Opel has always been a trusted brand in the past, and although their reputation, and credibility, has taken somewhat of a knock a couple of years ago, they have excelled in maintaining their customer care.
They have come back stronger with a bevvy of new vehicles for the local market, and the products are better than expected.
The brand has revealed a host of models for the year ahead, including the Astra, Corsa, Zafira Life, and the Vivaro Cargo panel van.
The German brand has been working hard to regain the love and trust of South Africans, and since they never really left, their new cars bring back the excitement of the brand as we knew it so many decades ago.
I am a sucker for a versatile vehicle. One that has an incredible amount of storage space, and room for all the passengers. The Combo panel van left me uber-impressed last year, and the only thing prohibiting buying something like that would be lack of space for my sprog. But then, alas, Opel launched the Combo Life version, and there's enough room for three adults in the rear bench, and a boot so big I could even fit our large dog and his massive kennel.
Image: Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post
But back to the holidays when the Crossland X was our chariot. Initially, after driving the larger Grandland X earlier in 2019, I thought it would be too small for our needs as a family. So the Crossland X might not be a Superboss (Opel Kadett GSi 16V), but the festive season is the one time of year when we get to do things around the house, and that's where the crossover showed its unusual strengths. Hubby does repair work around our home, so several trips to the hardware or garden store is always on our list. That, of course, means we need space in the boot for larger, or longer, items. Yet, the little Crossland X was more than suffice. The boot is a lot bigger, and deeper than you would expect.
Priced from R275 000, it has a 410-litre cargo capacity. And despite being a smaller car, the boot is really large. Shopping bags, new bathroom cupboards and shelves were no feat for the little crossover SUV. It can grow up to 1 255 litres of space thanks to its nifty 60/40 foldable rear seats. Slide the rear seats forward and it goes to 520 litres and the full volume when you fold the seats down flat.
Fuel consumption is not too bad either. Opel claims a combined consumption of 5.4-litres/100km, but with the aircon at full blast at all times, and stop-and-go traffic since we live in an area surrounded by beach-goers and a large shopping centre, our consumption was an average of 7.1 - 7.6-litres/100km and that's still decent for a 1.2-litre Turbocharged model.
The auto Enjoy model delivers 81kW and 205Nm and is feisty enough to perform on overtaking when needed. It's a very comfortable drive and I was surprised to find that there wasn't too much turbo-lag, nor was the auto gearbox not lazy to deliver smooth shifting. Its quite sturdy on the road, even when the Cape's South-Easter wind is showing off on the highway. It's driving attributes are dynamic.
With a little person who is extremely independent and wants to buckle herself in and out when we stop, and then also open the doors herself, the child lock feature is pivotal in our lives just in case she doesn't close them securely or opens it before we have come to a complete stop. No manual fumbling on doors, no fuss. I love how easy Opel has made this in the Crossland X by a touch of a convenient button right behind the gear lever.
Usually one has to manually open the rear door and flip the mechanism up or down, but then you forget and it becomes a schlep when you have other adult passengers in the rear. Hence this is so great.
Holidays also mean loads of long visits which results in late-night trips home. My eyesight has become rather shoddy after two decades behind a computer screen so I generally dislike driving that time. The Crossland X's headlights have a 30% brighter beam than usual, it also automatically recognises oncoming vehicles so will dim the lights to take away any glare for oncoming traffic. And, those cornering lights are heaven-sent on the old R304 which has no road sidelights on the way and can become dangerous with all the rising and sweeping slopes at night.
Inside the space is sufficient too, and quality materials are used throughout. The seats might be upholstery instead of leather in this Enjoy version, but when you have a toddler seats which are easy to clean is always a plus in my books.
Even though it's a compact crossover, it has loads of space, a good fuel consumption reading, sturdy road-holding and equipment and materials have a good fit and finish - and that's what most people want when they're buying a car.