THERE was a time when SUVs were big lumbering things – utilitarian vehicles which were mainly designed to go off road.
Not so now as the craze for these lifestyle statement cars has spread to those who want something a little smaller and more practical.
The 2019 Crossland X from Vauxhall is also far from utilitarian boasting things like heated seats, smart 17-inch alloy wheels and an economical three cylinder 1199cc engine – which can return around 45 mpg while getting you from 0 to 60 in 9.3 seconds on the way to a top speed of 125mph.
We got our hands on the top of the range Ultimate Turbo model which has an on the road price of £23,405 – although the Crossland range starts from the entry-spec SE at around £17,000.
The first thing to say is what a lot Vauxhall has managed to get into such a small package – the Crossland X is only a fraction longer than most superminis yet the standard kit list includes an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and sat nav, voice control, a premium sound system, cruise control, driver’s centre armrest, auto lights and wipers and a raft of safety aids.
These include an electronic stability programme, driver drowsiness alert, forward collision warning, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, front and rear cameras plus rear parking sensors and tyre pressure monitoring.
And the compact SUV is also great fun to drive, even with that higher SUV ride it still corners well and has peppy performance from its thrummy three-pot engine. Despite its off road pretentions the Crossland X only comes in front wheel drive form, but as most SUVs will never see more than a muddy track the lack of a 4×4 option will not bother the vast majority of owners.
As you would expect after the takeover of Vauxhall by Peugeot Citroen’s parent company PSA Group this new car shares its underpinnings with the 2008 although there are lots of Vauxhall signature styling cues like the Adam-like roof around the rear three-quarters giving buyers the opportunity to have it in a different colour from the body.
The Crossland X is also competitively priced with the choice of our 1.2 turbo petrol (in 80bhp, 108bhp and 128bhp guises with five of six speed manual) or a 1.6 four cylinder diesel (98 or 118bhp). There is an automatic gearbox option.
With C02 Emissions of 118g/km the annual road tax bill for the petrol turbo version will be £170 per year.
Despite the Crossland X only being 4.2m long it is more spacious and better equipped than many rivals. It’s roomy enough inside to be an alternative to a normal five-door hatch with good head space even for taller adults in the back seats. There is also a variable-height boot board allowing split-level storage, should you want it, and luggage capacity with the rear seat up is 410 litres.
A week at the wheel of the little SUV proved most enjoyable and the car did everything asked of it – including a few trips to the tip after some redecoration work at Howarth towers.
So while the price for our range-topping model may seem a little high the level of equipment and technology means you are getting a lot for that cash, although I suspect the majority of versions we will see on our roads will be the more basic models, which still have a good spec list and should fare well in terms of the greatest cost to new car buyers – depreciation.
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth