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A Week with the Vauxhall Grandland X and Life HaX

As a father to a 1-and-a-half-year-old that has more energy than a professional breakdancing crew, I was intrigued to try out the new Vauxhall Grandland X accompanied with the new Life HaX tool which is basically a rather nifty modern take on the classic pen knife. As a family we currently drive the Vauxhall Mokka, and on first impression this certainly looked like an upgrade in both size and its sporty aesthetic. Inside it feels much more spacious than what we currently have, and the boot space is massive (1652 litres), which we would no doubt fill if we were to have this car for longer than a month. I also still have a hard time believing the car is a 1.2 having experienced the power and nippiness of it – very impressive.

I had this car for a week and was sad to see it go. I had adapted to the laziness of not having to open the boot with my hands – yes that’s right, you just wave your foot under the boot and it opens (do the same to close it) like magic. I no longer had to work out where the nearest soft play, petrol station or baby-friendly restaurant was due to the OnStar system whereby you can get someone else to do the searching for you whilst you attend to your crying baby who no longer wants to sit in their car seat. Once they’ve found the quickest suitable location they can send the directions straight to your sat nav system too.

Then there’s the great safety tech available which is a priority for me when looking for a car. There’s a lane departure warning which will make sure you don’t veer out of your lane on a motorway. Let’s say your child projectile vomits from behind you (some actually splashing on you) and you glance around to check they’re ok and understandably you wander from the middle lane to the inside lane slightly. Well, this car wouldn’t let you do that as unless you’re indicating, the car automatically keeps you in your lane. This is also great for those people with bad hand-eye coordination who try to change the radio channel whilst driving and instantly start veering. My advice for those people would be to just leave it alone, even if it is The Archers on Radio 4. Another great feature is the side blind spot alert which basically lights up a little circle on your wing mirror each time a car is driving past your blind spot.

Once I got my hands on the Life HaX which arrived a day later I was like a proud handyman with a new drill. If only they'd sent some sort of waist holster for it to sit in. I would use the torch when it wasn’t needed and the laser beam to point at things (again, unnecessary at the time) around the house. It’s dubbed as a multi-tool for the do-it-all parents, and any new dad knows that kids can get themselves into crazy situations and break just about anything you give them. So, the fact that this modern penknife tool has a screw driver, Lego un-picker, stylus, iPhone pin, car maintenance laser and a torch, it is certain to come in useful on a family adventure. It also has a Power Bank to charge your phone and a fish eye lens for capturing great family selfies too.

So, to put the car and Life HaX tool to the test we planned a day trip out to Cliveden House National Trust. The baby seat went in so easily (Isofix) that I nearly applied to work weekends at the baby section at John Lewis. However, we got the fear early on as our baby’s favourite Sing & Sign CD couldn’t be played as there is no player for it. This car was too futuristic and if only I had the songs converted to my iPhone I could have played it through iPhone CarPlay (lesson learned, keep with the times and get techier). But on this day, we were lucky as there was no fuss or tantrums – she was probably admiring the snazzy interiors which didn’t smell of sick and old nappies. I had also discovered that the car has its own 4G which meant I could link up the iPad and play Hey Duggee as a backup. The Life HaX tool had also been prised away from my hands at brunch by the unbelievable strength of my child who had now claimed it as her favourite toy. But to have my breakfast in quiet, it was a small price to pay.

All in all, the Vauxhall Grandland X at just £24,800 is a superb vehicle, especially for a growing family who tends to lug around a lot of stuff (buggies, suitcases, high chair, toys, travel cot) and the Life Hax; well it’s great for any dad to have a tool that means he can save the day or fix things at ease whenever the time occurs. We will take dad-points whenever we can get them.

Craig Landale

Previously heading up digital marketing at a large UK menswear group, Craig steers the ship at Menswear Style and has a keen interest for sustainable brands, fashion startups and British manufacturing.

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