Vauxhall Crossland X SUV (2017 - ) review
Vauxhall’s entry-level compact SUV looks to attract Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 customers with a practical and value-for-money alternative.
Interested in buying Vauxhall Crossland X?
Confusingly, the Crossland X is almost identical in size to the Mokka X, although it sits lower in the Vauxhall range. Expect the next generation Mokka to be accordingly larger. The design of the Crossland is rather safe, with Vauxhall opting not to push any boundaries or give any impression of sportiness; a big contrast to the likes of Renault’s stylish, design-focused Captur. All models get alloy wheels, starting with 16-inch rims on the entry-level SE, SE Nav and Tech Line Nav models, and 17s on the Elite and Elite Nav models. Move up from SE and you’ll get a contrasting black roof as standard, while the fleet-focused Tech Line Nav and two Elite models get rear parking sensors and a chrome effect trim around the windows for a bit of extra bling. Metallic paint is a cost option across the range.
A lot of hard plastics don’t do much for the feeling of quality inside the Crossland X. The doors are scratchy, the glove box is flimsy, and the sat nav buttons feel cheap. We’ve only driven pre-production versions, so we’ll reserve judgement on how well they’re screwed together until we drive the final cars. Some features seem poorly thought out though; for example, the armrest on the driver’s seat, when down, gets in the way of the handbrake. That said, the infotainment system seems easy to navigate, based on our short time with it, and the touch-screen-and-buttons combination works well when it comes to jumping between pages. There’s plenty of seat and steering column adjustment to get you in the right driving position, and visibility is largely good, although fat pillars at the back mean rear visibility isn’t great.
Considering the Crossland X is relatively small, it does a good job of making the interior feel spacious. Head-room is more than adequate for adults both front and back, and there’s good rear leg-room, too. Some models come with movable second row seats to give even you more leg-room or boot space as required. The boot, at up to 520 litres depending on seat layout, is a decent size, but there’s a big lip to heft stuff over. Tech Line and Elite models come with a false floor to level this out, which is optional on other variants; it’s a worthwhile feature, as it also means a flat load area when the second row seats are folded down. In this set up, the load space is 1255 litres, fractionally larger than the Renault Captur but smaller than the Peugeot 2008. There are door pockets and a cubby beneath the dashboard for keeping odds and ends in, but the glovebox is disappointingly small.
Ride and handling
Vauxhall isn’t trying to pitch the Crossland X as a sporty offering – unlike its stablemate, the Mokka X – and it benefits from a relatively compliant ride that shouldn’t give you too many problems over poor road surfaces or bumps, even with the larger alloy wheels. But it’s not soft enough to give soggy handling, which is good news. The steering is on the light side, but the handling is assured enough for everyday motoring, as long as you don’t embark on any particularly spirited driving (if you do, you’ll find too much body roll through corners). The net result is a stable, dependable car that’s also easy to manoeuvre in town. Don’t expect enjoyment or involvement in the way it drives, but it’s perfectly capable.
We’ve tried two of the engines so far. The 1.6 diesel, with 118bhp, is disappointing; noisy and lacking the grunt to make decent progress. It always feels underpowered and like it’s working hard. The 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is better. Although it has less power at 108bhp, it feels punchier with a wider band of power, and is likely to prove the popular option for retail customers. Also available are an 80bhp diesel and a more powerful petrol engine, with 128bhp. The cars we tried were fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox (six-speed in the diesel), which has a surprisingly long action when shifting, but is accurate and solid enough. A six-speed automatic option is also available. All Crosslands come only with front-wheel drive, as there’s no four-wheel drive model.
The Crossland should perform well when it comes to costs. It’s priced competitively against rivals like the Captur and 2008, and should benefit from reasonable residual values and affordable servicing. A lower insurance group than its rivals helps as well.
As an all-new model, it’s hard to predict how reliable the Crossland X will be, but Vauxhall as a brand sits in the middle of Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, well below both Peugeot and Renault. The company offers a pretty standard three-year/60,000-mile new car warranty.
Impressively, all Crossland Xs have Vauxhall’s OnStar system fitted as standard, which will automatically alert the emergency services if you have a crash, and also offers 24-hour emergency call and roadside assistance at the touch of a button. Be aware though, while you get a year of OnStar services for free with a new vehicle, it will cost you an annual subscription after that, although prices are less than £100 a year. Other standard systems include two Isofix child seat points in the back and six airbags, but autonomous emergency braking – which will intervene to brake in the event of an impending collision – is only available as part of an optional safety pack. The Crossland X hadn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP at the time of writing.
There are plenty of features even in the entry-level SE model, although a few features we’d expect as standard are extra. For example, the SE comes with a seven-inch infotainment touch-screen, cruise control and dual-zone air conditioning, but an alarm is a cost option. Elite models have an alarm as standard and offer more interior storage, tinted windows and bigger wheels. The SE Nav and Elite Nav models – as the names suggest – add satellite navigation.
The standard OnStar system – as well as its safety functions – offers a 4G-powered wifi hotspot in the car, but you’ll have to pay for the data.
The well-stocked Tech Line Nav is our pick of the price-versus-equipment battle, offering Elite levels of tech with smaller wheels to reduce CO2 emissions. But because it’s aimed at fleets, you won’t get the finance deals or discounts Vauxhall dealers will offer on other models.
The Crossland is affordable, capable, practical and comes well equipped, but it’s lacklustre to look at and to drive, and doesn’t attempt to impress with the quality of its interior. There are much more appealing models in this segment, most notably the Renault Captur.