Only the obscurity of the badge stands between this and a place at the top table at the seven-seat MPV party. Looks great, is terrific to drive and packs a VW diesel.
The downside to the Grandis’s agility is a certain stiffness in the ride. There’s also a fair bit of vibration and tyre noise at speed which makes long distances harder work than they should be in something this big.
There are two engines to choose from, neither of which is a sure fire winner. Both petrol and diesel take around 11 seconds to see off 60mph, but the slightly noisy diesel at least can provide dramatically superior fuel economy.
In the inherently uncool world of the large MPV the Grandis at least looks the part. And the fact that it’s half-decent to drive gives it another edge over the usual mumsy fair out there.
Bold, swoopy interior design can’t quite hide the fact that some of the plastics are a bit cheap. The diesel engine is sourced from Volkswagen though, so that should be very strong.
You’d be forgiven for thinking we were having you on, but the Grandis actually drives really well. It sits lower than most MPVs, meaning it doesn’t roll much, and the steering is sharp and fairly communicative.
This is what it all boils down to with MPVs, and the Grandis isn’t to be found wanting. A proper seven-seat configuration that folds and concertinas and all sorts. It’s not the biggest or easiest to use, but it’s right up there.
If you take the Renault Grand Scenic as the mid-size MPV benchmark then the Grandis fairs well on initial purchase price. It might not hold its value like some of the more desirable cars in this segment though, so you could lose out in the long run.
The Citroen C-Crosser is the same car as the Mitsubishi Outlander and Peugeot’s 4007 – they’re identical but with different tinsel. Doesn’t make them bad though. Manufactured by Mitsubishi, they make a lot of sense.
Firmly sprung but well damped, Citroen’s first 4×4 (ish) since the 2CV Mehari variant makes for a decent motorway companion. When things work this well and you don’t pay very much dynamically, the high driving position becomes a boon you get to like.
The 2.2-litre four-pot turbo diesel in the C-Crosser is a gem. It may only have 154bhp, but the car punts from rest to 62mph in just under 10 seconds and can overtake and ride the motorways with ease. A terminal speed of 124mph is perfectly achievable but unnecessary.
Acceptable parked on the drive, though don’t expect a C-Crosser to get you laid unless you live in a really rough town.
All the variants of this car are built by Mitsubishi, so although the C-Crosser is built with the exacting standards of the Japanese, it won’t win many design awards. Feels good inside though.
Very, very car-like, the C-Crosser has a well-judged chassis set-up that makes it genuinely fun to drive. It doesn’t get distracted by bumps and can be made to dispense quite a lot of speed on tight roads. Decent steering and strong brakes help.
Pop-up kid’s seats in the back are a stroke of genius for families with kids and friends and kit to transport. The boot’s also big with just five to seat – it’ll hold 770litres. As an all-round car it’s hard to pick fault.
Insurance at Group 12 feels steep, but around 40mpg is a nice surprise for an SUV, even a soft one. Not in the highest VED band for tax – but it’ll still hit you for £200 a year.