We drove the Opel Grandland X: driving pleasure enhanced with (s)pace and grace…

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Opel has some impressive cards up its sleeve in the compact SUV segment, and the most recent addition to the range, the Grandland, hits all the stops: it is stylish, roomy, comfortable and offers genuine driving pleasure. It revealed itself as a comfortable and smooth urban cruiser as well as a zesty and fast tourer on the open road. Op top of all that, it remained quite frugal too…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Stylish

The new Grandland X pleased us with its clean and well proportioned lines, and we liked also the dual tone color scheme of our test car. It was sprayed in ‘Dark Ruby Red’ metallic and had the Black Roof Pack.

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Inside the positive impression continues with enough space for five, plus extra accommodation for two children. The dashboard is also cleanly styled in the good Opel tradition, with large and clear round instrumentation set in a pleasing cluster.

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On the centre console is an 8 inch touchscreen with last but not least an excellent dab+ radio and sound system, so-called Navi5 Intellilink navigation and last but not least excellent driving and parking aids. Indeed, our test car was equipped with view camera’s fore and aft, and 360° view around, which is included in the Park & Go Technology Pack 3. Needless to say that (safe) parking was a breeze…

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One drawback was the difficult to reach USB slot, which was not illuminated too, making it impossible to find the slot at night or in darkness to hook up your phone or other device. Of course, one only has to leave a charging/connection cable in the slot, and the problem is solved, but it was somewhat disconcerting at first…

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The  seats are very comfortable indeed, with a wide range of adjustment warranting a perfect driving position. Lumbar and upper leg support is truly excellent, and indeed Opel has invested a lot into developing state of the art seating. The cabin was further enhanced with led atmosphere lighting strips adorning door panels and cabin sides. There is enough room to unload all your sundry bits and bottles too.

Very pleasing drivetrain

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Our test car came with the 1,2 liter three cylinder petrol engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This proved a very good combination. The petrol engine emits a pleasant throb when one pushes the throttle a bit deeper, but is almost totally silent at slow speeds and when maneuvering and parking with the engine close to idling.

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The excellent torque delivery of this engine allows high gearing, which means very low revs at legal cruising speeds, making this Grandland also a very silent and relaxing high speed cruiser. The gearbox is ideally tuned to the engine’s characteristics, changing down at the slightest blip of the throttle and letting the engine get to work with quite a sporting roar. The Grandland is utterly smooth and unobtrusive in urban driving, but feels equally totally at home when more power and zest is wanted.

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Performance therefore leaves very little to be desired, and with this high gearing and alert gearbox it is quite possible to achieve very good economy, even when driving in quite a spirited manner but with some anticipation. Even when driving at the maximum legal speed limits on the open road and adopting rather a swift urban driving style, it proved quite easy to reach an average consumption during our test of 7,2 liters/100 km, which shows how efficient our modern drivetrains have become. The manufacturer quotes 5,5 liters as the ECE average with 18 inch wheels, which were mounted on our test car. CO2 emissions are set at 127 g/km.

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The Grandland X with this petrol engine reveals itself in everyday use as a very fast car, given the totally effortless and silent way it cruises at high speeds, and the very good torque delivery which makes it quite lively at intermediate speeds. It will accelerate without any fuss in 10,9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, and has a top speed of 188 km/h.

Well tuned suspension

Opel has devoted great attention to strike a perfect balance between comfort and handling. The Grandland steers with precision and accuracy, feels totally at home on winding roads, is quite agile, combining all this with unerring high speed stability, which we came to appreciate in stormy and rainy winter weather. The Grandland is comfortable too, being quite unimpressed by worn out tarmac and battered pavés.

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Driving at night is also effortless, and one word of praise is proper for the excellent lighting, which was installed on the Innovation equipment level we tested. Indeed, Adaptative Forward Lighting with led headlamps come with corner illumination, high beam assistant and automatic nivellation, which are truly appreciated in our dark rainy days…

The Grandland X driver can also opt for the All Road Pack, which sets you only back some 400 Euros, and guarantees you optimal grip in most driving circumstances with its Intelligrip-traction.  It will influence the automatic gearbox and the gearchange points, and controls the torque transferred to the front wheels.

Roomy and connected…

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The wheelbase of 2675 millimeter warrants enough space for five, and there is enough luggage room too, anything between 514 and 1652 liters. Of course there is top connectivity with Intellilink, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and last but not least Opel’s OnStar assistance system which allows you now even to book hotel rooms and parking spaces via Booking.com.

Conclusion

Opel has with the Grandland X a very able and attractive SUV, seamlessly completing the present range, which includes the Mokka X and Crossland X. It drives super smoothly and relaxing, yet is fast and frugal. It scores also quite high in comfort, space, practicality and ergonomics. On top of all this, it is admirably well built and looks good…

Its three cylinder 1,2 petrol engine is quite convincing, as well as gearbox and suspension. So on the high tech field, this Grandland X scores too, with excellent connectivity and driving aids. Last but not least, it offers sturdiness and reliability, and all this with quite good value for money.

Hans Knol ten Bensel