Thursday 19 September 2019

X marks the spot for Opel

Ultimate Grandland X may be the last word in luxury but it comes at a substantial price, writes Geraldine Herbert

Opel’s Grandland X SUV now comes with a better spec and a bigger enginecluding
Opel’s Grandland X SUV now comes with a better spec and a bigger enginecluding

There was a time when car-buying was relatively simple, hatchbacks were for singletons, saloons were for small families, while for larger families there were estates, and when you went on holidays, you got a roof rack.

These days we demand panoramic sunroofs, chunky bumpers and cars that give the impression, that, while you may appear to be simply running children to school, you have forded rivers and crossed tundra to get there.

This has given rise to a host of SUVs and crossovers including the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Renault Kadjar and Mazda's CX-5 - all essentially hatchbacks in denial competing for the same family buyers.

Opel's largest SUV is the Grandland X and sits beside the Mokka X and Crossland X in the X range. Outside, the elegant lines accentuate its rugged SUV charm and kerb appeal. The interior is as you would expect: an ensemble of leather and chrome that is light, airy and comfortable but it feels a little dull when compared to rivals, particularly Peugeot's 3008.

Space is good throughout, and, despite its relatively modest scale, there is plenty of room for five people and a generous 514 litres of luggage space.

There are four models to tempt you: SC, Sri, Elite and Ultimate. I tested the Ultimate version - the range-topper of the pack. Powered by a new 2.0 litre 177hp diesel engine, it is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine range also includes a 1.2-litre 130hp turbo petrol and a 130hp 1.5-litre turbo diesel. A plug-in hybrid is due next year and will be the first Opel hybrid on the market.

On the road it handles well and the ride is firm but comfortable. It soaks up motorway miles and is a smooth, refined cruiser. While it's not particularly sporty, it doesn't lean quite as much on corners as some rivals do.

The energetic diesel delivers a wallet-soothing 4.9 l/100km and will whisk you from 0-100 km/h in 9.5 seconds with a top speed of 211 km/h, CO2 figures are 128 g/km so tax is €270 annually.

Reassuringly, the Grandland X comes with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and notable highlights, including a 360-degree parking camera and Opel's innovative OnStar service. The standard spec is generous, but move up to the Ultimate trim level and you also gain adaptive cruise control, Navi 5.0 IntelliLink system, wireless phone charging and Denon premium sound system adding a luxurious feel to the trim. There are, however, a couple of niggles. The interior is a little dull and there is no all-wheel drive option as standard - so no driving across a rutted field - but the big stumbling block may well be the price. At €41,595, it is €13,000 more than the base model priced at €28,395 and €8,000 up from the Elite trim level which starts at €33,495.

The Ultimate Grandland X certainly ticks all the boxes and it offers a lot more as standard than you would expect in a family car.

And yes, it comes with a hefty price tag but it's practical and tough, yet has an unmistakable air of luxury and copious amounts of perfectly sprung lumbar support.

Sunday Independent

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