compromised slightly to accommodate the large battery to a maximum stowage area of 1,523 litres.
Vauxhall says the hybrid is mostly aimed at business users and PCP users who will account for around 75 per cent of sales. It is available in SRi Nav trim for just £399 per month on Personal Contract Hire. The customer pays an initial rental of £8,379.
The new power combination also delivers theoretical consumption with 204mpg, when all the planets are aligned, and just 34g/km CO2, which puts it into a 20 per cent Benefit in Kind bracket. The reality is, if you are constantly doing less than 30 miles per day, you can charge it up overnight and rarely see the inside of a petrol station.
Performance wise, acceleration is electrifying. It can hit 60mph in just 5.9 seconds which is in real hot-hatch territory, as quick nearly as a fully blinged up hot hatch I drove recently, if not quite having the handling capability. It literally races away from a standing start and on top a top speed of 146mph where permitted.
Having said that, it does feel assured, with the all-wheel traction kicking in on demand. Not a full fat off-roader, it should be more than capable on muddy tracks, fields and in tricky weather conditions.
A front electric motor is mated with an electrified eight-speed automatic transmission, while the second motor and differential are integrated into the electrically-powered rear axle, providing the all-wheel traction on demand.
There are four driving modes – electric, hybrid, AWD and Sport.
In pure electric mode, the car has a range of 35 miles. In hybrid it automatically selects the most efficient method of propulsion. Switch to sport and you have a real flying machine.
It comes with a 3.7kW on-board charger, with an optional 7.4kW version also available. The ‘e-Save’ section of the infotainment system allows the driver to determine how much battery needs to be saved for entering zero-emissions zone. The driver can choose to save six or 12 miles of range, or reserve all of the battery energy.
In addition, regenerative braking captures kinetic energy during deceleration allowing electrical energy to be returned to the battery and stored. Vauxhall will also offer devices for fast charging at public stations, as well as wallboxes at home. With a 7.0kW wallbox, customers can fully charge the battery in less than two hours.
Vauxhall has also introduced an exclusive charging offer where customers will receive a free six-month membership to the Polar charging network, providing an easy, convenient and reliable means to charge their vehicle away from home.
This vehicle is a clever piece of engineering with its three power units and gearbox setup that delivers blistering performance with major economy savings.
Meanwhile, the electric revolution continues apace with the imminent new Corsa-e and Vivaro van.