The new 2020 Opel Corsa - it's hot!

Opel Corsa Review

The new 2020 Opel Corsa - it's hot!
The new 2020 Opel Corsa - it's hot!

There’s an all-new Opel Corsa arriving in dealerships now in Ireland. The Corsa is Opel’s most popular model worldwide and a household name since 1982. Now this historic supermini hero is in its sixth generation - but has never looked better! Built on a new platform, the new Corsa is lighter and more stylish than before with a welcome addition of new technology and equipment. Caroline travelled to Croatia with Opel Ireland to test drive the 2020 Opel Corsa.

Styling

The previous generation Corsa was rather disappointing in the style stakes but that’s been rectified. This new Corsa is seriously desirable in the metal – compact and sporty – with a raft of colour and trim options that depart a different vibe for whatever you’re having yourself. From sporty SRi to city smart Elite, hues ranging from cool grey to cheeky ruby red, the new Corsa has something for everyone! A contrast black roof is available on some models also.

Interior

The interior of the 2020 Opel Corsa has also been extensively modernised. Build quality is good and there is a grown-up feeling in here. It’s quite a conservative cabin so the red trim of the SRi model is a real fun and welcome addition. In Ireland, cars will be specced from standard with a 7” colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which will keep younger drivers very happy. Top of the range models get a 10” screen.

The interior of the new Corsa
The interior of the new Corsa

Practicality

The new Corsa carries pretty much the same dimensions as the previous generation of the car. Rear seating is okay for the supermini class but legroom and headroom are not the most generous in the class. The boot volume is up 24 litres to a total of 309 litres. The rear seats split fold 60:40.

Engines

At launch, the Opel Corsa is available in Ireland with a 1.2-litre petrol (75 hp), a 1.2-litre turbo petrol (100 hp) and a 1.5-litre diesel (102 hp). A new electric version, the Corsa-e, will arrive in Ireland in March with a range up to 330 km.

On the road

The new Corsa is lighter, lower and more rigid. The driving position has been much improved and it is now a more engaging car to drive. It sits on a new platform that it shares with the new Peugeot 208 however Opel engineers insist that they have tuned this car 'to be an Opel’.

We can believe it. Opel has such confidence in this car that they took us to the beautiful Dalmatian coast of Croatia and gave us roads that had many twists and turns, climbs and descents, to put the Corsa through its paces and have fun. The car was well set up for this. Yes the suspension is on the firm side but the Corsa is agile and fun to drive as small cars should be.

The Corsa is available with petrol and diesel engines, with a new electric Corsa-e on the way in March
The Corsa is available with petrol and diesel engines, with a new electric Corsa-e on the way in March

We sampled the new 1.2-litre turbo unit with 100 hp in Elite trim and the 130 hp version in the SRi spec. The 1.2 130 hp engine won’t make its way to Ireland. The 100 hp engine is very nice to drive, smooth and chirpy through the gears. A manual gearbox is standard on many models but there’s also a new 8-speed automatic, which we had the opportunity to test. For a small petrol auto combination, on a first encounter it performed well.

Equipment

In Ireland the new Corsa will be available in SC, SC Premium, SRi, SRi Premium and Elite.

The car will be well specced from base with standard equipment including 16” alloys, LED headlights, touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, air con, leather covered steering wheel, cruise control, electric door mirrors and front windows, high beam assist, lane departure warning with lane assist, traffic sign recognition and emergency city braking.

SC Premium will add heated front seats and steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, anti dazzle rear view mirror and rear parking sensors.

Boot space in the new Opel Corsa
Boot space in the new Opel Corsa

SRi will add Opel Connect, sports style front seats, sport mode switch, LED tail lights, LED front fog lights, 16” Hurricane alloys, chrome tailpipe, black roof and rear privacy glass.

SRi Premium adds heated front seats and steering wheel, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and start, electric parking brake and electronic climate control.

Elite models have 17” alloys, 10” infotainment screen, Multimedia Navi, heated front seats and steering wheel, auto lights and wipers, fabric and leather effect trim and rear view camera.

Pricing

In Ireland the new Corsa range kicks off at €17,975 for the SC, €18,875 for SC Premium, €23,000 for SRi, €24,300 for SRi Premium and €23,645 for Elite. The new 1.2-litre 100hp engine is available from €21,695 and the diesel from €21,645.

