On the road, the Hybrid4 delivers exactly the kind of split personality you’d expect given its performance and economy figures. It defaults to Electric mode, where it’s unsurprisingly quiet and relaxed, all the way up to motorway speeds. Here, the 111bhp motor built into the rear axle is doing much of the heavy lifting, with the front motor (a 108bhp unit) stepping in to assist when required.
Most driving can be done in Hybrid mode, which swaps between the combustion engine and electric motors on the fly and sends power through an eight-speed, wet clutch transmission, rather than the torque convertor automatic found on PSA’s petrol and diesel models. It’s a smooth system, transitioning between petrol and electric power without the noticeable lurch seen on some rival hybrids. The petrol engine stays largely isolated from the cabin when it does cut in, as revs build to noticeable but unobtrusive levels.
There’s no questioning the amount of straight-line shove available in the Sport and All-wheel drive modes, which have the combined outputs of all three power units. It avoids the almost violent levels of acceleration some pure EVs seem to favour, though unleashing it also reveals quite how vocal the combustion engine can be. The gearbox is quick to kick down, and while revs don’t flare in the same irritating manner as a CVT, the petrol motor still sounds particularly strained when stressed. That’s one way to encourage you to plug your car in at either end of the journey, I suppose.
While Vauxhall would argue the Grandland X has more dynamic potential than any of the PSA Group stablemates with which it shares its EMP2 platform, there’s only marginal reward for hustling it through the bends. It feels every bit its 1800kg, with body roll noticeable at fairly moderate cornering speeds. While we’re happy the steering wheel doesn’t artificially weight up in the sportier modes, it doesn’t provide much feedback to the driver either.
The ride is undeniably on the firm side, too, even on the smooth European roads of our test route – although the winter rubber fitted to our car won’t have helped its cause. Though minor bumps and undulations aren’t enough to destabilise things, How well it will cope with Britain’s road network remains to be seen.
Inside, the cabin has a more minimal (some would call it basic) dashboard than its Peugeot 3008 sister car, so while harder plastics are largely kept below your eye line, the immediate impression isn’t necessarily of a car costing northwards of £45,000. The small instrument cluster LCD is flanked by analogue dials, which feels like a step down from Peugeot’s all-digital i-cockpit. The 8in infotainment screen also looks rather simple with its low resolution graphics, though Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality offer a more visually appealing alternative.