The ignorant petrol head
“Dear Vicki, would you like to drive our brand new SUV, the Grandland X? Love Vauxhall.”
“Dear Vauxhall, you had me at ‘drive’. Love Vicki”
Or words to that effect.
And so started the chain of events, which led me to cruising around in this beauty for a week.
I am a special kind of petrol head – the ignorant kind. I love driving. Bright shiny buttons and clever gadgets make me happy, but I have no idea what any of the technical stuff means. I can’t get excited by talk of torque or CO2 emissions, but give me a leather sports seat and a smooth transition and I’m putty in your hands.
One careful owner
In the 1990s BC (Before Children) I used to have a convertible, two-seater sports car. I have done a track day in a Formula One type car at Brands Hatch, and in my 20s I even took a basic car mechanics course – of which I remember nothing.
The point is, I’m not going to win the Car Journalist of the Year Award, but I know what I like.
None of this was known to Vauxhall’s lovely PR people – they just wanted a busy woman to demonstrate how the Grandland X helps keep her calm during her usual hectic day. Apparently the Grandland X is the embodiment of that great British meme ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. While all may be chaos around me, this SUV was going to keep me in control, connected and comfortable.
And they couldn’t have picked a busier, more hectic week (cue photo of me looking manic!).
Firstly let me remind you that I do have a business to run (not the blog – that’s a side hustle), so all of this is on top of the day job.
The car arrived in the run up to Thing Two’s and Mr Maven’s birthdays – both during the same weekend. I was ridiculously busy schlepping children to activities and parties and had a crazy diary full of work meetings. So if the Grandland X was meant to get me to my destination free of stress, it would have its work cut out.
My first outing in the Grandland X was to Costco, a massive cash and carry warehouse, followed by what was promised by my friend to be a quick excursion to IKEA, just to return an unwanted purchase.
TWO HOURS LATER, I was in the middle of IKEA having a panic attack, as my friend wandered off again to grab more bargains for our groaning trolley. This was not meant to be a day off, I had work to do.
The car coped admirably with the strain of it all, absorbing hundreds of pounds worth of shopping and my foul mood – and delivering us home in comfort.
Other trips this week ranged from the mundane mum-taxi runs: football training; tennis coaching; swimming lessons and athletics – to the more unusual: cake collection and taking a bunch of ten year olds to a bowling party.
Here are just a few of the features which kept me sane during all this commotion:
- Parking is easy with the 360 degree panoramic camera. Watch the screen to see the car’s proximity to other cars and the pavement. The wing mirrors automatically dip when you put the car into reverse, so the driver can see the curb when parking.
- Little lights on the wing mirrors flash when other vehicles are in your blind spot, and the car warns you when you’re moving into another lane without indicating.
- Keyless entry means you just need to be near the car, with the key in your bag or pocket, for the Grandland X to unlock automatically. You can open the boot using the remote control, or it will open and close automatically by pressing the power tailgate button.
- Automatic headlights and windscreen wipers mean that you can just turn on the engine, put the car into gear and go.
- The My Vauxhall app allows you to remotely lock or unlock your car, locate it (useful in labyrinthine car parks), honk the horn and flash the lights! Look at me, look at me!!
- Heated seats, amazing speakers and Bluetooth connectivity so I can take calls with no hands, all made the driving a real pleasure.
A couple of gripes
No honest review would provide a totally flawless picture, sorry Vauxhall.
The wireless phone charger pad didn’t work. And I had to top up the engine with oil, which I haven’t had to do between services since 1988. I realise this was probably a fault with this particular vehicle, rather than a production line fault. This being a press demonstrator car, perhaps it has been abused by too many bloggers before me.
The Grandland X is a great family car. The kids thought it was cool (which I’ve been told is a very uncool thing to say. These days we have to say it was ‘relevant’).
Thing One said I should ask Vauxhall if we could keep the car. “Just ask, tell them you will write about the car every day!” With an on the road price of just over £35,000 I think not.
It’s going to be a massive disappointment to get back into our car when the Grandland X is gone. I suppose I’ll have to find other ways to keep calm.
Keep calm with these podcasts
On the subject of keeping calm, Vauxhall has launched a new podcast series to show drivers how they can use their journeys to dip into the mindfulness trend and tackle everyday challenges on the road. You can read all about it and listen to them here: https://www.vauxhall.co.uk/KeepsCalm.
I’d love to know what you think of my first car review. I had fun doing it.
Much love, Vx
[Disclosure: this is a paid partnership with Vauxhall. All opinions are my own]