Built on iden­ti­cal plat­forms and util­is­ing the same driv­e­trains, the 3008 and Grandland X are like fra­ter­nal twins raised by dif­fer­ent par­ents. Which par­ent did a bet­ter job?

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

TTHE doc­u­men­tary Twin­sters is based on the true story of a French woman who dis­cov­ers that she has a twin sis­ter. The film chron­i­cles their even­tual re­union, and their dis­cov­ery that they have so much in com­mon, de­spite hav­ing dif­fer­ent par­ents and growing up in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and cul­tures.

It’s the same story with the Peu­geot 3008 and Opel Grandland X.

At first, it would seem that the 3008 and Grandland X are ac­tu­ally “cousins”, since Peu­geot and Opel are sis­ter com­pa­nies. How­ever, when you learn that both mod­els share so much DNA but don’t look alike, it ac­tu­ally makes them seem more like fra­ter­nal twins.

At first glance, the ex­ter­nal re­sem­blance be­tween these two SUVs isn’t ob­vi­ous, as their front and rear ends are strik­ingly dif­fer­ent. The 3008 is the glam­orous one here, with a larger chrome grille and more bling (chrome trim) on its foglamps and rear bumper. The Grandland X, on the other hand, is rel­a­tively un­der­stated be­cause it has fewer shiny bits. But it does seem more mus­cu­lar, thanks to the sharp creases on its bon­net and more prom­i­nent shoul­der lines.

De­spite their dif­fer­ences in styling, a closer look at both cars re­veals that both of them share the same com­po­nents. Their

doors and win­dows, for in­stance, are ob­vi­ously sim­i­lar. They even use the same lit­tle wiper for the rear wind­screen. The 3008 and Grandland X are al­most iden­ti­cal in size, too, with the for­mer be­ing slightly taller (by just 15mm) than the lat­ter. The Opel is a hair longer (by 30mm) and wider (by 15mm) than the Peu­geot, but both ve­hi­cles have the same wheel­base length of 2675mm.

Both SUVs’ in­te­ri­ors mir­ror their ex­te­rior de­signs. Set­tle in be­hind the wheel of the 3008 and you’ll be wowed by its cock­pit, which is not only pretty, but looks so ad­vanced that you could imagine see­ing the same con­trols in a French fighter plane.

The digital in­stru­ment panel and in­fo­tain­ment screen will daz­zle you with their sharp graph­ics, and keen driv­ers will ab­so­lutely love the chunky paddle shifters, along with the small race­car-like steer­ing wheel. The snazzy gearshift lever looks more like a joy­stick that’s paired to a game con­sole. I’m par­tic­u­larly fond of the rocker switches on the dash­board, which have the kind of tac­til­ity you’d find in a lux­ury car.

Less ap­peal­ing, on the other hand, is the 3008’s lack of user­friend­li­ness. For in­stance, I don’t like how the air-con­di­tion­ing con­trols are parked in the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. It means you can’t ad­just the tem­per­a­ture un­til the unit has booted up, a process that isn’t ex­actly in­stan­ta­neous. If the 3008 has been bak­ing in the sun, every sec­ond you wait to ac­cess the cli­mate con­trols feels like for­ever. You won’t be in­con­ve­nienced by such is­sues in the Grandland X, whose cock­pit has less piz­zazz but is more “sen­si­ble”. Yes, there is a touch­screen-op­er­ated in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, but the

air-con­di­tioner’s con­trols are phys­i­cal in­stead of vir­tual.

You’ll def­i­nitely heave a sigh of re­lief, too, once you ac­ti­vate the Opel’s seat ven­ti­la­tion func­tion, which the 3008 doesn’t have. The Peu­geot also lacks the con­ve­nience of the Opel’s pow­ered driver’s seat with mem­ory set­tings, which are handy when the car is shared by more than one driver.

Nat­u­rally, both cars have equally spa­cious back­seats that eas­ily ac­com­mo­date three adults, thanks to the flat rear floors. But if all three oc­cu­pants have de­vices that need

recharg­ing, they’ll only have a 12-volt out­let and USB point to share amongst them­selves. When it comes to boot space, driv­ers will pre­fer the 3008 to the Grandland X, be­cause it of­fers slightly more ca­pac­ity with the rear seats up (520 litres ver­sus 514 litres) and has a lower load­ing point.

How­ever, if your lifestyle in­volves plenty of load-haul­ing, the Opel ac­tu­ally of­fers more vol­ume when the rear seats are folded, with 1652 litres ver­sus the Pug’s 1580 litres. The Grandland X’s pow­ered tail­gate (which the 3008 lacks) is an added

con­ve­nience, too.

Be­neath their bon­nets, both crossovers have iden­ti­cal tur­bocharged 1.2-litre 3-cylin­der en­gines which de­velop 129hp and 230Nm. A quick glance at the spec sheets shows that the Grandland X is marginally quicker from zero to 100km/h (by 0.4 of a sec­ond, to be ex­act).

Don’t be­lieve what you’ve read, though. Be­cause when you get be­hind the wheel of the Grandland X, it un­for­tu­nately feels like it is 4 sec­onds slower than the 3008.

Per­haps Opel’s fo­cus was to make the driv­e­train more re­fined

and less re­spon­sive. At any rate, the end re­sult is that the Grandland X feels lack­adaisi­cal com­pared to the 3008.

For­tu­nately, han­dling, which is one of Opel’s strengths, is present in this car. The Grandland X is al­ways com­posed, even over woolly sur­faces, and while its turn-in isn’t very keen, it does take cor­ners neatly. That should be enough for most mo­torists.

How­ever, if you count your­self among the mi­nor­ity of keen driv­ers, then it’s the 3008 that would tickle your fancy. The 3008 feels a lot more ea­ger than the Opel, and in Sport mode, even keeps the revs go­ing a bit too high. There were quite a few times when I’d wish the gear­box would just shift up, be­cause the drone from the en­gine had be­come an­noy­ing.

Then again, I would for­get about the en­gine’s noise when­ever I en­counter a se­ries

of cor­ners. The 3008 feels nim­bler than the Grandland X, and its com­pact, nicely con­toured steer­ing wheel makes you imagine you’re pi­lot­ing a gi­ant go-kart.

If I were go­ing on a road trip, I’d def­i­nitely pick this French model. Choos­ing be­tween these fra­ter­nal twins wasn’t so straight­for­ward, though.

The Opel’s Ger­man-ness is very ap­peal­ing to me. Its cock­pit is more com­fort­able (thanks to those ven­ti­lated seats) and more ra­tio­nal than the Peu­geot. And since I’m low-key by na­ture, I’m drawn to the un­der­stated de­sign of the Grandland X.

How­ever, op­po­sites re­ally do at­tract. After driv­ing both crossovers back to back, I found the 3008 to be more com­pelling.

True to its French roots, the 3008 is in­deed stylish. But what re­ally got me is how the Peu­geot has gone a step fur­ther by be­ing flam­boy­ant, too.

3008 (above) of­fers bet­ter han­dling, while the Grandland X has bet­ter ride qual­ity.

Grandland X’s cock­pit (be­low) is more func­tional than the 3008’s and safer, too, thanks to the blind spot mon­i­tor.

Grandland X boot (above, right) is bet­ter for bulkier items, but any­one be­low 1.7m tall will be in­con­ve­nienced by its higher load­ing point.

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