Unless you sell seven-figure-something-or-other cars, without an SUV or crossover, you’re dead in the South African market. After all the trauma, locally and internationally, for Opel these past twelve months, the company has introduced the Crossland X in an attempt at reviving the German value brand in South Africa.
No confusion about the position of Crossland X: it’s effectively a Peugeot 2008 with Opel styling and cabin architecture. For many that could possibly be an issue, but with PSA having taken ownership of Opel earlier this year, the future for Russelheim’s products will becoe decidedly less individualistic. Expect a raft of shared-platform Peugeots.
Mechanically the cheapest Crossland X is priced at R265 000 and powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.2-litre four, which could be a bit of a disaster for the brand – considering most of South Africa’s motoring happens at altitude. The anchor numbers are 60kW and 118Nm, but you’d have to drive it pretty hard at Joburg elevation to keep up with traffic, essentially negating the claimed 5.1l/100km fuel consumption.
Crossland X becomes a touch more sensible for South African families when turbocharging is applied to the 1.2-litre engine, boosting outputs to 81kW and 205Nm. With 2008 underpinnings Crossland X should inherit that typically plush Peugeot ride quality and urban agility. It’s not going to be a terrible steer.
Inside there’s lots of clever, typically German, design details. The seats are ridiculously comfortable, as one would expect, considering their contours and padding carry the seal of approval from Germany’s Aktion Gesunder Rucken (The German Bad Back Association), an NGO concerned with comfort and good posture. Beyond the comfort, Crossland X’s rear seats feature a slide function, which enables a volumetric increase of luggage space by from 410- to 520-litres.
Crossland X is a vehicle that Opel desperately needs to remain relevant in South Africa. The question is, though, how sustainable the distribution of Opel through Steinhoff subsidiary, Williams Hunt, will be? It’s an odd relationship to have Opel and Peugeot, the former owned by the latter, operating as separate entities in a very testing market, such as South Africa.
Opel Crossland X: R265 000
Opel Crossland X Enjoy: R305 000
Opel Crossland X Cosmo: R 345 000
Opel Crossland X Cosmo (auto): R360 000