Sam says it’s a candy apple

 

The Opel Crossland X was designed as a family car in the crossover segment and it delivers what most family’s need: a good drive, great space and some of the best technology and safety features. I took the Crossland X for drive to the Hartbeespoort area just outside Johannesburg to put it through its paces.

 

The drive

I had to get accustomed to the burst of energy the car has on pull off. Once I had a feel for it, it was something I could enjoy. The tested vehicle was a three-cylinder 1.2l petrol turbocharged engine with a power output of 81 kW and 205 Nm of torque.

 

There is an entry level derivative that is not turbocharged. While I have not driven this, I am not sure the power output of 60 kW and 110 Nm would not create as enjoyable a drive as the turbocharged version because of the size of the vehicle.

 

It handles the bumps and uneven roads of that area very well. Overtaking was an ease which on that route was important as you wouldn’t chance overtaking with a car offering dull performance. On the highway, however, I felt that the handling arounds bends could have been slightly better.

 

Becoming accustomed to things like the pull-off, was something that I felt throughout the car. It was not a car you could just hop into and settle into easily. It took some time getting used to the car, however, by the time I returned it, I was completely comfortable. Thus, it is definitely not an ongoing problem that I would be worried about as a purchaser.

 

The interior

The Crossland X makes for a very comfortable car to drive. With seats that recline and a middle cup holder and arm rest, the rear passengers are not forgotten either. Opel does say that the Crossland X is designed for the ‘young family’ and that is definitely true. It is quite a narrow car compared to some other crossovers and if you had more than two children, you would probably find the car slightly disappointing in size.

 

There is also an arm rest for the driver. While I like an armrest, I prefer an unobtrusive one. The Crossland X has one that you need to lift and lower when you use your handbrake. If you drive defensively and use your handbrake every time you stop, it is not practical to have an armrest like that. The handbrake was oddly difficult to use as well, so reaching around the armrest was also not ideal.

 

Fuel efficiency

The fuel consumption of vehicles is something I pay close attention to. I feel that vehicles that present more luxury than an economy car but still offer the fuel consumption of  an economy car, or at least near that, have a definite advantage with the rising fuel price.

 

Opel claims the Crossland X has a fuel efficiency of 5.2L/100km in the turbocharged variant. Yet, despite my very best efforts, the fuel consumption stubbornly remained at 8L/100km, only for one very brief interval did it drop to 7.9L/100km. Wondering if I was the problem, I researched online comments about its fuel consumption and found that the discrepancy between claimed figures and actual figures is a common concern.

 

Technology

Opel has taken on a strategy to ‘democratise’ technology, particularly safety features, and make this technology available in all cars across the range. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised by the auto windscreen wipers immediately starting up with the first few specks of rain on my first trip. The next day, however, I was confused when it rained again but the auto windscreen wipers did not kick in. I waited patiently for them to start but when my visibility started to be reduced, I switched them on manually.

 

The lights of the Crossland are also automatic and they switched on in all their LED glory when going through a tunnel. Yet, a few days later when driving through another storm where the sky was almost as dark as night, they did not oblige. From previous experience with auto headlights, they normally do switch on when lighting decreases due to storms and not just at night-time. I do, however, suspect that the test unit has been harshly put through its paces before.

 

If I was in the market for a crossover, the Crossland X would be high on my list of potential options. While I was disappointed that the technology seemed inconsistent, I would still give it a chance because I appreciate the objective behind the effort.

 

Good to know

The specs

Engine: 3 cylinder, 1.2L turbocharged

Power: 81 kW

Torque: 205 Nm

Claimed fuel efficiency: 5.2L/100km

Price: from R275 000

Warranties:  Five-year or 120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, five-year unlimited distance anti-corrosion and a three-year/60 000 km service plan.

 

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