The Grandland is now the largest car in the Opel fleet and the brand is currently offering diesel, petrol and plug-in hybrid versions of the Grandland.

There are many other options to choose from in this segment of the car market and, to date, the Grandland has never been at the top of the listing in terms of market share. This car has a practical feel to it and it is reasonably spacious with a high driving position, so what can be its appeal?

I’ve had the plug-in version of the Opel Grandland on the road recently and covered almost 800km across a range of road conditions.

The hybrid drive combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a battery-powered electric drive to give a significant power boost when needed. The engine is smooth and powerful.

The driving experience is equally smooth and the eight-speed automatic gearbox with a new electric shifter system gives a very nice drive.

There’s a solid feel to the car and that gives good road holding, probably enhanced by the fact that battery system adds over 100kg extra weight, compared with the diesel version of the Grandland.

Like all of the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars, the battery gives limited value for longer-distance commuters or those who tend to drive longer distances. The fully charged plug-in system will typically give about 50km or use and then it is back to a petrol automatic that can be thirsty.

On paper, the Grandland PHEV is thrifty, but take it on longer runs, where you’ll opt for a petrol refill for convenience rather than charging on the roadside stop, and you’ll find that it does not live up entirely to the claims.

Over almost 800km of driving, across Ireland, fuel stops become more convenient than charging stops; that’s a reality. That meant that my fuel economy figure was 6.3l/100km or 16km per litre of petrol. The car’s tank is 53 litres in capacity so that should have given me in excess of 800km on a full tank, and that’s acceptable for a lower-emissions car.

The car’s computer told me that I was driving on battery/electric power for only 29% of that time, so I should have expected that the car could not reach it theoretical potential.

Getting close to that potential is not really achievable other than for commuter drives with regular overnight, low-cost plugging in, and I have no doubt that in the right conditions, it is possible.

But is it enough of an incentive to pay a premium of more than €3,500 for the hybrid version compared with its diesel equivalent? There are newer versions of the Grandland on the way and hopefully the price difference will be less, and the economy measure slightly better in favour of the PHEV version, because it is such a good car to drive.

The Opel Grandland PHEV is a powerful and smooth car to drive. Entry prices start from €46,595 or £41,500 in Northern Ireland.

There are lots of other features that I liked about the Grandland. The driving position is good, and the dash layout is clear and easy to access.

It was easy to get comfortable with the car. There were good, wide opening doors, easy access to getting your phone set up on the system and clear buttons for many of the regular use features on the dash, along with good information on the screen that doesn’t distract and dominate the dash.

The dials behind the wheel were less to my liking. I like to see the rev counter, where possible, and manage my driving style according to engine speed and road conditions rather than road speed. That’s a feature that was replaced by economy dials in Grandland, which are helpful but simply not my preference.

The car is well fitted in terms of safety features with three Iso-Fix points, two in the back and one in the front passenger seat.

Storage spaces are a little limited and the boot space in the PHEV versions is a little smaller due to the battery storage. And there’s no spare wheel included.

The Opel Grandland is a solid feeling car with good space though wide opening doors and a clear rear floor area for good legroom.

Unfortunately, it comes with the low Euro NCAP safety rating and it is dated, so Opel needs to get that box ticked for the next generation Grandland.

Entry prices for the Grandland PHEV are starting at €46,595 or £41,500 in Northern Ireland.

New versions

New versions are due later this year with updated features while the overall structure will be similar. The PHEV version is still more expensive than the diesel option, even though there is a €140 annual road tax saving. Link this hybrid drive system with a charging system connected to solar panels on a rural house and there is the potential for low-cost motoring, especially where school and shop runs are local.

The dash design on the Opel Grandland is very German in style, solid and practical, with buttons rather than touch screens in total.

You need to embrace the complete package to benefit from the value that PHEV or full-electric car driving can bring. That means a change of mindset in terms of how you power your home as well as your car.

Attractive grants are available under TAMS schemes. Electric and PHEV cars are getting more price attractive, partly due to lower prices and partly due to rising prices for conventional engine powered cars. It is getting to the time when longer-term strategies will need to be considered, because whether we like it or not, diesel engine cars are fast disappearing from the options for new car buyers.

  • Engine: 1.6-litre petrol.
  • Engine power: 225bhp.
  • Engine torque: 360Nm.
  • 0–100km/hr: 8.9 seconds.
  • Economy: 1.5l/100km or 66.7km/litre.
  • Rated range theoretical: 955km.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 52.5 litres.
  • CO2 rating: 31g/km.
  • Road tax annual: €140.
  • Main service: 25,000km or 12 months.
  • Euro NCAP rating: five-star (2017).
  • Boot space: 390/1,528 litres.
  • Towing capacity: 1,250kg.
  • Kerb weight: 2,050kg.
  • Warranty: three years or 100,000km.
  • Entry price: €46,595 or £41,500 in Northern Ireland.