The Opel Corsa B of the 1990s was the most successful Corsa to date
The Opel Corsa B of the 1990s was the most successful Corsa to date

Rivals

Rivals include the Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Citroen C3, Toyota Yaris and Mazda2.

Summary

The new Opel Corsa is a much improved car. Gone goes the frumpy look and in comes a stylish smart supermini with lots of kerb appeal. Technically, it’s lighter and more fun to drive than before. On price, it’s not the cheapest but when you dig a bit you can see that the entry model is a highly equipped car. The tastier SRi and Elite versions do carry quite a premium, however the Corsa feels fun and special enough to warrant a place in the higher end of the market for stylish, high spec superminis.

Welcome back Corsa!

 


New era for Opel in Ireland under leadership of new MD James Brooks

James Brooks Is New Managing Director Of Opel Ireland

New era for Opel in Ireland under leadership of new MD James Brooks
New era for Opel in Ireland under leadership of new MD James Brooks

The Gowan Group has formally completed the acquisition of Opel Ireland and has appointed James Brooks as Managing Director of Opel operations in Ireland. 

James will succeed Gillian Whittall who is leaving the Company following the successful completion of the acquisition. A qualified accountant, Mr Brooks is joining Opel Ireland from Kia Motors Ireland where he was Managing Director. He is former Treasurer and President of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

Speaking about the appointment, Michael Dwan, Gowan Group Managing Director said: “We are delighted to announce that James will be joining Opel Ireland as MD. He has huge experience in the Irish motor industry forged initially as Finance Director, Fleet Director and Business Development Manager at Opel Ireland for 9 years and latterly as MD of Kia for 14 years. He is a highly regarded leader and I am confident that he will lead the Opel brand back to the market position it can justifiably achieve.”

“I would like to play tribute to Gillian who has been very professional and supportive as we transitioned ownership of the Opel brand in Ireland. She leaves with our thanks and very best wishes.”

James Brooks said: “I am genuinely excited by this opportunity and look forward to getting on board with Opel Ireland and meeting all the people associated with the business. The commitment made by Gowan Group in acquiring Opel Ireland represents a serious statement of intent. This is a great brand with an exciting product pipeline, a strong dealer network and customer base. We are ambitious to develop and significantly grow the brand in the months and years to come.”


Gowan Group will be Opel's new import partner in Ireland for models like the 2020 Corsa-e

Opel To Join Gowan Group In Ireland

Gowan Group will be Opel's new import partner in Ireland for models like the 2020 Corsa-e
Gowan Group will be Opel's new import partner in Ireland for models like the 2020 Corsa-e

Gowan Group has acquired Opel Ireland and will be Opel’s wholesale import partner in Ireland upon approval of the transaction by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in Ireland.

This move is in line with Opel’s business strategy in selected European markets to enhance agility, efficiency and competitiveness.

Gowan Group will assume responsibility for all of Opel Ireland’s operations and current Opel employees will transfer on completion of the transaction.

“This is another decision in line with the goals of our PACE! strategic plan which will make our sales set-up in certain European countries more agile, efficient and therefore competitive,” said Xavier Duchemin, Opel/Vauxhall Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. “We are confident that our brand will perform even better in Ireland with this new set-up.”

“We are delighted to become Opel’s import partner in Ireland”, says Michael Dwan, CEO, Gowan Group. “We have an in-depth understanding of the Irish motor market and a strong appreciation of the Opel brand. The close engagement with our colleagues in Russelsheim through this process, together with the expertise and capability within the Group and within Opel Ireland, the strong dealer network and customer base and the exciting new product pipeline all underpin our belief that Opel will fully realise its potential in the Irish market in the years ahead. We look forward to welcoming the Opel Ireland team into the Gowan Group.”

Gowan Group has been involved in motor distribution in Ireland for fifty years, importing Peugeot vehicles since 1969 and Honda vehicles since 1984.

Opel sold over 5,800 vehicles in Ireland in 2018 achieving a market share of 3.8%. Opel is now aiming, through this new business model, to grow profitably in Ireland in the coming years.


