Opel Grandland X 1.6T

Essentially French: Opel Grandland X 1.6T Enjoy

By Gordon Hall

The world turns. Necessity provides odd bedfellows. Truth is stranger than fiction. These and other trite sayings mean, basically, “Hoodathunkit?”

So it is with Opel and its newest SUV, Grandland X. Despite still being headquartered at Rüsselsheim-am-Main, Opel is no longer strictly German. Or even semi-American. The General (GM) has sold up and gone and La Résistance rules the streets.

The brand is now essentially French.

L’évidence: Grandland is built on motor group PSA’s new EMP (Efficient Modular Platform), is powered by Peugeot’s 1600 cc turbopetrol Prince motor developed in conjunction with BMW and puts power to the road via the group’s six-speed EAT (Efficient Automatic Transmission).

Relax; it’s just business. Hanging on to GM-aligned components would have meant stiffer licensing fees.

Grandland X Cosmo

We have three models in SA; plain Grandland X, Grandland X Enjoy and Grandland X Cosmo, all with the same engine and transmission. They range in price from R429 000 to R565 000, with a R100 000 jump between Enjoy and Cosmo. That’s because Cosmo has a lot more kit. For example: bigger (18”) alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres, skid plates, side mouldings, tinted windows, aluminium roof rails, adaptive LED headlamps, ventilated leather seats with heating and cooling, an automatic tailgate that opens when you swing a foot below the bumper, 360-degree cameras and navigation built into the IntelliLink entertainment system.

All-electric movements

Our test vehicle was a mid-range Enjoy model with a few extras; notably the smarter infotainment setup with satnav for R12 000, a panoramic roof at R11 000 and leather upholstery with those hot ‘n cold front chairs at R22 000. Both adjust for elevation, tilt and lumbar in addition to the usual ways, while the driver enjoys all-electric movements and two memory settings.

Standard on Enjoy are 17” alloy wheels with 215/65 tyres, automated halogen headlamps,“ordinary” IntelliLink entertainment without satnav, reading lamps for rear passengers, fabric upholstery with leatherette bolsters, height adjustment for both front chairs with AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rücken or Campaign for Healthier Backs) certification for the pilot’s seat, dual zone climate control, power windows with one-touch, cruise control with speed limiter, warmed- and folding electric mirrors, rain sensing wipers and an electric parking brake that engages and releases itself.

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Safety items include six airbags, automatic headlamps with high beam assist, tyre pressure monitoring, parking assistance, disc brakes front and rear with ABS and EBD, ESP, hill start, traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning. A minor annoyance with this is that it resets back to “on” every time the engine restarts, so if you prefer it turned off for urban use, you could be frustrated.

Basic Grandland saves money with plainer seats, no rear reading lights, no lane departure warning, non-automatic headlamps and wipers and deletion of a couple of trim items.

Comfort and practicality for those in the back:
● Sufficient headroom,
● Just enough knee- and foot space,
● The usual restraints,
● Second courtesy light,
● USB socket and repeater vents,
● The load-through slot; as vital for Europeans as cup holders are for Americans.

For those in front:
● Bottle storage in the central armrest box,
● Versatile cup holder/oddments tray in the console,
● Second 12-volt socket,
● Almost endless upward seat adjustment for shorter drivers,
● Enough storage, although the glove box suffers from big lid, limited space, syndrome.
Our only niggles were that the music menu is difficult to negotiate and the “C” pillars are too bulky for comfortable reversing. You could find yourself wishing for the Cosmo with its all-round cameras.

The boot:
● Loads at about 80cm, which is higher than most,
● Bi-level with 10cm storage under the adjustable base board,
● Neatly rectangular with light, four lashing rings and 12-volt socket,
● Remote releases for the 60:40-split seatbacks that fold completely flat,
● Jack and tools in neat plastic box within the steel spacesaver.

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It’s an SUV and we live in farming country. It also won a couple of “SUV of the Year”awards, despite offering only 123 mm of (fully loaded) ground clearance, from Canadian and German Offroad magazines. That’s why we tried it out on the dirt roads past the veggie farms.

It surprised us pleasantly, being one of few cars with normal suspension to float over the rough stuff without rattling teeth; even at low speeds, which is the acid test.

Guess those particular foreigners were equally impressed. Pity they don’t know what “off-road” means, though.

* Test unit from Opel SA press fleet.

THE NUMBERS
Price: R465 000
Engine: 1598 cc, DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder turbopetrol
Power: 121 kW between 5200 and 6000 rpm
Torque: 240 Nm between 1400 and 4000 rpm
Zero to 100km/h: 9.5 seconds
Maximum speed: About 180 km/h
Real-life fuel consumption: About 8.3 l/100km
Tank: 53 litres
Luggage: 514-1652 litres
Warranty: 5 years/120 000km, with roadside assistance
Service plan: 5 years/90 000km, at annual or 15 000km intervals