2022 Opel Crossland
– Good little powertrain
– Cabin tech, decent space
– Entertaining handler
– Some 3-cylinder side-effects
– Few rivals offer more space
– Some cheaper cabin trim
Opel is undergoing a revival in the UAE as the brand now comes under the tutulage of the Stellantis mega-corporation, with a far stronger dealer and new models that had their regional debut just over a year ago. Being one of the few European brands that targets the small-car segment in the Middle East, Opel seems to be aiming at a slightly higher niche.
The model we have here is the Crossland, after dropping the X at the end of its name in 2021. The tall hatchback-style crossover profile isn’t going to turn heads, but it 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 has a black roof and faux-SUV lower-body plastic cladding, the latter coming in handy when kicking up debris. The facelift for this year is limited to new wheels and a completely redesigned face with a piano-black panel replacing the grille, which makes it look like an electric car.
Inside, all the surfaces have pleasant textures and at least some use of soft-touch surfaces, specifically on the dashboard. The leather seats in the top-spec model is excellent. The hard-plastic door panels are broken up by the well-padded inserts and armrests up front. The headliner is a bit cheap though, made up of a felt-type material and loose rubber trimmings.
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 an updated interface, and a dual-zone auto a/c that feels weak initially but is colder 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. In our testing, it only managed a 0-100 kph time of 11.2 seconds, but it feels plenty in city driving, as the grunty-sounding engine has good initial kick and minor turbo lag. But it seems to suffer from a delayed throttle response which we didn’t see in the pre-facelift model we tested, so it could probably be tuned out at the dealer with a software reset.
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 you need to hammer the throttle on occasion.
The Crossland 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 crossover makes for an entertaining daily driver.
Despite the name, the Crossland 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 is one of a small range of vehicles that Opel is now offering in the UAE on its comeback trail. While they aren’t moving and shaking established players — as some rivals offer larger cost-cut vehicles for the same price — the European brand does offer enough attributes to appeal to anyone looking for a tech-laden commuter car that punches above its weight class.
Dh 69,900-82,000Current Model Introduced in:
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