Vauxhall Grandland X 1.2 Elite Nav

Vauxhall Grandland X.

As you are no doubt aware by now, the Grandland X is the largest of Vauxhall’s three current SUVs and a very close relative of the Peugeot 3008, created by GM Europe’s new owner Groupe PSA. Although the cars are not identical, a good deal of French technology is common to both. Most obviously, this includes the test car’s 128bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine. A less powerful, more economical 1.6 diesel is also available, but whether I bought a Grandland X or a 3008 I would shy away from…

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Vauxhall Grandland X

Action shot of blue Vauxhall Grandland X on a tree-lined road.

Although it wasn’t particularly surprising, it was still odd to hear at the press conference preceding the UK media launch of the Grandland X that the Astra is starting to be seen as a minority-interest car. In its various forms over nearly four decades, the Astra has been a core part of Vauxhall’s line-up, and to a large extent it still is. The most recent figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that the Astra is the sixth most popular car of any sort in the…

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Vauxhall Crossland X

Static frontal view of white Vauxhall Crossland X with contrasting black roof.

Vauxhall, as you’ve probably noticed, is living in interesting times. General Motors Europe, of which it is a part, has not been profitable for many years, and one explanation for this is that it has been behind the curve in providing SUVs to its customers. Whatever you may think of this, there’s no doubt that the company is starting to catch up. In what the industry terms the SUV B sector (compact SUVs to the rest of us) it already had the Mokka X, and it’s in the process of…

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Vauxhall Insignia

Static shot of white Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport Elite.

The Vauxhall Insignia provides one of many examples of how much larger cars are nowadays than they once were. It’s part of a historical line which includes the Cavalier and Vectra, but dwarfs those models to such an extent that Vauxhall considers it, quite rightly, as a successor to the Carlton and Omega. That said, the new Insignia, known as the Grand Sport in saloon form (the estate is called the Sports Tourer and the forthcoming off-roader has been named Country Tourer), is very slightly more compact than the outgoing…

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Vauxhall’s Diesel Record Run

Vauxhall Astra diesel (the "green car") on a successful world speed record attempt at Millbrook.

Although I knew about it, through private information, several months before the event took place in early October 2013, it did not occur to me that I would be asked to participate in Vauxhall’s speed record attempt until I received a surprise phone call from Simon Hucknall. Simon, one of the motor industry’s most creative PR people, had had the splendid idea of celebrating Vauxhall’s 110th anniversary by breaking, and in some cases establishing, a cluster of UK and world records for standard production diesel cars up to 2000cc in…

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Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Head-on shot of Vauxhall Zafira Tourer parked beside a river.

The Zafira Tourer was first offered four years ago as a larger alternative to another MPV known simply as the Zafira. The smaller car – not such a close relative as its name might suggest – has since been discontinued, but the Zafira Tourer has proved to be one of the most popular vehicles of its type in the UK. It’s probably just as well, therefore, that the “new” model, on sale here in October and priced from £18,615, isn’t really all that new. A complete redesign was in any…

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Vauxhall Mokka X

White Vauxhall Mokka X being driven spiritedly through a left-hand corner.

On learning that Vauxhall has created a car called the Mokka X, you could be forgiven for wondering what happened to the Mokka VIII and IX. The simple answer is that they never existed. The slightly less simple, but more useful, answer is that Vauxhall has decided to include X in the names of all its SUV and crossover vehicles, and the Mokka happens to be the first to have been so blessed. To serious motoring enthusiasts, the Mokka X is barely distinguishable from its predecessor, one of the most…

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Vauxhall Astra 1.6i 200PS Elite Nav

Vauxhall Astra 1.6i 200PS Elite Nav.

What a curious piece of work this is. In times gone by a road-going Vauxhall Astra with 197bhp would have been described as a hot hatch (not many years after it would have been described as impossible), yet today there is an example with almost no sporting pretensions whatever. It’s called the 1.6i 200PS Elite Nav, and it sits alongside a non-Nav version which is the one for you if you want to save a few quid and always know where you’re going. Its turbo petrol engine is strong enough…

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Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.0 SRi Nav

Front three-quarter view of red Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer parked on gravel near water.

The biggest problem facing potential buyers of a medium-sized estate car is that there are so many good ones to choose from. Vauxhall complicated the issue still further earlier this year when it launched the Sports Tourer version of its already award-winning latest-generation Astra which, if not the ultimate expression of the art, is at least a very strong contender. Like the hatch, it’s a good-looking car whose attractiveness unfortunately comes at the expense of visibility; the thick windscreen pillars and tiny rear side windows are just wrong, though I…

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Hillclimb Challenge: Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Turbo

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Turbo Elite competing at Loton Park hillclimb.

Vauxhall had an interesting response to the request to supply a car for the Primo plc Multi Vehicle Insurance / Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes Hillclimb Challenge. Instead of offering a sporty model, it suggested using the almost entirely unsporty Astra 1.6 Turbo Elite, the idea being to demonstrate that you can have good fun taking part in motorsport in something few people would normally consider. Never one to shy away from eccentricity, I thought this was a great idea. Despite its undramatic appearance, this is not a slow car….

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