Opel Grandland 1.2 Turbo 8AT – The modern conservative

The Opel Grandland underwent a facelift last year, bringing it closer to the brand’s new design direction. The previously quite conservative and rounded car thus got a bit sharper edges and especially a new hallmark of vehicles with a lightning bolt in the Vizor front mask. From the outset, the new Grandland was closest to the Peugeot 3008, although the class’s modular EMP2 platform offers the foundations for larger models as well. S a bit of an expressive brother in the Stellantis group, the Grandland complemented well in the range thanks to its more sober design and conservatively conceived interior.
So the current model’s defining feature is a new face called the Opel Vizor, which takes inspiration from the legendary Manta and the brand’s biggest SUV takes it from its smaller siblings, which are the Mokka and the Crossland. With the new ancestor, the Grandland is also finally equipped with the cool new IntelliLux LED matrix headlights. They consist of 84 LEDs and seamlessly adapt the light beam to the current driving situation. This system is one of the best in its class and improves visibility when driving at night with permanent, glare-free high beams that avoid dazzling drivers in oncoming vehicles.
A facelift practically means a new front end and interior for the Grandland. It continues to combine the bonnet and headlights in a single black strip and let’s face it, in the Grandland’s case, you can tell it’s an afterthought and wasn’t designed in that style from the start. The Mokka wears this specific feature with much more visual ease.
On the other hand, it can’t be said that Grandland looked pronouncedly bad with Vizor. With the new identity, it looks noticeably more modern, and the wide black belt has its practical justification – it hides the radar sensors, including the optional night vision camera, very effectively. The rear hasn’t been changed and experimented with too much. The latest version of the headlights remained (perfect by the way, the taillights still illuminate in daytime running mode) and all that changed was the positioning and layout of the Grandland lettering on the center and width of the rear trunk lid.
Decent modernization can also be found in the interior. Here, the Grandland has arrived with a newly conceived Pure Panel dashboard and an optically linked pair of screens for the digital instrument cluster and multimedia system. Opel has opted for something of a visual detox with its latest models. Interior design is simplified, but practicality is not forgotten. It leaves conventional buttons for intuitive control of the comfort equipment while driving, and this is another strength of the model, as the French siblings are starting to lean towards pure touchscreen virtual controls.
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Also new are AGR-certified seats , which you’ll appreciate especially on longer drives. Stiffer upholstery and the addition of an extendable thigh support for the driver’s seat make them a wonderful companion on the road. The armrest can also be adjusted longitudinally, but you must always return it to its original position to recline it.
The central display has an infotainment completely adopted from the French colleagues, which is associated with fast response, clarity of operation and reliability, on the other hand, also already a bit outdated graphics of menus or map backgrounds or also low resolution of the front and rear parking camera, which here the old-fashioned “counting” the image when reversing. You can easily connect your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and you can also use the built-in navigation and its maps, or send and receive messages.
The display, which replaces the dashboard, has simple, clear graphics and offers only limited display options. Apart from the typical data such as speed, temperature, tank level, engine speed and basic indicator lights, it can only display a map or the on-board computer. It is controlled by a rotary dial on the turn signal lever, which is quite sufficient given the low adjustment range. Personally, though, I was disappointed that I can’t play around with the colour and graphics settings here, but I’m aware that many people are not very attracted to such superfluities in place of the dashboard, on the other hand. So for the conservative customer, I give a virtual thumbs up here.
As far as powertrains are concerned, nothing changes as part of the facelift. A diesel 1.5 or a pair of plug-in hybrids are still on offer. I’ve tried the mainstay of the range, the turbocharged three-cylinder 1.2cu. An engine that has already made its way into most models within the Stellantis range. In the Granland it has 96 kW (130k) and 230 Nm of torque. It offers sufficient dynamics even out of town and proves that modern three-cylinders can offer a quite refined expression thanks to advanced technology.
The engine has plenty of power but the torque curve tells you more about its character. It peaks from just 1750rpm, which means that the 8-speed automatic gearbox will needlessly throttle it back below that when starting up or driving economically. In sport mode everything is fine but the engine’s appetite grows here. The torque curve starts to drop steeply from some 3500 revs onwards, making it clear that revving the engine any further makes little sense, and the automatic, which knows this well, also kicks in and downshifts very early on.
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Anyway, there is no need to worry about the base engine at all, on the contrary, it is one of the best low-volume units on the market. Fuel consumption can be kept easily above seven litres per 100 km in combined mode. However, as is the way with small turbocharged engines, consumption rises noticeably with a dynamic driving style and an average of around nine litres per 100km will be no exception.
4×4 drive is not offered in the petrol versions, but its function is to be replaced by a front-wheel traction control system Opel calls IntelliGrip, according to the manufacturer. It’s controlled by a drive mode switch on the centre tunnel, so when you encounter a muddy stretch on your journey, just switch the mode and you’ll be fine. At least, let’s hope so, because it’s definitely not for more off-road terrain. There, then, you need to reach for the electrified versions of the Grandland – the PlugIn Hybrid or the new GSe. The Grandland also has, compared to its twins from the concern, noticeably stiffer dampers and axle stowage. The result is a more confident ride and, especially at higher motorway speeds, very good lateral stability. However, on rutted backroads or off the paved tarmac, you’ll hit limits where the single rear axle with torsion bar sometimes bounces too much thanks to the stiffer tuning.
The facelifted Opel Grandland is currently on sale with a base list price of €28,790 for the cheapest variant with the 1.2 Turbo three-cylinder petrol engine and manual transmission. You’ll pay €2,000 for the automatic transmission, and a fully equipped Grandland with petrol engine will set you back €32,690. Then the diesel variant of the 1.5 CDTI with the same power and automatic is even higher up the list at 34 690€. A very good offer compared to the competition and even better in the Smile special.
Thanks to its latest facelift, the Opel Grandland got exactly what it needed without losing its strengths. It doesn’t look dull inside and out, and thanks to a new front end and dashboard, it has a modern style all its own. At the same time, it still benefits from intuitive interior controls, a good range of engines and confident driving characteristics. It’s the same as with, say, the new Corsa, Astra or Mokka. Are you interested in French technology but don’t want to stand out from the crowd? Go for the German coat, using the group’s technology in its own way, and choose their more discreet SUV. So, although the Grandland is more plain in design than its siblings, it actually doesn’t look bad at all…