The Opel Combo Life goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,800

Opel Combo Life Review

The new Opel Combo Life
The new Opel Combo Life

Caroline drives the new Opel Combo Life.

The new Opel Combo Life solves that problem of needing to carry a lot of people, and needing to do it in the cheapest way possible. Available as a five or seven seat vehicle, in two different lengths, with pricing starting from just €21,800, the Opel Combo Life could be the bargain of the century.

In fact the Opel Combo Life has just won 'Best Buy Car of Europe 2019' at the authoritative Autobest awards. So the secret might be out already. But here’s what I thought of the Combo Life from an Irish perspective.

What is the Opel Combo Life?

While the Opel Combo Van has been sold for many years (this is actually its fifth generation), the Combo Life passenger vehicle is a new model for the Opel brand. Space, practicality, versatility and value are its key attributes in the market. To that end, the Combo Life is available in a standard length with five or seven seats or as a longer ‘XL’ model with seven seats.

The van DNA runs strong in the styling of the Opel Combo Life in that it’s boxy to maximise space, with plenty of squared off edges. But at the front it has the typical look of an Opel about it with a large front grille with two chrome wings around the Opel Blitz insignia. Style icon it is not, but at this price do you care?

The Opel Combo Life goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,800
The Opel Combo Life goes on sale in Ireland priced from €21,800

How practical is the Opel Combo Life?

The van-like proportions and design of the Opel Combo Life make it an excellent people carrier. There is plenty of glazing and the large doors and high roof also give an airy, spacious feel to the cabin. There are also proper opening windows in the rear.

Access to the rear seats is through two sliding doors that open and close easily. I was driving a seven seat version of the standard length vehicle (from €23,800). There is excellent headroom all round and loads of legroom for passengers in row 2, with Isofix child seat brackets available. The seats split fold and are really easy to fold flat. Access to row 3 is simple enough, though there is not much legroom back there in the standard length vehicle so these two extra seats are more suitable for children or occasional use.

When the seats in row 3 are folded into the boot floor, you have a massive 597 litres of space in the standard length vehicle or 850 litres in the XL version. The boot opens wide, with a large square opening making it easy to load and stack to the roof should you need it!

Considering the Combo Life’s roots, the cabin is surprisingly well-appointed. It’s a straightforward Opel cabin that actually works really well here. The plastics are all hard but the quality looks fine. There are satin chrome accents on the steering wheel, on the door handles and in the air vents. The ergonomics are good with a steering wheel and instrument cluster that could have been lifted from an Astra or Grandland X. A smart 8” touchscreen comes as standard in the centre of the dash with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are numerous storage areas of different sizes that should also prove useful for a family on the move.

The interior of the new Opel Combo Life
The interior of the new Opel Combo Life

Is it well-equipped?

In Ireland the Opel Combo Life is sold in just one trim level called Energy. There’s a good spec including the 8” colour touchscreen, 16” alloys, rain sensitive windscreen wipers, front fog lights, automatic high beam assist, heated and electric door mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, electric front windows, 60/40 split folding rear seats, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, speed sign recognition, forward collision alert, emergency brake assist, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, automatic lighting control, driver drowsiness system, blind spot alert, and front and rear parking sensors.

There are also a number of options available for more comfort and convenience including reversing camera as part of the Parking Pack (€500), Winter Pack including heated seats and steering wheel (€250), head-up display (€455), and a Child Pack (€300) including rear-view child-minder mirror, rear side window sunblind, fold-flat passenger seat and a luggage restraint net.

Driving the Opel Combo Life

The fifth-generation Combo is based on a new architecture shared with the Peugeot Rifter and Citroen Berlingo, stablemates at the PSA Group that took over Opel in 2017. The Combo Life is naturally not the last word in sophistication and refinement on the road, but it's pleasant to drive for what it is. It’s comfortable and stable and not too noisy on the move. In fact, there is more of an MPV feeling behind the wheel than a van one.

The Opel Combo Life is available in two lengths, with five or seven seats
The Opel Combo Life is available in two lengths, with five or seven seats

Engine options include a 1.2-litre petrol engine with 110hp and a 6 speed manual (from €21,800), a 1.5 litre diesel with 100hp and 5 speed manual (from €23,050) and the same engine with 130hp and an 8 speed automatic gearbox (from €25,350). The seven seat standard length Combo Life is available with the 1.5 diesel, priced from €23,800. The Energy XL 1.5 diesel seven seat vehicle is available from €24,675.

