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A frugal electric option with Opel’s Grandland X PHEV

February 12th, 2021 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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BY TRISH WHELAN

SINCE Opel was taken over by the PSA Group, Peugeot and Opel have become stablemates. It means the superb Peugeot 3008 SUV and Grandland X are related.

The Opel is a comfortable and practical family car that will serve a growing family for many years. While there are arguably some more attractive looking SUVs out there (the eye of the beholder and all that), the Grandland X is a fine-looking car.

Buyers can choose the optional black bonnet in combination with a black roof for a more striking exterior. The 19-inch bi-colour alloy wheels of my review version emphasised the car’s athletic design.

You get a lot of bells and whistles for your dosh. Things like those alloys, a panoramic glass roof, front fog lights, heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, LED running lights, and side Blind Spot alert. But no rear reversing camera.

Comfort features included a Navi fully-integrated sat-nav system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth, voice control, USB connection with iPad control, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, as well as cruise control with speed limiter.

Good view out

This is quite a high car providing a good view out for all on board. Its height also makes it easier to get in and out of than a more ‘ordinary’ car. The interior is stylish and well laid-out with everything to hand including temperature controls.

Instruments are well spaced and the centre console screen is easy to find your way around. Seats proved very comfy, the driver’s gets power adjustments while the front passenger seat just has manual ones.

The Grandland X is available with 1.2 petrol engines, and 1.5 and 2.0 diesels. My review version was the recently-arrived AWD plug-in hybrid, a first PHEV for the brand and directly related to the new relationship with PSA Group.

The powertrain combines a turbo 1.6 petrol engine with two electric motors and a total output of 300hp. My review car in the middle Elite trim was matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission and paddles for when you want to switch to manual.

It’s essential to charge the battery regularly to get the best fuel consumption figure from your car. There is a known issue of buyers getting PHEVs and just continuing on mostly with the petrol engine. They’re missing out on a return from their investment.

The battery is installed under the rear seats, so boot capacity is a generous 514 litres which expands to 1,652 litres with rear seats folded. The boot also has an under-floor divider and an emergency tyre inflation kit in lieu of a spare wheel.

Acceleration time

Driving modes are Hybrid, AWD, Sport, and Electric mode. The electric mode has super acceleration time and silent driving and will take you up to 50km. Regenerative braking can boost this range by up to 10pc so it comes into its own in urban driving.

Hybrid is the default mode and focuses on optimising the car’s fuel consumption; AWD activates the engine and electric motor to provide AWD and improve grip on rough surfaces; while Sport draws on the combined power of the engine and motor for a more dynamic drive. But remember, the faster you drive, especially on the motorway, and the more powered features you use, the more the battery range is affected, especially in winter driving.

The battery can be charged just like a fully electric vehicle at all public charging stations or at home by cable or wall box. A cable is supplied with the car for charging from a domestic home plug socket.

(Brian Byrne is on leave)

VERDICT

What I like: The swish performance with a green conscience.

Price: From €29,695; review car from €35,950 inc rebates.

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