Does the Opel Grandland, the big brother of the Opel SUV line-up, got what it takes to edge out the competition?
Opel has not been a mainstream brand on most buyers’ lists for a while now, thanks to stiff SUV competition and astronomical COE prices nuking sales for most non-premium car brands.
But, don’t count them out just yet. With parent company Stellantis’s backing, we have started to see a resurgence in their line-up. The Mokka has led the charge, but now it’s time to give the big brother of the family a glow-up. Cue the Opel Grandland.
Subtle and clean
We’ll leave you to decide whether you dig its looks, but there’s no denying that Opel has done well to disguise the fact that it’s a close relative to another Stellantis family SUV – the Peugeot 3008.
A facelift in 2021 saw the Grandland drop the ‘X’ from its name, and updates give it a sharper overall look, particularly at the front end with the addition of a new Vizor grille design, carried over from the Mokka.
It looks more traditional than the wildly styled 3008, and has simple, well-proportioned lines that give it a sensible grown-up demeanour.
Unlike Peugeot, Opel has kept the cabin more conservative. The dashboard is logically laid out, with separate climate control buttons that are easy to operate without getting distracted while you’re driving.
It’s worth noting that this test unit has outdated infotainment screens, with all local-bound units coming with new 10-inch screens. The touchscreen infotainment system comes with Bluetooth audio streaming as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, albeit wired. The screens have reasonably crisp graphics but need to be prodded quite firmly to get a response.
Some tasks, such as pairing your phone using Bluetooth, involve delving into the screen’s sub-menus, which can be a little frustrating to navigate if you’re not well-acquainted. The physical shortcut buttons under the screen are a welcome touch, and there are audio controls on the steering wheel for added convenience on the move.
Forward view is great in the Grandland, but the shallow rear window doesn’t offer the best rear visibility. Fortunately, Opel gives you front and rear parking sensors on all trim levels plus a 360 camera, so parking is a trivial affair.
The upper levels of the Grandland’s dash have soft-touch plastics, with gloss-black and chrome-effect trim pieces that add visual interest.
There’s really nothing particularly bad about the interior. It’s thoughtful and practical, but, you kind of get that sense that it doesn’t have the wow factor.
The Opel Grandland has a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustments, and the pedals are well-aligned with the driver’s seat. Ergonomic sports seats with lumbar support are included, and most people will find it easy enough to get comfortable and you sit reasonably high up, giving you a commanding driving position.
Out back, there is more than enough head and leg room in the Grandland for taller adults, and the interior is wide enough to ensure that front-seat occupants won’t clash elbows. The near-flat floor does at least give the middle rear passenger a fighting chance with foot space too.
Folding rear seats are standard in the Grandland, but they split 60/40, rather than the more versatile 40/20/40 arrangement some rivals offer.
At 514 litres, the boots is spacious enough to handle a pram, wheelchair, or a couple of large suitcases with ease. It’s a practical shape, with no awkward intrusions.
Spring in its steps
The Opel Grandland runs the same turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine as its Stellantis siblings, producing a respectable 129bhp and 230Nm of torque. Performance is punchy enough for most situations, delivering a healthy amount of muscle in the middle of the rev range.
The 8-speed automatic is a little laggy if you need to roll gears quickly, but its still responsive enough to rock the century sprint in 10.3 seconds, climbing all the way to a top speed of 188km/h.
However, the ride in the Grandland isn’t as forgiving over poor road surfaces especially around town, where larger abrasions can send jolts through your seat.
Another slight disadvantage is its weightless steering feel, leading to a rather dead sensation on highways. Once you turn the wheel past the first few degrees, the car starts to change direction quite quickly, and this inconsistency can take a while to get used to. It’s definitely a reliable cruiser that gets around town just fine, but don’t expect it to carve out your local B-road with ease anytime soon.
Fuel efficiency is a strong point of the Grandland, and Opel claims 19.2km/litre. During my media test, I managed to garner an average of 15.4km/litre, and that’s with some enthusiastic pedal pressing. On a full tank, you can easily conquer about 700km of range if you’re frugal enough.
Sensible, but its a tough sell
The Grandland is priced reasonably in most trims and is well-equipped and spacious enough for most families. It’s a great all-rounder that brings Opel back to form.
However, it’s hard to ignore the stiff SUV competition out there, and rivals such as the Kia Niro and Volkswagen T-Cross really give the Grandland a run for its money. Even its fellow comrade the Citroen C5 places it in a tough spot value-wise.
There’s no right or wrong to the SUV equation, and it’s all down to trying them out and seeing which SUV suits your personal lifestyle needs the best.
Engine: 1,199cc in-line 3, turbocharged
Gearbox: 8-Speed (A)
0-100km/h: 10.3 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 188km/h
Fuel Economy: 19.2km/L (claimed)
Price: S$194,500 with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Opel Singapore
Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)