The reboot of the Opel brand continues to gather pace in South Africa with the arrival of the new Grandland X, the German marque's offering in the extremely busy and competitive crossover/SUV segment. We take a closer look.
Since General Motors left South Africa late last year, the new local distributors of Opel, the Williams Hunt Group, has had a busy time restoring confidence in the brand and optimising its dealership network for the years ahead. It has made quick progress – the brand grew in market share in the first quarter of the year, launched the Crossland X and it has established a 35-strong dealership network that is better in tune with its target audience and future product roll-out. It has also launched Opel Finance (with WesBank) and a Guaranteed Future Value programme is on the cards soon. So... Opel is here to stay and confident for the future. The freshly introduced Grandland X C-segment SUV is the brand's new flagship.
Positioning in a tough segment
Looks closely and you can see hints of its sibling, the Peugeot 3008, but for the most part the Grandland X has a look of its own.
The C-segment for SUVs is one of the few areas in the market that is showing steady growth. The Grandland X will compete against such tough challengers as our current Cars.co.za Consumer Awards - Powered by WesBank, Family Car champion, the Mazda CX-5, last year's winner the Volkswagen Tiguan and the car that the Opel is actually based upon, the excellent Peugeot 3008. Other rivals include the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage. Certainly a tough crowd...
Initially Opel will offer only 3 derivatives, all powered by the same 121kW/240Nm 1.6L turbopetrol sourced from Peugeot, coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission. We know this engine well, of course, and it has impressed in the French maker's products thus far. The media did not have the opportunity to drive the Grandland X at its introduction, but as it shares its underpinnings and drivetrain with the 3008, we expect a similarly comfortable, agile feel from behind the steering wheel. The Grandland X is one of the lightest vehicles in its segment, a fact that contributes to excellent (claimed) fuel efficiency. A 2.0L turbodiesel derivative will join the line-up in the first quarter of 2019.
Upmarket design and finishes
Cabin is similar to the one in the Astra and emphasises clean, sweeping surfaces and advanced features.
The Grandland X may be based on the 3008 but the 2 cars look completely different. In line with Opel's current design theme, the Grandland X features neat, chiselled lines that are devoid of frills. It relies on sculpting and details (LED signature etc.) to stand out from the crowd. For once, Opel will make the Grandland X available in a variety of interesting colours, and buyers can also opt for a contrasting black roof or even a full-length panoramic sunroof.
Inside, the 3008's unique i-Cockpit layout has given way to a facia that appears very similar to the one in the Astra. Gone is the small, low-mounted steering wheel and instead the focus falls on a sweeping dashboard design and high quality materials. As is the case with most Opels, the driving position is really good, with a wide range of adjustment on offer from the rake/reach adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat. There are also loads of storage spaces, and rear legroom is generous. The boot measures 514L, one of the biggest in this segment and you can drop the rear seats from a standing position behind the car to free up a total of 1 652L of space.
Loads of tech
Turbocharged 1.6L turbo engine is mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
One of the Opel brand's key USPs is the "democratization of innovation". In short, it believes new technology should be available to everyone. Consequently its cars tend to be highly specified.
The baby of the range, the 1.6T automatic may have smaller 16-inch wheels and cloth upholstery, but it still gets a neat colour touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability. Climate control, cruise control, park assist and LED daytime running lights are also standard. If you want leather, you can spend about R19 000 more and get not only that, but also seat ventilation.
A likely strong seller is the Enjoy derivative which adds 17-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers and auto lights, as well as a lane-departure warning system. The flagship Cosmo comes fully loaded with 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, blind spot alert, navigation, automated parking, adaptive LED headlamps, heated seats, a hands-free power tailgate and more.
Model range and Pricing
Grandland X 1.6T Automatic - R429 000
Grandland X 1.6T Enjoy Automatic - R465 000
Grandland X 1.6T Cosmo Automatic - R565 000
Prices include Opel's usual (and excellent) 5-years/120 000 warranty and a 5-years/90 000 km service plan. We will receive the Grandland X for testing soon, so watch out for a full review.