Vauxhall Grandland GSe Review & Prices
The Vauxhall Grandland GSe is a petrol-electric hybrid that promises decent punch, but it’s quite expensive for a family SUV
Find out more about the Vauxhall Grandland GSe
With 300hp coming from its petrol-electric engine, it’s easily the most powerful version of this mid-sized SUV, and is the most powerful Vauxhall on sale. Think of it as a pricey carbon fibre road bike – a regular bike will still get you from A to B, but the GSe has a bunch of fancy bits designed to make it faster.
There’s not really a lot else combining family SUV and performance car at the moment, with the Cupra Formentor the most obvious one, although that’s only boasting 245hp in plug-in hybrid form. The Peugeot 3008, sister car to the Grandland, gets the same 300hp plug-in hybrid system, but without the extra bits designed to make it look and feel sportier than the rest of the range.
There are a few things to distinguish it from the base Grandland, such as specific 19-inch alloys, a rear diffuser and GSe badging all around.
You also get a lot of black trim pieces, like the roof rails, Vauxhall badging and front and rear skid plates, as well as a black roof
In the cabin, there are a few sporty tweaks but otherwise it’s a lot like the standard Grandland, the main difference being the Alcantara-trimmed sports seats with GSe embossing.
Therefore, you can expect decent storage and passenger space throughout, but it’s not as good inside as alternative options that offer better quality of materials and space. There is also a large infotainment display, automatic climate control and wireless smartphone charging.
Where the GSe is vastly different from the standard Grandland is that you get altered suspension, and Koni springs and dampers that allow the driver to alter how soft or firm the suspension is.
But you don’t just get improved handling, because the aforementioned plug-in hybrid engine’s beefy power output adds to its sporty nature. The petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce 300hp and 520Nm of torque, meaning the GSe can get from 0-60mph in just 6.1 seconds. The top speed is 146mph, or 84mph in electric mode only.
Choosing a plug-in means a reduction in boot space over the standard petrol or diesel Grandlands, and this is equally true in the GSe. The luggage area drops from 514 litres down to 390 litres. That’s much less than the Kia Sportage PHEV, though only a touch below the mechanically similar Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4.
That power is distributed by an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels, while the electric motor is mounted on the rear axle – meaning all-wheel drive.
It’s a bit tricky to justify the extra cost of the GSe, especially as it doesn’t turn the Grandland into a particularly sporty SUV, apart from the big power number!
With the GSe you get a decent amount of kit as standard, such as adaptive cruise control, adaptive LED headlights, a 360-degree panoramic camera, alloy sport pedals, tinted rear windows and a heated flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.
The Grandland GSe starts from over £45,000, which is a substantial amount for a family SUV, even if it is a 300hp family SUV with a decent level of equipment.
See what a Grandland GSe will cost you through carwow, or have a look at our best deal on new Vauxhalls. We’ve also got a great selection of used Vauxhall models available, and don’t forget you can also sell your current car through carwow.
The Vauxhall Grandland GSe has a RRP range of £45,850 to £45,850. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,244. Prices start at £43,606 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £537. The price of a used Vauxhall Grandland GSe on carwow starts at £34,490.
Our most popular versions of the Vauxhall Grandland GSe are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.6 Plug-in Hybrid  4X4 GSe 5dr Auto||£43,606||Compare offers|
There’s just the one version of the GSe, and its combination of performance and plug-in hybrid tech means it’s certainly not cheap, sitting at the top of the Grandland price list at over £45,000. In fact, only the top-spec version of the big Vivaro Life Electric people carrier can beat it for price across Vauxhall’s entire range.
The GSe costs a bit over £3,000 more than the Ultimate version of the Grandland plug-in hybrid, for which you get the GSe styling and performance modifications. As you’d expect for a Vauxhall quite this expensive, there’s a lot of high-end equipment as standard, including 360-degree parking camera, adaptive LED pixel headlights, hands-free powered tailgate and 19-inch gloss black bi-colour diamond-cut alloy wheels.
If you just want a plug-in Grandland without the extra power and all the sporty extras, probably because you’re a company car driver where the tax benefits exist, the entry GS trim level is a little over £40,000.
It’s rather quick for an SUV, but the petrol and electric power don’t always combine seamlessly and it’s not a honed performance car by any means
Forward visibility is good thanks to the high driving position and fairly thin A pillar, although it’s not so good backwards, where the chunky rear pillar meets a quite narrow rear window. Good job the GSe gets a 360-degree camera and front and rear parking sensors to help with parking. Manoeuvring is also helped by a good turning circle and light steering, making urban driving a simpler experience.
Despite all Grandlands having been updated for 2023 to improve ride quality over poorer surfaces, it’s still not the most cosseting of cars, especially over bigger speed bumps and rough roads. It improves at higher speed, but poor roads are not the Grandland’s best friend and you feel every bump.
The ability to cruise around silently on electric power alone is also useful in town, with the real-world range of 30 miles at best. But when using the combination of petrol and electric power on the hybrid setting, there can be a hesitation while the car works out how to deliver the requested acceleration between the two powertrains. But you can also run on electric-only, which prevents the petrol engine kicking in when you prod the throttle harder.
On the motorway
The petrol engine isn’t the most refined of things when under harder acceleration to join a motorway, for example, but it settles down peacefully once you’re at speed. Wind and road noise are both pretty well controlled and all Vauxhall’s plug-in hybrids get a range of safety kit to make longer journeys more relaxing, including lane departure warning with lane-keep and lane positioning assist, adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness alert and speed sign recognition.
The ride quality also settles down at higher speed, where the Grandland is more adept at soaking up bumps and surface changes. It is worth noting that though the car has both drive and brake modes, the latter doesn’t provide the sort of serious regeneration and slowing of the car that most full electric vehicles do, it’s a more mild feeling and certainly won’t bring the car to a stop.
On a twisty road
While it’s well controlled for a higher-riding car, the first encounter with a corner highlights that the Grandland GSe isn’t a performance SUV. There’s too much body roll to encourage spirited driving and the steering, which is light enough to help in-town manoeuvring, doesn’t feel precise enough to give confidence when throwing the car into bends.
The other problem is that the powertrain is a bit hesitant. The car works out from throttle inputs whether to use the electric motor, petrol engine or a combination of both, but the transitions between the two and the immediacy of pulling away isn’t always seamless. It’s better on full electric mode rather than hybrid or sport settings, but the throttle response is frustrating. The sport mode gives the steering a bit more weight but it doesn’t turn the car into a poised sporting SUV, and a Cupra Formentor would be more fun.
The ability to soak up bumps at higher speeds is a bright spot though, and it’s certainly not lacking in power once it gets going.
In-cabin stowage is reasonable and the sports seats are nice, but the hybrid kit takes up a lot of boot space and there’s a lack of charging sockets across the cabin
Stowage-wise, the Grandland is something of a mixed bag, with some nice practical touches in the front, but a few bits where alternative models do it better.
For example, there’s a wireless charging pad in a decent-sized cubby with a cover in the centre of the dash that also contains just the one USB and one 12v socket, which isn’t really enough for the modern family’s charging requirements. Plus, the door bins are moulded into a shape that’s not the most large or useful. Likewise, the centre stowage bin is quite small, but at least the armrest slides so you can position it in a more comfortable place.
There are a couple of central cup holders, although they’re built for coffee cups rather than taller bottles, and there’s another little cubby to the right of the steering wheel.
But the sports seats are comfortable and supportive, without being too snug, as some sports seats can be.
Space in the back seats
The first thing taller passengers getting into the rear will notice is that the roof is surprisingly near their heads, given this is an SUV rather than coupe-style roofline.
Legroom is adequate rather than expansive, although it’s helped by the curve built into the back of the front seats, which liberates a useful touch more knee room when you’re not using the aircraft-style seat pockets. But it will still be a bit tight for a taller adult sitting behind a tall driver.
The seat bench and the floor are both flat, which makes things more welcoming for a third rear passenger, and there’s space to get feet under the front seats to help get more comfortable. And when there isn’t a third rear passenger, those in the back can fold down the central armrest, although it doesn’t go completely horizontal so be careful when putting drinks in the cup holders!
The door bins are also actually a touch larger and more useful than the front ones, which is a surprise, and the door opens wide enough to make access easy. The ISOFIX points are equally easy to access despite not having a plastic cover; the connection bars are just below the line of the seat cushion, so not hard to clip into.
