Opel are one of the most exciting brands in the business right now, but the Grandland ultimately disappoints
The five-hour journey would not have been taken on in anything smaller but considering the Grandland boasts a 500-litre boot I was thrilled to have it at my disposal; considering I finished the week having clocked up 1100km in total.
When it was launched in 2017, it swooped in and took over Opel’s Zafira and Antara. Those were some big boots to fill in the ever-growing SUV/MPV markets, especially when you consider that the Grandland is competing directly against the likes of powerhouses like the Tucson, Qashqai and Sportage.
Looks wise, it (originally) didn’t win any beauty contests, but it was a mid-sized functional car. It was popular too, working its way up to No2 in Opel’s ranks behind the Corsa. Plus, it is far better looking than the Crossland. That’s not even up for debate.
Luckily for us, this midlife makeover improves the looks no end with the company’s latest vizor nose — introduced a few years back for the e-Mokka — being added for starters. Full confession — it doesn’t suit the shape of the car as much as the smaller and slicker SUV, but it is better than the original Grandland. Definitely.
When you step inside you will be greeted by their all-digital Pure Panel dashboard, also first seen in the Mokka, which uses two digital screens for instruments and infotainment.
The entry-level trim is called SC which comes with a choice of 130hp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol three-cylinder power (for €35,495) or 130hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel for €39,795.
It is pretty loaded up though, so don’t be too put off by the price tag. As-standard features in the basic version include cruise control with speed limiter; active lane keep assist; blind spot monitor; dual-zone climate control; a seven-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity; 17-inch alloy wheels; Matrix LED headlights with active high-beam assistance; rain sensing wipers; front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
A move up the line to the Sri trim and you’ll be asked for €37,495 for the 1.2 petrol or €39,995 for the same engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. For €41,795 you can have the 1.5 diesel or for €46,995 you can have the 225hp plug-in hybrid version, which comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
That’s a lot of money for which you can expect upgraded front seats (half leather half upholstery), seat-back pockets (much needed for five-hour journeys with annoying kids), a ten-inch central touchscreen, a 12-inch digital instrument screen, a wireless phone charger, their ‘Black Pack’ exterior styling details including a contrast-colour roof, 18-inch alloys, and the very underrated feature — privacy glass.
The top spec is the Elite and that’s what I got for the week. It starts at €39,495 for the 1.2-litre or €41,995 for the automatic. If you opt for the diesel you’ll need €43,795 and frighteningly-high €48,995 for the 225hp PHEV. Look away now if you’re feel queasy already because the top of the range is the 300hp four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid in Elite trim for €53,995.
OK so that’s the line-up. You want to know what I think. In truth, it does what is says on the tin. It’s Grand. It has a lot going for it, but I did feel it was just lacking in a bit of wow.
It ticks a lot of boxes but for the asking price I think it should offer you more. Looks are subjective so I will let you decide whether you like it or not. I do but it doesn’t excite me as much as its competitors.
I don’t want to finish on a negative because it is a good car so some of my favourite features are the chrome detailing on the dash, the pockets on the back of the front seats, the stunning blue ‘Atlantis’ paint job, the protective mat in the boot, a good rear view camera, and it is very realistic on its fuel range with a decent economy.
If I was choosing a new one I would opt for the automatic transmission. Opel should save the manuals for the smaller cars like the Astra, which I am due to review in the coming weeks.
There is a neat little add on too (albeit expensive) called the Night Vision which projects an image from a forward-looking infra-red camera on to the dashboard when it’s dark out. The €1,500 price tag means it will be rejected by a lot of potential Grandland customers but having traversed winding country boreens of West Cork and tackled various late-night motorways I can confirm that it is a great feature and works really well.
I just wish it was included in the asking price to help negate the asking price, which I feel is a bit high for what you get.