By Nick Hodgson
While it might win the prize for the silliest name for 2018, the Opel Grandland marks the start of a new breed of vehicle in South Africa, as it’s one of the first of a new range of models into the country after the Chevrolet and co pulled out not so long ago. So who exactly is being targeted with the new Grandland and is it the shot of adrenalin the company needs right now to get them back on track and in favour with the South African public?
Well let’s deal with the basics first. The Opel Grandland falls squarely in the family SUV market and has somewhat of a distinctive look to it. My personal view is that the top of the range is rather funky looking with all the extra pieces of trim to it, however the bottom of the range models suffer somewhat from being rather bland right out the box. Peel back the exterior and underneath we find an old friend in the Peugeot 3008, with the gearbox, engine and more of the underpinnings being shared with its French counterpart. Not that it’s a bad start as the 3008 is somewhat underrated in the crossover/SUV market.
Step inside the cabin and everything is pretty bang up to date, making the Grandland a nice place to be on the morning school run. Top of the range is packed full of features too, with one of the nicest heated steering wheels I’ve ever experienced, perfect on a cold and miserable Joburg winter morning. The drive is fine too; not good, not bad, just fine. Except for the suspension that is. To call the car crashy over bumps wouldn’t be overstating things and honestly something that really annoyed me. Bumps and so forth are meant to be its forte, that’s partly why you paid to have the extra ground clearance.
Unfortunately, my gripes don’t quite end there. The boot lid is another daily annoyance that I just couldn’t get over and the problem is created by the shape of the boot. As it’s heavily curved your fingers struggle to get purchase on the outside of it when closing, a frustration made even worse by the inner handle also suffering from the same problem. Now I’m sure you by now think I’m harping on a rather small point, except I’d urge you to take a step back and just consider how often you use your boot. Four times a day at a minimum if you’re anything like me, putting laptops in and out of the car and now this has suddenly become and annoying chore I’ve never had in my life.
Overall the Opel Grandland is quite a funky, decent SUV that should find a comfortable home in this hugely popular market. Unfortunately, what Opel is really looking for is a car like this to cement them in the minds of South Africans and help it become one of the top players once again. It’s questionable as to whether the Grandland is the car to achieve that, being let down by a few pretty basic annoyances. Fortunately it has a lot of nice up-to-date tech features that should keep customers wowed. Hopefully, for Opel’s sake, wowed enough to overlook the faults.
|GRANDLAND X 1.6T A/T||GRANDLAND X 1.6T A/T ENJOY||GRANDLAND X 1.6T A/T COSMO|
|From R 429,000||From R 465,000||From R 565,000|
|16“ steel wheel||On top of the Essentia trim level:||On top of the Enjoy trim level:|
|Power & heated outside mirrors||17“ allow wheel||18“ alloy wheel|
|LED tail lamps||Two black-colored flap-keys||Sight & Light Pack incl. Welcome & Ambient Light|
|Front camera with lane departure warning||Radio R 4.0 IntelliLink||Silver Chrome and Privacy Glass Pack|
|Steering wheel infotainment control unit||Speaker system with 6 speakers||Park assist front & rear|
|Cruise control with adaptive speed limiter||Opel OnStar® including Wifi Hotspot||Side blind spot alert|
|Manual climate control||Dual zone auto ECC|
|Isofix seating system||Leather steering wheel|
|Radio R 4.0||40:60 foldable rear seat including ski pass-through|
|Adjustable floor load compartment|