But a big thing that makes the Grandland seem a touch behind the times is the absence of rear charging points - the kids will not be impressed, and neither will parents when batteries run low on a longer journey.
All plug-in hybrid versions of the Grandland are badly hampered in the luggage department by the need to package the batteries, and the GSe is no exception to that. Whereas the petrol and diesel Grandlands have a 514-litre boot, that drops to just 390 litres for the PHEV models. It is only five litres behind the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, although the Kia Sportage PHEV can manage 540 litres, if boot space is more important than outright pace. But the Cupra Formentor PHEV can only boast 345 litres, so it’s better than that.
There’s a spot under the boot floor to stow the charging cable, although you’ll have to wind it up neatly to fit it in properly, which isn’t easy when it’s raining and the cable is sopping wet.
The boot area is nice and square with a flat floor, but there is a significant lip of a couple of inches to lift things over when you’re getting them out.
The rear seats split 60:40 but frustratingly can’t be dropped from the boot, and also frustratingly don’t have a little catch to stop the seatbelts getting caught when you lift them back into place.
There’s some neat gloss trim and the Alcantara sports seats are nice, but the infotainment looks a little off the pace and some of the interior quality isn’t necessarily befitting a £45,000 car
Vauxhall has lifted the interior look and feel in some places, but there are plenty of giveaways that this is the same cabin as much cheaper versions of the car. Quality varies, with plenty of harder plastics easily found, but there are some gloss black plastic surrounds for the gear selector, and plenty of faux-aluminium-style inserts across the dashboard area.
The GSe-embossed Alcantara sports seats are comfy and fairly supportive without being remotely snug or over-bolstered, and it’s pleasing that the climate controls are kept away from the touchscreen where they're more easily used on the move. Although you can also control them using the screen if you so desire.
But the touchscreen itself isn’t the most modern or the largest. The 10.0-inch display doesn’t have the stylish graphics of the cutting-edge systems, and the map itself only shows in the middle of the screen, leaving the edge as a permanent climate settings border, which makes the map look small. But in better news, there’s loads of neat information about what the powertrain is doing, including graphics to show whether the engine, battery or both are being used, and efficiency graphs.
The benefit of plug-in hybrids is most keenly felt when you can run them for the majority of the time on electric, but still do enough longer journeys (over 200-mile round-trip from home) that having a full electric car could be impractical, and even more so if you’re paying company car tax where the PHEV system makes massive inroads into monthly payments - although again not as much as full EV would.
For the Grandland GSe, it means you can get a 300hp SUV with four-wheel drive capability and a 6.1-second 0-62mph time, but one that also has official figures of 235.4mpg and 27g/km of CO2 emissions. With PHEVs, the official figures are largely irrelevant as an indication of real-world use – always run it on the battery and you’ll get infinite MPG because you won’t use any petrol, but never charge the battery and you’re probably looking at something in the 30s for an MPG figure.
Officially, the Grandland GSE will, like all the plug-in Grandlands, do 41 miles on the battery alone, although in the real world we’d expect to see under 30 miles at best from a full charge. Using a 7kW home charger, it will take around four hours to recharge the 13.2kWh battery, rising to six hours on a three-pin plug.
The low emissions mean zero first-year VED payment, although years two to six are more expensive as the car costs over £40,000, so the Government’s expensive car supplement applies.
The Grandland was crash-tested by the Euro NCAP safety organisation back in 2017 where, under the admittedly less stringent tests than today, it scored the full five stars, including an 84% score for adult occupant protection and 87% for child occupant.
As standard you get a decent amount of safety technology, including lane departure warning with lane keep assist, six airbags, adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition and driver drowsiness sensor.
Although the GSe is a late addition to the Grandland range, owners generally seem happy with other Grandland versions that have been around for a number of years. There have been a couple of minor recalls affecting only a small number of cars, although there was one with more than 10,000 affected where there could be a reduction in braking performance as parts became worn.
The battery elements of the PHEV have an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty, where it’s guaranteed to be operating at at least 70% of original capacity. The rest of the car gets a pretty basic three-year warranty - unlimited for the first two years but with a 60,000-mile cap in the third year.
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