Platform sharing is definitely back and in some cases it is just like the 1980s and 1990s when the same car wore a different badge.
Even seemingly rival car makers are sharing platforms. Just look at the Nissan Navara and Mercedes-Benz X-Class and what about Peugeot engines in BMWs and Minis and vice versa. There is more and more collaboration going on, which in some cases is good and in some cases less so.
This brings us to the Opel Grandland X. Essentially it is a Peugeot 3008 and we liked that crossover so much we gave it 4½ stars out of five when we tested it late in 2017. But what we really liked was the interior, with its incredible i-Cockpit design, innovative features and overall value.
The Grandland X costs over 40 grand more than the equivalent Pug, so you would expect it to be even better, possibly a five star car? Sadly no, because everything that was cool about the Peugeot is glaringly missing from the Opel.
The styling is similar but where the Peugeot has more quirky design points, the Opel is a little more mainstream. That’s not to say it is not a good looking vehicle because it is, it just lacks the more adventurous design character of the 3008.
And nowhere is this more apparent than the interior. The Grandland X has simple, elegant curves on the multilayer dashboard. The fit and finish seems good and the switchgear all well placed, making the drive pleasant. But there’s no sign of Peugeot’s digital instrument cluster, the fighter-jet style gearstick and the overall i-Cockpit design.
The Peugeot eclipses the Opel in all of these areas, from design to technology and, let’s be honest, the Pug has a Cats Paws massaging function — the Opel just can’t compete.
However, if you don’t want all that stuff and, of course, if you don’t want to buy a Peugeot, then everything else is basically the same. This means a decent 1.6-litre turbocharged motor that pushes out 121kW and 240Nm, although you do have to rev it rather high to get the maximum power out of it.
The torque peak is much lower which does compensate a little but occasionally you will find yourself dropping a gear just to get a more satisfying level of acceleration. Around town the Grandland X delivers a reasonable dose of response for the average commute.
The ride comfort is also good, with it coping well with the many bumps and dips that we all have to endure in Joburg on a daily basis. Sound insulation was also quite good and it is easy to enjoy a nice relaxed ride. Like the 3008, the Opel can be a little soft when it comes to suspension but nothing that will really bother anyone but those who are a little more demanding.
Interior space is good with lots of room for those in the back too and the boot space is great, although we did find the electric tailgate to be temperamental and occasionally had to put our bags on the floor to shout at it a bit.
It’s connected too with ability to connect your phone, stream your favourite music and a whole lot more, essential in this day and age when many manufacturers are selling vehicles less on their styling and performance and more on their level of connectivity.
Overall the Grandland X is a good package, but at its price it faces stiff competition that will make it a hard sell to all but the diehard Opel fans. And then there is the Peugeot, which would be our choice of the two. – Mark Smyth
Fast Facts: 2018 Opel Grandland X 1.6 Turbo Cosmo
Engine: 1 598cc four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power: 121kW at 6 000rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1 400rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Top speed: N/A
Fuel: 7.0l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2: 156g/km (claimed combined)
Price: From R565 000