Now, Vauxhall has fought back with a new Grandland with a lot more swagger – both in the looks and pricing department.
First off, Vauxhall's mid-size SUV wears some new names. It’s lost the 'X' and is now simply known as Grandland (which still sounds like an American-themed amusement park in Birmingham), but gains 'Hybrid-e' at the end of its badge. Simple things which you'd probably completely ignore.
What you won't miss, however, is the styling. The previous car lacked any standout appeal, which was understandable as it uncomfortably sat between its two, far more interestingly-designed sisters – the Peugeot 3008 and Citroen C5 Aircross.
The new Grandland, though, pinches the new Mokka-e's super-svelte schnozz. The black panel neatly disguises all of the car's safety systems, the camera for the optional (unique in this segment and costing £1,300) night vision and even the Vauxhall badge, which is painted black on all Hybrid-e trim levels.
There's also a pair of super-bright pixel LED headlights which cleverly avoid oncoming cars being dazzled when the full beams are on, and a black roof, body-coloured trim on the top spec and some new rear lights complete the changes. The overall look is far more distinctive than before, even if the front-end does look like it's from another car – which, essentially, it is.
The Grandland X wasn't just lumbered with bland styling on the outside, but also the interior lacked any sparkle. This time around Vauxhall has ripped out the previous effort and installed a new dashboard, which again pinches some Mokka-e styling cues. There's a 12-inch digital display for the dials and also a 10-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.
There's a bit more flair to the way the dashboard looks and material quality has been boosted, too, but overall space remains the same. That means decent rear-seat space but a boot that's slightly on the small size (390 litres) thanks to the hybrid's gubbins.
Aside from a few minor changes improving on-road refinement and steering which feels ever so slightly sharper, that's where the changes stop. The Hybrid-e carries over the old Grandland X's plug-in hybrid powertrain lock stock and barrel, which consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that's supplemented by an electric motor, which in turn is powered by a 13.2kWh battery. Total power is 222bhp while the all-electric range is a claimed 39 miles, while a punchier four-wheel-drive Grandland Hybrid-e with just under 300bhp will be arriving later in 2022.
If the old Grandland X is anything to go buy, extra performance is hardly what Vauxhall's sensible SUV needs. It's smooth and competent to drive, but nothing more so. A Ford Kuga PHEV is considerably more fun on a twisty road, while the Citroen C5 Aircross is more comfy. That said, the hybrid powertrain does a good job at prioritising electric power as much as possible, and the petrol engine is surprisingly quiet.
The front-wheel drive entry-level model tested here will almost certainly be the pick of the two PHEVs. It'll no doubt appeal to some family buyers, but it'll mostly be company car drivers who'll go for the Hybrid-e thanks to its 31g/km CO2 figure pushing the Grandland into the 12% BiK bracket for 2022 until 2025.
For the new Grandland, Vauxhall has also sliced off a hefty £3,995 (like-for-like) off the asking price. It doesn't make the Grandland a bargain, but certainly means it's worthy of consideration if you're in the market for a mid-sized plug-in hybrid SUV – something that was difficult to say about the old car.