My test car has the 1.5 litre 100hp diesel and it's adequate for the Combo Life. It only gets noisy when you really put your foot down hard - other than that it settles into the background. It’s not the speediest mover with a 0-100 kmh figure of 13.1 seconds, but it does the job. My fuel consumption over a few days of driving averaged at 5.8 l/100km and it is only €200 to tax per year.

What's the verdict?

It’s easy to approach the Opel Combo Life with a sprinkle of cynicism. But if you look beyond the boxy looks and are willing to sacrifice style, the Opel Combo Life is a spacious and straightforward people carrier. Opel Ireland is offering a simple range here with just one well-specced trim level available from just €21,800 as a five seat, or €23,800 as a seven seat.

The Opel Combo Life is neither exciting nor sexy, but it’s a good value seven seat MPV with impressive comfort, practicality and driver assistance and safety features.

The Opel Combo Life is a good value, practical people carrier
The Opel Combo Life is a good value, practical people carrier

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Combo Life Energy 1.5 Turbo D 7-seat
Price: 
€23,800 (Range from €21,800)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
100hp
Torque: 250Nm
0-100km/h:  
13.1 seconds
Top speed: 172km/h
Economy: 
4.2/100km
CO2 emissions:  
111g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year


The new Opel Grandland X Ultimate

Opel Grandland X Review (2019)

The new Opel Grandland X Ultimate
The new Opel Grandland X Ultimate

Caroline drives the Opel Grandland X Ultimate!

In 2018, Opel Ireland welcomed the new Grandland X to Ireland in the highly lucrative five door, family SUV segment. Available from €28,395 with a choice of 1.2-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel and 2.0-litre diesel, the Opel Grandland X occupies a peachy point for family buyers looking for a cool mid-size SUV.

I’ve already tested the Opel Grandland X 1.2-litre petrol and it was a car that I enjoyed for its straightforward practicality, stylish design and on point petrol engine. Now at the opposite end of the spectrum I’m testing the Opel Grandland X Ultimate. Under the bonnet there is a top of the range 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The car also has an impressive spec including a number of more luxurious features as standard. But you do pay dearly for it, with a list price for this model of €41,595.

What's new?

The Grandland X’s neat frame is enhanced with 19” alloys, while the roof and door mirrors are finished in black on the Ultimate trim car. There are also silver coloured roof rails, premium ergonomic seats, heated leather seats and trim, adaptive AFL LED headlights, OnStar, touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, 360° camera, Advanced Park Assist and a Denon premium sound system.

The interior of the Opel Grandland X Ultimate
The interior of the Opel Grandland X Ultimate

Inside the Grandland X there is reasonable space for five however the middle rear passenger will get short changed on leg and shoulder room. The electric tailgate comes as standard on the Ultimate trim and opens to reveal 514 litres of space.

The dashboard design is simple and straightforward with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the 8” colour touchscreen. The quality is good and the design straightforward and easy to navigate, however it's a little way off the showstopper you might expect of a car priced in the region of €40,000!

The Opel Grandland X Ultimate is powered by a strong 2.0-litre diesel engine
The Opel Grandland X Ultimate is powered by a strong 2.0-litre diesel engine

On the road in the Opel Grandland X Ultimate

The 2.0-litre engine is a powerhouse for the Grandland X with 177hp and 400Nm of torque giving it a trailer load of 2 tonnes. The Grandland X 2.0-litre makes brisk progress on the road and it doesn't sound too coarse for a large diesel engine either, changing gear with reasonable efficiency too. Motor tax for this model is €270 per year and over a week of driving my fuel consumption was 6.3l/100km.

The Grandland X works well as a family car in that it's easy to drive and get along with. It handles well though there is some lean in corners but generally it's very composed and pleasant to drive. The ride comfort on the 19" wheels of the test car was not as smooth and soft as I remembered from my test drive last year, but these are small nuances.

Rear legroom in the Opel Grandland X
Rear legroom in the Opel Grandland X

Should I buy it?

Opel Ireland is offering the Grandland X in five trim levels: SC, SRi, Elite, Ultimate and the new '120 Years' edition to celebrate 120 years of Opel. The Grandland X is undoubtedly a very valuable vehicle for Opel that's stylish and practical.

Certainly the Opel Grandland X Ulitmate is the Grandland X with all the bits thrown at it - top of the range diesel engine, effortless automatic gearbox and many luxury features.

In its most basic guise with a 1.2 litre petrol engine for example, the Grandland X certainly feels like a good alternative to the usual suspects in the family SUV class. For me this expensive top of the range model feels less convincing but for Opel fans looking for a powerhouse of an engine and plenty of luxury features, look no further than the Opel Grandland X Ultimate!

The Opel Grandland X Ultimate has a list price of €41,595
The Opel Grandland X Ultimate has a list price of €41,595

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Grandland X Ultimate 2.0
Price: 
€41,595 (Range from €28,395)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
177hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.5 seconds
Top speed: 211km/h
Economy: 
4.9/100km
CO2 emissions: 
128g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year


Gillian Whittall New General Manager Opel Ireland

Opel Ireland Announces New General Manager

Gillian Whittall has been appointed as the new General Manager for Opel Ireland.

In her new role Gillian will report to Stephen Norman, Group Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors and Opel Ireland.

Gillian joined Opel Ireland in 2008 as Head of Marketing & PR, bringing extensive experience from high profile brands including AIB, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Danone.

Speaking about her new appointment, Gillian said: “I’m delighted to take on the role of managing Opel in Ireland. The brand is embarking on a new era, already evident in the new Grandland X. By combining the agility of Groupe PSA with the design and engineering excellence of Opel in Germany, the brand will continue to strengthen its offering in the market, impressing both our loyal customers and newcomers to the brand alike."

Stephen Norman added: “With Gillian’s extensive brand experience, Opel Ireland will quickly deliver the path to growth and profitability, through our strategic plan PACE!”


The 2018 Opel Grandland X

Opel Grandland X Review

The 2018 Opel Grandland X
The 2018 Opel Grandland X is now on sale in Ireland

The Opel Grandland X is a brand new model for the Opel range, a mid-size SUV slotting in above the Opel Astra. Grandland X gives Opel a key product to compete for family buyers, who more and more are opting for SUVs.

The Opel Grandland X is a good-looking SUV with familiar Opel design cues. It shares underpinnings and engines with the Peugeot 3008 launched last year, but the Grandland X feels very much like an Opel. The Grandland X has a sleek and compact presence but there’s room inside for five as well as a generous 514 litre boot.

And while the interior design may not be as avant-garde as the Peugeot, the interior of the Grandland X is good quality and packed with technology including the Opel OnStar personal assistant and a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Will the Opel Grandland X make a good family car?

Comfort and space is a must for a family car and the Opel Grandland X does not disappoint. On the road it’s an agile and pleasant SUV to drive with light but predictable steering. The handling is not going to set the world on fire, but as a family car that’s easy to drive and get along with, you can’t fault it.

The 2018 Opel Grandland X
The Opel Grandland X is a classy five seat SUV

Opel is lucky to have some excellent engines to offer with Grandland X. I was driving the 1.2-litre petrol with 130hp and the SRi model tested with lots of goodies retailed at €30,595 (the range kicks off at €27,995).

For anyone thinking of switching back to petrol, I couldn’t recommend this engine more. It’s nippy with plenty of torque, and refinement is excellent. It’s smooth and efficient while C02 emissions mean motor tax is just €200 per year.

There’s also a 1.6-litre diesel with 120hp (from €28,995) and a range topping 2.0-litre diesel with 177hp.

Opel Ireland is offering the Grandland X in four trim levels: SC, SRi, Elite and Ultimate. While the starting price of €27,995 is higher than some rivals, Opel bites back with a good standard specification.

The interior of the 2018 Opel Grandland X
The interior of the 2018 Opel Grandland X

All the equipment you could ever need

Equipment includes OnStar with Wifi hotspot, smartphone projection, dual zone climate control, cruise control, electric windows, 17” alloys, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition, rear parking sensors, high beam assist, and auto lights and wipers.

My 1.2 SRi model on test (€30,595) had 18” alloys, ambient lighting, electrically folding door mirrors, front and rear alloy effect skid plates, front parking sensors, keyless entry, 60/40 split folding rear seats, blind spot alert and a power tailgate.

The Opel Grandland X enters a packed segment full of rivals but it’s a really valuable car for Opel. It ticks all the boxes for a family car and the 1.2-litre petrol model is very pleasant to drive. The Opel Grandland X doesn’t do anything extraordinary but it’s comfortable and laden with technology so deserves to do well in its segment.

2018 Opel Grandland X
The Opel Grandland X is available with a 1.6-litre diesel or an excellent 1.2-litre petrol

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Opel Grandland X SRi 1.2
Price: 
€30,595 (Range from €27,995)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
130hp
Torque: 230Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.1 seconds
Top speed: 188km/h
Economy: 
5.1/100km
CO2 emissions:  
117g/km
Motor tax: 
€200 per year

If you are looking for a petrol family crossover, you might also like this review of the Nissan Qashqai.


Opel Crossland X review ireland

Opel Crossland X Review (2017)

Opel is getting serious about SUVs. Compact crossovers are big news these days and Opel has treated their Meriva MPV replacement to an SUV-like makeover. The new Opel Crossland X doesn’t just sound like a more adventurous soul: it looks the part too.

The debut Opel Crossland X will sit alongside the Opel Mokka X, while the soon to arrive Grandland X will top off Opel’s SUV range.

Opel Crossland X sports SUV-inspired styling, elevated seating position, spacious interior, and customisation options.

The Opel Mokka X is quite a popular compact SUV in its own right and on paper it’s closely matched in price to the Crossland X.

But park these two side by side and it’s obvious they are distinct enough from eachother to likely attract a different customer.

Opel Crossland X review ireland
The interior of the Opel Crossland X

Naturally any self-respecting crossover these days has all the paraphernalia of ‘urban toughness’ and Crossland X is no different. The front, rear and sides bear all the cues of Opel’s new design language punctuated with grey plastic cladding and a skid plate front and back. The bi-colour option adds a different coloured roof and some attitude from the Opel Adam, making the car stand out in the car park.

But the individuality ends there. Once you slide into the Crossland X, you can see practicality and affordability are at its core. While the dash design resembles the Corsa and Astra, it looks quite bland and dull here and the plastics look and feel cheap in places. It’s a shame that there is not more character inside here like the outside of the car. A 7” touchscreen comes as standard as part of the Intellilink infotainment system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

Yet the cabin is well designed for use as a family car. The new Crossland X is 16cms shorter than an Astra but 10cms higher. The large windscreen and windows mean that the cabin is bright, the doors open wide and the passenger space is very good for a compact car. The raised ride height gives an elevated position for all. The boot is a good 410 litres with a low, flat load area.

Opel Crossland X review ireland
The Opel Crossland X has practicality at its core

There is a small engine range for the Opel Crossland X with a choice of 1.6-litre turbo diesel (99 or 120hp) and 1.2-litre turbo petrol (81 or 110hp). My test car was powered by the 1.6-litre diesel with 120hp. The diesel is quite noisy around town but smooths out on longer runs. On the flip side there is no shortage of power and it is economical. Low mileage or urban drivers should consider one of the 1.2-litre turbo petrols as petrol power would appear to be a better fit for a compact car like this unless you really need the economy and power for frequent longer runs on the motorway.

Elsewhere, the Opel Crossland X does well as an everyday runabout with light steering making it very manoeuvrable around town. The light steering translates into a not so exciting drive outside of town with little dynamic appeal but it’s comfortable and spacious so not at all unpleasant.

In Ireland the Crossland X range starts at €21,995 for an SC model with standard equipment including Opel OnStar, dual zone climate control, cruise control, 16″ alloys, front fog lights, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. SE models (from €23,495) add a contrast colour roof as standard, 17″ alloys, ambient lighting, rear parking sensors and some updated styling features. Diesels start from €23,995.

The Opel Crossland X is a great new option in the Opel showroom for buyers looking for a compact but practical family car with a fun look. It’s a shame the interior is not a bit more exciting to look at. Practicality really is this car’s strong point and while diesel does not seem the most flattering engine choice for it, the Crossland X offers a lot of space and spec within the ease of a compact frame.

Opel Crossland X review ireland
The Opel Crossland X range starts from €21,995 in Ireland

Model tested: Opel Crossland X SE 1.6 CDTi (120PS)
Price: €26,495 (Range starts €21,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
120hp
Torque: 300Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 187km/h
Claimed Economy: 
4/100km
CO2 emissions: 
105g/km
Motor tax:
€190 per year

Caroline Kidd


Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review

The Opel Insignia has held its own well against the likes of the Ford Mondeo and the Volkswagen Passat in Ireland, being a particular hit among fleet buyers and those seeking a large family hatchback. An all-new model, now dubbed the Opel Insignia Grand Sport has just gone on sale here.

The ‘Grand Sport’ moniker implies that the new Opel Insignia has grown-up a bit and matured into something more niche and exclusive.

But with pricing starting from €27,350, any ‘notions’ the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport might have are at least not reflected in the pricing.

The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport is actually a longer car than the outgoing Insignia. It’s an imposing car in the metal but there is a coupé-like elegance to the new design. Inside there is more of a limousine feel than the old car, and this is most noticeable in the back where rear legroom has been significantly improved. Despite the coupé-like styling, headroom in the back is not bad at all, while three can sit there in reasonable comfort. The hatchback-style boot reveals a 490 litre boot. In my opinion, large enough to get lost in.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The interior of the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport

Grand by name but grand by nature? At least from the driver’s seat, the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport car feels every inch the grand tourer. The driver now sits lower and feels more integrated with the car, while the brand new interior wraps around the driver. The design is much improved, with a sleek look centred around the Intellilink infotainment system in the centre of the dash. The materials at eye level are all of good quality and the Nappa leather seats on the test car add to the premium feel. There is more scratchy plastic further down but the interior of the new Insignia feels anything but cheap.

The new Insignia is also available with a wide range of technology, driving aids and premium features depending on trim level including the Opel OnStar assistance service, a digital instrument panel, heads-up display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, LED matrix headlights, Bose sound system, AGR ergonomic seats, traffic sign recognition, lane change assist with side blind spot alert and lane keep assist.

The Insignia Grand Sport range is extensive with four trim levels, a number of petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic gearboxes and even four wheel drive. Standard equipment includes Opel OnStar, air con, cruise control, 7″ touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto projection, 17″ alloys and keyless entry and start. SRi (from €29,350) includes navigation, front sports seats, climate control, 8″ touchscreen, rear spoiler and traffic sign recognition. SE (from €29,350) includes a 4.2″ colour information display, front and rear parking sensors and driver’s lumbar support. Elite models (from €31,595) include leather trim and Intellilux LED matrix headlights.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport is a striking machine with real kerb appeal

Power for the range comes from a new 1.5-litre (140hp) turbo petrol unit, the 1.6-litre diesel (110 or 136hp) and the 2.0-litre diesel (170hp). Both the 1.6-litre (136hp) and 2.0-litre (170hp) units are available with both manual and automatic transmission.

The Opel Insignia Grand Sport sits on a new chassis and though the overall car is bigger, it has lost up to 175kg of body weight. On the road it still feels like a large car but there is a deftness to the steering that makes it more than adequate in the handling stakes. It’s still not particularly sporty: the steering weights up at speed but the heaviness cannot be mistaken for real feedback. But in terms of comfort and refinement, this is a fine car for munching up the motorway miles. My test car had the optional adaptive dampers dubbed Flexride for an extra €1300. The car rides beautifully on them. A Tour mode is included that softens the ride even further.

Under the bonnet, my test car was powered by the 2.0-litre 170 hp diesel carried over from the previous model. The performance of this engine is very impressive with 400Nm of torque and a squeeze of the accelerator in any gear yields swift progress. Opel has bolstered insulation and wind noise is non-existent, but there is still a fair amount of diesel gurgle finding its way into the cabin.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport Review Ireland
The new Opel Insignia Grand Sport has grown in length and the interior is roomier

Opel has enhanced the kerb appeal of the new Insignia Grand Sport and the makeover inside and out will make the new car a compelling choice on dealer forecourts. In terms of technology, the new Insignia can be had with an impressive list of features, but this can quickly move the car up into premium price territory. The ride comfort and refinement of the car is truly impressive, while the 2.0-litre diesel will not leave you wanting for power. There is currently a squeeze on D-segment cruisers like the Insignia from SUVs, but as a good companion for the road, the Insignia never grows tired, and now has added prestige.

Model tested: Opel Insignia Grand Sport 2.0 170hp Turbo D Elite
Price: €36,095, €46,985 with options (Range starts at €27,350)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
170hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.9 seconds
Top speed: 226km/h
Economy: 
54 mpg
CO2 emissions:  
136g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a large diesel car, you might also like this review of the Ford Mondeo.


2017 Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland

Opel Zafira Tourer Review

The Opel Zafira has been a common fixture of Irish roads since its launch in 1999. The latest generation of the popular MPV got an update at the end of 2016, with a refresh to interior design, exterior styling, infotainment and equipment.

At the moment Opel is getting ready for a major SUV offensive that will see the launch of the Crossland X this summer and the larger Grandland X in the autumn.

But there will always be demand for seven seaters like the Opel Zafira Tourer because they are very practical for large families.

Pricing starts at €29,995 for the Opel Zafira Tourer, and seven seats come as standard. In styling terms, the Zafira Toruer has been given a refresh around the nose area to keep it in line with the rest of the Opel range. The small changes actually make a big difference and the Zafira Tourer is easily one of the best looking large seven seat MPVs on the market.

2017 Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland
The interior of the Opel Zafira Tourer

There have also been some welcome changes inside. The new dashboard design is built around the Intellilink infotainment system, now compatible with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. It’s stylish, well-built and easy to navigate. As you would expect from a family car, there are lots of storage spaces.

This is a very spacious family car and occupants in row 2 are well accomodated for. It should be no problem to seat three back here. There are three individual seats and they can be slid backwards and forwards. This is good because it means that when the two seats in row 3 are in use, more legroom can be made available. Row 3 is tight and will only suit children, but that’s common in this segment.

In five seat mode, the boot will accommodate a very generous 710 litres, but in two seat mode there is only 152 litres.

There are three trim levels for the Opel Zafira Tourer in Ireland: SC (from €29,995), SE (from €32,510) and Elite (from €37,050).

Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland
The Opel Zafira Tourer has flexible seating for seven

Standard equipment includes Opel OnStar, 7” touchscreen, air con, cruise control, four electric windows, 17” alloys and parking sensors. SE adds electric parking brake, climate control, navigation, front fog lights, auto lights and wipers, and a choice of 18” or 19” alloy. Top of the range Elite models have 18” alloys, leather seat trim, driver’s electric lumbar support, heated front seats, panoramic windscreen and sunroof.

Engines for the Opel Zafira Tourer include a 1.4-litre turbo petrol (140hp), and 1.6-litre (134hp) and 2.0-litre (170hp) diesels. My test car had the 2.0-litre diesel and it’s really excellent. The 400Nm of torque means that it pulls hard from low revs so will be well capable of carrying all the family on board and it’s refined too.

Behind the wheel, for a large MPV the Zafira Tourer is easy to drive with light controls. It feels agile around town and the steering is well weighted with lots of grip from the front end when you are pushing on. It feels firmer set than some other MPVs, which seems to be where the tight handling comes from, but it’s still the large, comfortable vehicle you would expect.

MPVs are not fashionable anymore and suffer a bit of an image problem but for families they still make a lot of sense and the Opel Zafira Tourer is a good example of the genre. Aside from the cavernous cabin and flexible seating, the Zafira Tourer is nice to drive with a pleasant cabin ambience. You wouldn’t really expect any more from a seven seat MPV.

Opel Zafira Tourer Review Ireland
MPVs are not fashionable anymore but the Opel Zafira Tourer is a good example of the genre

Model tested: Opel Zafira Tourer Elite 2.0CDTi 170hp
Price: 
€37,050 (Range starts at €29,995)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
170hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.8 seconds
Top speed: 208km/h
Economy: 
54mpg
CO2 emissions:  
137g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a seven seat MPV you might also like this review of the Ford S-MAX.