BY BRIAN BYRNE
IT didn't take long for me to decide I was very comfortable with Opel's Grandland X when I took it for review. It ticked a range of boxes in drivability, competence, and style.
That last I'll start with. Though produced originally as an Opel-Peugeot partnership, before the French PSA Group bought Opel, it has its own distinct Opel look – both outside and in. The platform and powertrains are from the French side, the design and ergonomics are by the Germans. So when I say it is related to the Peugeot 3008/5008, that is true. But the Grandland X is itself in its own right.
Opel is going through a significant style branding change over the next couple of years, kicked off by the external details in the soon-to-arrive new Mokka small crossover. In the meantime, though, the front of the Grandland X shows what has been the familiar Opel 'face' for some years. Familiarity in a good, reassuring sense. The sculpted wedge profile is smart, as is the view from the rear showing nice clean horizontals.
The car is sized in the compact crossover space, so in addition to its French cousin, it is targeting the likes of Kia's Sportage and the latest Hyundai Tucson. That's competitive company to be keeping, but I think it does well.
One of the things I liked about the car was its more traditional interior. After recently driving a series of highly-octane inside designs with lots of digital bells and whistles, it was nice to be in charge of a more traditional dashboard and instrumentation space. There's no flash in this Opel, and that will be attractive to more people than might be imagined.
From a passenger space and cargo viewpoint, there's plenty for five. The format gives good head and shoulder room, and there's no compromising of leg space in that second row. I think when the time comes to weekending around the country again, it will easily accommodate luggage needs. I don't do golf, but my guitar fits.
The power options for Grandland X are 130hp petrol and diesel, and the 225hp plug-in hybrid version. In my review car, it was the base petrol engine, a 1.2 3-cylinder that has the refinement and relative silence which I remember many years ago only associating with large 6-pot motors. It lopes along with ease under a light pedal, but has ample turbo urge if you need it. I also like the 6-speed manual that comes with this engine, never tiring to use.
The basic SC grade is well specified, including automatic headlight dipping which I have come to appreciate in several cars over the last couple of years. There's also lane departure warning, and more. My review SRi added a side blindspot alert, among other safety assist tech.
As I said, I very quickly felt comfortable. That's always a good start for anyone considering a long relationship.
PRICE: From €29,695; Review car €33,095.
WHAT I LIKED: The feel-good factor.