2020 Opel Crossland X
– Good powertrain
– Cabin tech, decent space
– Entertaining daily-driver
– Some 3-cylinder side-effects
– Few rivals offer more space
– Some hard-plastic cabin trim
Opel has been a relatively niche brand in the UAE as well as the larger GCC, but not from lack of trying. Every few years, there is a reboot with new models, but they don’t seem to hang around for long. The brand is back again in the UAE, with a far stronger dealer and now as part of the Stellantis group (the newly-formed company which includes everything from Citroen to Jeep), having changed ownership from General Motors to Peugeot’s PSA group a few years ago for the better. Ignore the confusing ownership history, and just check out the car on its own merits.
Looking a little frumpy, the tall hatchback-style crossover actually has rather premium detailing, such as the chrome exterior trim that flows along the top of the doors, finishing off above the wraparound LED tail lights. It wants to portray a rough-and-tumble “SUV” look with the lower-body plastic cladding, which comes in handy when driving over gravel surfaces that kick up debris.
Inside, all the surfaces have pleasant textures and at least some use of soft-touch surfaces, specifically on the dashboard. The hard-plastic door panels are broken up by the well-padded inserts and armrests up front, while the headliner is a felt-type material.
It feels airy inside because of the tall windows and a panoramic glass roof. The latter does not open like a sunroof, but has a roll-up shade.
Cabin space up front is very good, with great all-round headroom. The front seats offer rather generous bolstering, although the middle fold-down armrest is mounted too high, so we kept it folded up most of the time. Rear legroom is decent, just enough for adult knees to clear the front seatbacks. Considering the Crossland’s overall petite size, the boot offers decent cargo volume (like a taller hatchback’s worth), and there is more storage space under the boot floor.
There is a great amount of tech for a car in this price bracket. Features in our top-spec version includes a smart key with start button, heads-up display, wireless charger, cruise control, LED lighting front and back, a touchscreen with a slightly slow-but-useable interface, and a decent dual-zone auto a/c that gets very cold once it gets going. Safety features include a full set of airbags, ESP, tyre-pressure monitor and more.
The standard engine is a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo making 110 hp at 5500 rpm and 205 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. The figures sound low, especially since it only managed a 0-100 kph time of 11.2 seconds in our October test, but it feels plenty in city driving. The grunty-sounding engine has good initial kick, minor turbo lag and no real issues with responsiveness like in many other turbo cars we’ve driven. The engine settles down nicely at highway speeds, but you obviously have to gun it hard for quick overtaking.
We averaged fuel consumption at 9.5 litres/100 km (10.5 km/litre) during our time with the car, which isn’t bad for a small crossover that we were hammering the throttle on half the time.
The Crossland X has a fairly smooth ride, decent over most surfaces, and generally quiet at lower speeds. However, wind noise is above-average at 120 kph and above, while the engine vibrations can be felt through the steering wheel at times, which is a characteristic of 3-cylinder motors.
Thanks to the taut suspension tuning, it’s rather fun to chuck around, with pretty good body control, decent grip and good brakes. The steering is on the light side but still has enough heft and feedback. Combined with the lively engine and a decent 6-speed automatic gearbox, the little X makes for an entertaining daily driver.
Despite the name, the Crossland X is strictly a front-wheel-drive city car with no offroading aspirations, although there is a bit more ground clearance than regular cars so you can dart across gravel parking lots without worrying about dings as much.
The Crossland X is one of a trio of vehicles that Opel is now offering in the UAE on its comeback trail. While it does not rock the segment with value-packed pricing (some rivals offer larger vehicles for the same price), it does offer enough attributes to appeal to anyone looking for a tech-laden commuter car that punches above its weight class — you actually feel good driving it.
Current Model Introduced in:
Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
Observed Test Fuel Economy: