Russelsheim - A stylish and capable crossover it may be, but Opel’s Grandland X is not a vehicle that you would readily associate with hot hatch performance, as is the case with most of its compact SUV rivals.

But now there is a hot version, revealed in Germany on Monday, and much of its extra urge comes from electric power.

The Hybrid4 is Opel’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, and it makes use of Peugeot’s PHEV drivetrain, mating a 147kW 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine to a pair of electric motors and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, for a system output of 225kW. No performance figures have been released as yet, but with that kind of power it will certainly be brisk, albeit weighed down a bit by its 13.2kW/h lithium-ion battery, which is located beneath the rear seats to minimise the effect on cabin and boot space.

That will also have an adverse effect on economy once the battery charge has been depleted, which Opel says will only happen after about 50km (measured on the WLTP driving cycle).

Apart from the all-electric mode, drivers have have three other modes to choose from, these being Hybrid, Sport and AWD - the latter activating the electrified rear axle for all-wheel-drive capability when additional traction is desired.

According to Opel, the vehicle’s battery will charge up in about 1h50m when plugged in to a 7.4kW wallbox. The car can also use its connected navigation system to find the nearest charging station.

The Hybrid4 also has a regenerative braking system to recover energy produced under braking and deceleration and the driver can select a ‘Regeneration on Demand’ function that maximises this. In this mode the drag torque of the electric motor is so high that the driver need not even use the brakes.

The Grandland X Hybrid4 is set to go on sale in Europe in early 2020. Our contact at Opel SA says that nothing is confirmed yet for South Africa on the hybrid or electric front - which is certainly not a no.

Globally Opel is going big on electrification, with fully-electric versions of the next Corsa, Zafira, Vivaro and Mokka X all due in the coming years, along with a number of hybrid variants.

IOL Motoring