Good pack­age, but lacks the cool fac­tor

ROAD TEST/ Mark Smyth tests the Opel Grandland X to see if it is as hip as its Peu­geot 3008 cousin

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Plat­form shar­ing is def­i­nitely back and in some cases it is just like the 1980s and 1990s when the same car wore a dif­fer­ent badge. Even seem­ingly ri­val car mak­ers are shar­ing plat­forms. Just look at the Nis­san Navara and Mercedes-Benz X-Class and what about Peu­geot en­gines in BMWs and Minis and vice versa. There is more and more col­lab­o­ra­tion go­ing on, which in some cases is good and in some cases less so.

This brings us to the Opel Grandland X. Es­sen­tially it is a Peu­geot 3008 and we liked that cross­over so much we gave it 4½ stars out of five when we tested it late in 2017. But what we re­ally liked was the in­te­rior, with its in­cred­i­ble i-Cock­pit de­sign, in­no­va­tive fea­tures and over­all value.

The Grandland X costs over 40 grand more than the equiv­a­lent Pug, so you would ex­pect it to be even bet­ter, pos­si­bly a five star car? Sadly no, be­cause ev­ery­thing that was cool about the Peu­geot is glar­ingly miss­ing from the Opel.

The styling is sim­i­lar but where the Peu­geot has more quirky de­sign points, the Opel is a lit­tle more main­stream. That’s not to say it is not a good look­ing ve­hi­cle be­cause it is, it just lacks the more ad­ven­tur­ous de­sign char­ac­ter of the 3008.

And nowhere is this more ap­par­ent than the in­te­rior. The Grandland X has sim­ple, el­e­gant curves on the mul­ti­layer dash­board. The fit and fin­ish seems good and the switchgear all well placed, mak­ing the drive pleas­ant. But there’s no sign of Peu­geot’s dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter, the fighter-jet style gear­stick and the over­all i-Cock­pit de­sign.

The Peu­geot eclipses the Opel in all of these ar­eas, from de­sign to tech­nol­ogy and, let’s be hon­est, the Pug has a Cats Paws mas­sag­ing func­tion — the Opel just can’t com­pete.

How­ever, if you don’t want all that stuff and, of course, if you don’t want to buy a Peu­geot, then ev­ery­thing else is ba­si­cally the same. This means a de­cent 1.6l tur­bocharged mo­tor that pushes out 121kW and 240Nm, although you do have to rev it rather high to get the max­i­mum power out of it.

The torque peak is much lower which does com­pen­sate a lit­tle but oc­ca­sion­ally you will find your­self drop­ping a gear just to get a more sat­is­fy­ing level of ac­cel­er­a­tion. Around town the Grandland X de­liv­ers a rea­son­able dose of re­sponse for the av­er­age com­mute.

The ride com­fort is also good, with it cop­ing well with the many bumps and dips that we all have to en­dure in Joburg on a daily ba­sis. Sound in­su­la­tion was also quite good and it is easy to en­joy a nice re­laxed ride. Like the 3008, the Opel can be a lit­tle soft when it comes to sus­pen­sion but noth­ing that will re­ally bother any­one but those who are a lit­tle more de­mand­ing.

In­te­rior space is good with lots of room for those in the back too and the boot space is great, although we did find the elec­tric tail­gate to be tem­per­a­men­tal and oc­ca­sion­ally had to put our bags on the floor to shout at it a bit.

It’s con­nected too with abil­ity to con­nect your phone, stream your favourite mu­sic and a whole lot more, es­sen­tial in this day and age when many man­u­fac­tur­ers are sell­ing ve­hi­cles less on their styling and per­for­mance and more on their level of con­nec­tiv­ity.

Over­all the Grandland X is a good pack­age, but at its price it faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion that will make it a hard sell to all but the diehard Opel fans. And then there is the Peu­geot, which would be our choice of the two.

The de­sign of the Grandland X is good, just not as good as its Peu­geot cousin.

The in­te­rior, left, is where the big­gest dif­fer­ence is clear be­tween the cool i-Cock­pit of the Peu­geot and the main­stream de­sign of the Opel. Be­low: The rear de­sign is clean and mod­ern but the elec­tric tail­gate proved tem­per­a­men­tal.

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