Used Vauxhall Grandland (Mk1, 2017-date) review
A full used buyer’s guide on the Vauxhall Grandland covering the Grandland Mk1 that’s been on sale since 2017
The Grandland is easy to respect, but hard to love. When we ran a 1.2 Turbo Sport Nav on our test fleet in 2019, we came away with the view that “You choose a Grandland X for the pragmatism and space it offers, not because it’ll stir the soul”. However, a three-way test with the facelifted Grandland in June of this year saw the Vauxhall beat Nissan’s Qashqai, but not the Skoda Karoq, which is a formidable opponent. A key thing that we learned from running our petrol-engined Grandland around town a lot was its poor fuel economy of just 22mpg, although on a run we could get closer to 40mpg. Buy the right engine for your needs and you’ll have a family-friendly SUV that’s easy to live with, if ultimately rather unexciting.
Vauxhall has a long history of producing mass-market family cars, and although it embraced the SUV segment a long time before many rivals, the company offered more than its fair share of humdrum cars. Models such as the Frontera and Monterey in the 1990s, and more recently the Antara and the Mokka X.
When PSA (later to be part of Stellantis) bought Vauxhall from General Motors in 2017, the seeds were sown for a more desirable line-up, and one of them was the Grandland X. It has never been a class leader, but there’s still plenty to like about this mid-sized SUV, especially for those whose priorities are comfort and value rather than sharp dynamics or badge prestige.
The Vauxhall Grandland X went on sale in October 2017, with a choice of 128bhp three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol and 118bhp four-cylinder 1.6-litre diesel engines. Both were available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Car group tests
- Vauxhall Grandland vs Kia Sportage 2023: twin test review
- Vauxhall Grandland vs Skoda Karoq vs Nissan Qashqai: 2022 group test review
In May 2018 an all-new 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel replaced the previous 1.6-litre unit; it came with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. A fresh range-topping Ultimate trim in December 2017 coincided with the introduction of a 175bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine which came only in eight-speed auto form.
A four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid arrived in early 2020, along with a front-wheel-drive edition. A facelift in October 2021 brought a fresh nose design and dashboard, and new tech, including adaptive LED headlights, while the X was dropped from the name.
Which one should I buy?
All Grandland engines and transmissions are good to drive and reasonably efficient. If you do lots of long-distance motorway drives, a diesel can still make sense; otherwise a petrol or plug-in hybrid might be better.
The entry-level SE (or later SE Premium) has dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, 17-inch alloys and cruise control. Tech Line Nav adds ambient lighting, electrically folding door mirrors, a powered tailgate, satellite navigation, 18-inch wheels, keyless go and front parking sensors.
The Sport Nav has the same equipment, but with a black roof and mirrors, while Elite trim adds leather, heated front seats, 19-inch alloys, panoramic glass and a heated windscreen. The range-topping Ultimate also has heated outer rear seats, a Denon hi-fi, adaptive cruise control, a rear camera and adaptive LED headlights.
Alternatives to the Vauxhall Grandland
Mid-sized SUVs are incredibly popular, so the Grandland is in a very crowded sector and there are plenty of alternatives. The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson are both well equipped and come with excellent warranties, while related to the Grandland are the Citroen C5 Aircross, Peugeot 3008 and DS 7 Crossback, all of which offer smart design and decent value.
Three other SUVs that are related to each other are the SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq and VW Tiguan, which offer user-friendly cabins, impressive build quality and great engines. The Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar share much under the skin, while the Ford Kuga is good value and fun to drive, and the Mazda CX-5 has smart design inside and out.
What to look for
A £20 kit could be fitted, allowing the supplying dealer to include a steel space-saver wheel and jack for around £200.
Upgrading to a 6.6kW on-board charger cuts hybrid charging time to one hour 45 min from a wallbox; it’s almost six hours from a domestic plug.
From summer 2022, trims were cut back to Design, GS Line and Ultimate. All three were available with the 1.2T and 1.5D engines.
The 1.2 Turbo auto was initially rated with a 1,100kg maximum trailer weight, but this was later increased to 1,300kg.
The 1.2T and 1.5D have an oil-lubricated cambelt that can disintegrate, wrecking the engine. We don’t know how common the problem is, but the cambelt’s material and oil spec have both been changed. Otherwise, any issues tend to be relatively minor software or electrical faults.
One big difference between the Grandland X and the Grandland is the dashboard; the later car’s is much more sophisticated, with its large digital displays, one of which is a user-friendly infotainment system.
The dash is generally easy to live with either way, and the Grandland’s front seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustment and support. Rear-seat space is impressive, with plenty of head and legroom.
However, boot space is merely average, at 514 litres, or 1,652 litres with the back seats folded. Those numbers drop to 390 and 1,528 litres in the hybrid.
We found more than 1,300 Grandland Xs, but fewer than 40 Grandlands. Focusing on the former, three-quarters have a petrol engine and one in have an automatic gearbox. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids are scarce; we found just two dozen for sale.
All Grandlands need to be serviced every 12 months or 16,000 miles. Every other service (first, third, fifth etc.) is an Interim, which is priced at £215 using OE parts, or £205 if pattern items are fitted. Services two, six, 10 etc. are classed as Main and these are priced at £235 regardless of whether OE or pattern parts are fitted.
Services four, eight, 12, etc, are Major; this involves replacing the petrol fuel filter, spark plugs and air filter. For diesel-engined Grandlands, the cost is £385 (£335 using pattern parts), whereas for the 1.2T you’ll pay £415 (or £355), and with the hybrid the price is £485 or £435. The 1.6-litre petrol in the plug-in hybrid is chain-driven, but the 1.5 diesel and 1.2 petrol have a cambelt that needs should be replaced every 10 years or 112,000 miles. Dealers charge £569 for this.
Vauxhall has recalled the Grandland eight times. The first was in January 2018 because some cars built in late 2017 were fitted with faulty pistons that could lead to engine failure. There were two recalls in July 2018, one for oil leaks from the 2.0-litre diesel, the other because of front seat-mounted airbags failing to deploy correctly.
Diesel particulate filter glitches led to the next campaign in April 2019; five months later came recall number five, because some Grandlands left the factory with poorly secured rear seatbelts. Recalls six and seven came in October and November 2020 because of exhaust emissions limits being exceeded and faulty diesel particulate filters. The most recent recall, in March 2021, was due to faulty radiators; affected cars were made in September 2019.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
Having made its Driver Power new-car survey debut in 2020, in 69th place (out of 75 entries), the Grandland X then shot up to seventh place the next year, before dropping to 24th place in 2022. Owners like the performance, low running costs (especially maintenance), cabin space and versatility. They’re less keen on visibility, switchgear placement, cabin finish and reliability, but overall the results are impressive.
Looking to sell your current car quickly and for a good price? We’ve partnered with Motorway to bring you the best offer from its network of UK dealers...