THE Vauxhall Grandland X is a very interesting car. Not because it’s yet another medium-sized SUV (yawn) but because it’s the first fruit of the Vauxhall-Peugeot relationship.

Although the Grandland was conceived and designed long before Peugeot bought Vauxhall from its US parent General Motors, what we have here is an indicator of how future Vauxhalls will be created.

Although though the Grandland looks every bit a Vauxhall (it’s the bigger brother of the Juke-sized Crossland) it is actually based on the Peugeot 3008.

That’s not so unusual these days. Car manufacturers often team up to share the enormous costs of designing and building a new vehicle, especially one that is taking them into a new area of the market. But Peugeot so enjoyed working with Vauxhall that it ended up buying the company.

So there’s a lot more to the Grandland that meets the eye.

So does a marriage of German pragmatism (this may come as a shock but there hasn’t been a genuinely British Vauxhall for decades) and French je ne sais quoi actually result in a better car.

The Grandland is very much its own car when you’re behind the wheel. Where the 3008 plays the French chic card - with its stylish chromed switchgear and dinky little steering wheel - the Vauxhall counters with prudence and practicality.

Externally it owes nothing to the French donor car either. Chunky, sculpted wheel arches and protective cladding on the lower body give the Grandland X real off-road appeal. In contrast, clear lines and the refined blade on the lower doors identify the new Grandland X as a member of the Vauxhall family.

Vauxhall says it was aiming for a prestige look. I’m not sure anyone will mistake it for a Q3 or an X3, but it certainly looks smart enough. There’s a pleasing cohesion about the design that’s is missing on some of the Grandland’s rivals, where good taste has been abandoned in favour of a sci-fi ‘concept car’ aesthetic. I suspect the Vauxhall will age gracefully.

Dropping a dinky three-cylinder engine into a big car like this sounds like a recipe for disaster but thanks to a turbo the little 1.2 pumps out 130PS and generates 230NM of torque at 1,750rpm. The Grandland never feels out-gunned although long-term diesel users will miss the flexibility of a TDI.

The handling is best described as functional. It goes around corners without fuss or drama, but the weight begins to show its hand if you decide to push on. Press too hard and the nose just ploughs a wider arc around a corner until you lift off when it starts to tuck back in.

There a lot of the new Astra/Insignia about the cabin. The instrument panel and centre console with touchscreen are clearly laid out and horizontally aligned to the driver while the centre stack has three horizontal rows of controls for fast and intuitive access to infotainment, climate control and chassis functions.

The cabin feels very solid and very well built. Ergonomically it doesn’t have the compromised cockpit that makes the 3008 such a Marmite car - loved and loathed in equal measure.

Apart from the elevated seating position, though, there’s nothing to suggest you’re behind the wheel of an SUV.

So it scores points on the perceived quality front - subjectively it feels as if it can take more of a licking than the 3008 - but falls down on design flair. The Grandland X lacks that certain ‘something’ that makes it feel a bit special.

Nevertheless it’s a perfectly acceptable place to spend time.

The entry-level Tech Line trim is available from just £22,310 on-the-road, with a 1.2-litre (130PS) petrol engine. For those wanting a diesel model, the entry level 1.6-litre (120PS) Turbo D BlueInjection model is priced from £23,665 on-the-road.

A long wheelbase of 2,675mm means the Grandland has plenty of space for up to five people, while the luggage compartment (with a load volume from 514 litres to a maximum of 1,652 litres) offers generous room for bags of shopping, suitcases and sports equipment.

RUNNING COSTS: Vauxhall claims the 1.2 is capable of 44.1-47.1mpg in an urban environment, up to 62.8mpg out of town and should return a combined 55.4mpg, In a week of running around in snow and up and down the motorway I managed 48 mpg which I don’t think is bad for a big heavy vehicle powered by a small highly-tuned turbocharged petrol engine.