Karl joins the family as Opel take city route
ZAANDAM, north of Amsterdam, was the perfect place for Opel to unveil their latest family member, 'Karl'.
Named after one of Adam von Opel's sons, Karl is a five-door city car (no three-door version) that is the 'Netherlands' of the car world.
It looks small but, in reality, there's a lot going on underneath.
Karl is prettier in the metal than in photographs. It is modestly proportioned but spacious.
It feels airy and for a car this size there is decent space for rear passengers.
Some models have a Lane Departure Warning System and Hill Start Assist as standard.
But you can also kit out your Karl with a heated leather steering wheel and other 'big car comforts' if you feel the need.
Opel's new OnStar service automatically calls the emergency services and sends them the car's GPS coordinates in the event of a serious collision.
Launch vehicles won't come with this option but, importantly, it will be available from 2016.
Also coming down the line from next year will be Opel's newest infotainment technology that allows owners of either Apple or android devices to sync their phones to the car and use some applications directly from Karl's bright colour touchscreen display.
The German test cars we drove already had this nifty gadget and it worked a treat for satellite navigation and playing music.
And if all of that was not enough, Karl has a City Steering mode that makes the steering lighter and therefore easier when negotiating tight city bends.
It makes you wonder how they cram all of it in?
When Karl arrives on Irish shores - it is due in August - its 'on-the-road' pricing will start at €12,695.
That will be for the entry level S model. If you go up €1,700 you get SC and another €1,000 again puts you in the top specification SE model.
All models have a new spritely and quiet three-cylinder one-litre petrol engine with 75bhp.
Despite the lack of a turbo it skips along at a fine rate but it can get touchy if you get heavy footed, so take your time.
It produces 104 grams of CO2 per kilometre meaning it costs €190 to tax each year. In the saturated-by-choice but still niche-selling city-car segment, Karl is less expensive than some rivals but more expensive than others.
Even though many of the attention-grabbing features do not come as standard on the expected volume selling models, Karl still feels like value for money.
That's because no matter what model you choose you get lots of space.
And if you decide to treat yourself to the goodies then the money certainly should not seem wasted.
You get a lot of stuff in return. Indeed I'd say it's a whole 'Netherlands' amount of stuff.