Tested: Opel Crossland X 1.6 TD is frugal and stylishly finished
Johannesburg - While the rest of the world is having a close look and second thoughts about diesel powered vehicles, South Africans still very much buck that trend.
Almost all the double cabs on the market are diesel, and virtually every manufacturer has at least one diesel SUV, hatch or sedan in their stable, so oil burners are still very much in demand locally.
Most of their popularity is simply because of fuel consumption, with single figures the order of the day even with big 4x4s.
And although performance isn't the biggest issue when average buyers shop around, technology is now so advanced - especially when you look at the top end of the market - that you can still manage to get away in a cloud of tyre smoke.
Which brings us to the Opel Crossland X 1.6 TD Enjoy, that has now joined its 1.2-litre turbo petrol version sibling.
Power comes in the form of a 1.6-litre turbodiesel that's good for 68kW and 230Nm, driving the front wheels via a five speed manual gearbox, but unfortunately without an automatic option which would have given it more traction with buyers.
Still, it's a decent box with slick gear changes and a light clutch. Being a turbodiesel though you have to be careful with gear selection, especially in Gauteng, but once you get the hang of it, it purrs along very pleasantly indeed. It's surprisingly punchy as well and gets up to the speed limit quicker than you would expect.
It's well balanced too, easing through corners without any fuss or noticeable body roll.
The test car came in two tone white and black and although there are differing views about the styling I liked the lines even though the front end is a little bland.
Because most of us are working from home now, there wasn't much town driving except for the occasional trip to the shops to stock up on groceries.
However, I did always take the long way that included stretches of highway and a bit of suburban traffic always taking alternative routes using my right foot liberally and returned with consumption figures of 5.8L/100km. I reckon though that a long holiday trip would probably get it down to the 5.0L/100km mark.
Talking of holidays (we're allowed to dream in these times right?), the split-level boot space is quoted at 410 litres and you can extend the luggage space without having to drop the seats by sliding the back seats forward. For two youngsters there's enough space to be comfortable on a log drive and for short stints, three adults would fit in without too much fuss.
With its German heritage, that very much comes through in the cabin with a high quality feel about it. Soft touch materials abound and strategically placed chrome trim makes this one of the best looking places to spend time in this category.
It's dominated by Opel's Intellilink touchscreen infotainment system which is easy enough to operate and is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible but without Satnav, which to be honest I prefer, but between Waze and Google Maps you'd have to do a good job at getting lost.
You also get cruise control, front and rear park assist, ESP, a very decent sound system and lane departure warning which took me a while to figure out that it was beeping even though I was well clear of the lines.
The Opel Crossland X 1.6 TD Enjoy comes up against the Peugeot 2008, Renault’s dCi Dynamique Captur as well as the Volkswagen T-Cross and Citroën C3 Aircross and also the Mazda CX-3.
That's some stiff competition but the Opel provides a solid decently specced car that's good looking, has a bit of oomph, lots of room and a quality cabin.