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Tested: Opel Grandland X is a good bridge between car and SUV

Johannesburg - If you had around R500 000 to spend on a new car this month, but you aren’t sure if you want a ‘car’ or an SUV... why not get something that’s a bit of both?

Opel’s high-spec Grandland X Cosmo passed through the driveway recently, which allowed me to get to grips with the crossover and its offering...

Built on a shared global architecture platform with Peugeot, the Opel Grandland X blends high-riding SUV looks with easy to live with front-wheel drive dynamics.

Coming in at 4477mm long, 1844mm wide and 1636mm tall, you could consider its key competitors to be Hyundai’s popular Tucson or the recently refreshed Kia Sportage.

The test car was painted in a funky two-tone paint scheme with large 18-inch alloy wheels. Not only did it look sporty, it looked expensive, which is great if you’re trying to impress. More importantly, though, it’s the packaging of the Grandland X that makes it a genuine contender for your offer to purchase. Large cabin, loads of space and an airy feel comes standard.

The test unit had a huge panoramic glass roof, but due to recent heatwave temperatures its sun shield stayed in the shut position for most of my day time test drives.

At night, the glass roof (shutter open) is quite something to behold, especially if it’s a nice starry night. Kids are also properly entertained by it thanks to the ability to look out of the roof from their booster seats, making your drive quite relaxed.

On the subject of the drive, I had approached the Grandland X Cosmo with a mindset that it was going to wallow and be unsatisfying to drive, despite it looking ‘sporty’ from most angles. But, relaxed and comfortable (and quick if you floor it) is what you can expect from the driver’s seat.

The six-speed autobox, standard across the Grandland X range, isn’t the fastest-shifting, but it does respond well to kickdown suggestions made by your right foot.

The driver’s seat (and passenger’s) is approved by a panel of seating (and spine) experts for their ability to keep you refreshed and in an ideal position when on the road. The seating position for the driver is good, with varying levels of adaptability.

I took the car for long loops around Johannesburg, along the N1 and N3, taking the N12, R24 and other interior roads, to get a feel of the ride and handling, but also test the tractability of the engine and the drivetrain. In the past, I’d driven a Grandland X that seemed overwhelmingly turbo-laggy when trying to accelerate, but this latest model (the range topping Cosmo) proved otherwise.

There’s a short moment before boost builds and once you get used to the autobox’s responses it turns into a pleasure to drive in traffic. The 1.6 turbopetrol engine is, incidentally, rated for 121kW and 240Nm.

Visibility from the cabin is important in this class, as the Grandland X will most likely serve as a mom’s taxi (or dad’s) for most of its life. Kids can see out easily, and more importantly drivers won’t be hindered by obtrusive A- or C-pillars.

In terms of space, there’s enough room for five adults to squeeze in, and a decent boot (deep and wide) makes it easier to carry cots and prams if you’re a parent.

Specification is also high in the range-topping Grandland X, as it comes with 360° surround vision (a camera at the front and one at the back monitors pedestrians and other obstacles), bright LED headlamps (innovative LED headlamps with Adaptive Forward Lighting and 30% brighter vision than with conventional headlamps to increase visibility), and the aforementioned AGR seating (which gives a relaxing high seating position).

Advanced Park Assist also allows hands-free autonomous parking. The system scans for potential parking bays and guides the Grandland X into a pre-selected bay.

Also standard in the test car was an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible ‘IntelliLink’ multimedia audio system. The infotainment system brings the world of smartphones into the car while ensuring easy access to your phone apps via a 20cm colour touchscreen or through voice control.


Safe, smart, decent price (ranging between R441 870 and R565 000), and packed with value.

It seems like the Grandland X Cosmo has all the boxes checked when it comes to delivering on a family’s transportation needs.

I averaged around 9l/10km during the the test cycle, but that’s because I flat-footed it to enjoy the engine. Driving gently, you can easily achive 7l/100km on similar runs.

You won’t want for features in these high end Grandlands, so don’t hesitate to go test drive one at a dealership, before you buy something else.