The boom in the compact SUV segment is showing no signs of abating, with almost every manufacturer offering at least one model. Opel’s is this, the Grandland X – one of the first new models to be launched following General Motors’s offloading of the brand to the PSA Group (Peugeot/Citroën).
This means that the Grandland X shares a platform with one of its rivals – the Peugeot 3008. You’d expect much of the same, then… But, a week spent with the top-spec Grandland X Cosmo 1.6T A/T proved that the two vehicles couldn’t be more different – and all the better for it.
What can I expect from the Grandland X?
Any SUV needs to have the right image – it needs to look suitably rugged to tackle the urban jungle and have a dash of sophistication, too. The Grandland X certainly has the requisite handsome and sophisticated image. Thick black plastic cladding on the doors and silver accents on the front and rear bumper fascias combine with aluminium roof rails, the Grandland X’s sharp lines, and LED daytime running lights and taillamps to give it a strong overall appearance.
The sophistication carries over to the five-seat interior. Typical of Opel, the design is neat and minimalist, with soft-touch materials and a classy mix of trim in piano-black, chrome and silver. It also means that everything falls easily to hand and is easy to use. Overall quality is good, too – other than the creaky plastic trim on the door pulls…
Practicality is a key attribute that contributes to the popularity of SUVs as family transport, and the Grandland X offers all that’s needed including a handy double-level boot floor with between 514 and 1 652-litres of utility space. Large door pockets and numerous cubbies line the interior.
Is it loaded with lots of safety features and other nice toys?
Central to the minimalist dash is the latest version of Opel’s eight-inch IntelliLink infotainment system – which is easier to use than ever with simple shortcut buttons to the various systems and intuitive menus. On the Grandland X Cosmo it boasts navigation and also serves as the display for the 360° parking camera (which, while mediocre in image quality, is coupled to parking-assist sensors).
This is just the start, though, and buyers will be left wanting little with the Grandland Cosmo. Key features of this model include powerful adaptive LED headlamps, a hands-free power tailgate, heated seats both front and rear (the fronts are also ventilated) as well as a heated steering wheel.
The only safety feature exclusive to the Cosmo is blindspot monitoring, however it also offers lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition, keyless entry and start, tyre-pressure monitoring, and a full compliment of airbags and electronic safety aids.
What’s it like from behind the wheel?
The Grandland X makes use of its new owner’s 1,6-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol that produces 121 kW and 240 Nm. It’s a punchy, smooth-revving unit that drives the front wheels only (incidentally, fitted with 18-inch Pirelli Scorpion all-weather tyres) through a responsive, smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.
Seated in the electronically adjusted, ergonomically-designed driver’s seat, the Grandland X fulfills another key criteria of the compact SUV – it’s easy to drive; feeling light on its feet, refined and comfortable.
Opel claims that the Grandland X will consume an average of 7 l/100 km and 9,8 in town. I averaged higher than that at 11,6. A diesel-engined version would definitely raise the appeal of this model among fuel-economy-conscious buyers.
Should I buy one, or look around?
At R565 000 the Opel Grandland X Cosmo competes against at least ten individual competitors, from the likes of its Peugeot 3008 cousin to the impressive VW Tiguan and many more in between.
While Opel is just finding its feet again under the stewardship of its new owners, the Grandland X is certainly the right type of product, in the right segment, to help boost its popularity among buyers. It’s refined, well equipped and has an image that should appeal to compact SUV buyers.
CyberStoep rating: 7,5/10