Opel’s new Grandland X will take on the Qashqai

Opel’s third SUV breaks cover to enter the hotly contested market segment

Opel has no grand tradition of SUVs, in spite of its American parentage. The long-ago Frontera and the long-forgotten Antara are the only previous 4x4 blips on Opel's radar, so it is perhaps ironic that as Opel prepares to trade American owners for French ones, it's going 4x4 crazy. The Mokka has just been updated to Mokka X spec, and the Crossland X (a Meriva replacement dressed up as an SUV) has already been launched. Now we come to the crucial one – the Grandland X.

The Grandland enters one of the most hotly-contested, and potentially profitable, of all motoring sectors. It will go up against cars such as the Nissan Qashqai.

Given that the interior is lifted more or less directly from the Astra, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Grandland X is a taller, chunkier Astra but it's not. In fact, thanks to a pre-existing tech sharing agreement between Opel and its new owners at PSA Peugeot Citroen, the Grandland X rides on the same EMP2 platform as Peugeot 3008 and 5008, and Citroen's just-announced C5 Aircross. That is actually something of a disappointment, as the current Astra, riding on General Motors' D2XX platform, is one of the best-to-drive cars in its segment. An SUV version of that car would have had the potential to be genuinely rewarding to drive.

It will also feature Opel's hugely comfortable front seats, approved of by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken, or the German bad back society

Still, it will be practical. At 4.4-m long, the Grandland X is relatively compact but it has a massive 514-litre boot, which is just slightly bigger than that of the Ateca and much larger than that of the Qashqai. Cabin space should be equally impressive, while the Astra components in that cabin look as if they will create an impression of high quality.


French cousins

As with its French cousins, the Grandland won’t be offered with four-wheel drive (at least not until the plugin hybrid version arrives) and will use the same clever electronic traction-finding Grip Control system as used by Citroen and Peugeot.

Other high-tech options will include active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, all-round parking cameras, Opel’s telephone-based OnStar concierge services and more. It will also feature Opel’s hugely comfortable front seats, approved of by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken, or the German bad back society.

The engine lineup is yet to be announced, but the Grandland is likely to use a new 1.5 turbo petrol while the expected 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines will also be available.

“With the Grandland X, Opel is bringing onto the market a cool SUV with a strong ‘I want it’ factor,” says Opel’s chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring