Opel's Grandland X is a powerhouse of upmarket features in a value-for-money package
Opel Grandland X: Grandly equipped meister The well-furnished Opel Grandland X meets the needs of the average family. ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN

A sizeable sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a puny engine often spells disaster. But Opel acquits itself with this recipe surprisingly well.

The German brand's new Grandland X is bigger than both the Crossland X and Mokka X - two crossover cousins which were launched last year. Yet, it is powered by a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine which you would expect in something far smaller, like an Opel Adam mini hatch.

This engine is in service in the half-size-smaller Crossland X too, but tuned up to make more power and torque. With 130bhp and 230Nm, it is passably adequate. Zero to hundred is accomplished in 10.9 seconds and the car maxes out at 188kmh.

Those numbers make the Grandland X swifter than the slightly smaller but heavier Nissan Qashqai 1.2, as well as the peachy and equivalently-sized Peugeot 3008 1.2.

There is a reason the Opel's dimensions are similar to the Peugeot's. Both cars share the same platform, in yet another example of cost-saving initiatives sweeping the automotive world.

At the wheel, the Grandland is fairly compliant where leisurely motoring is concerned. A gentle throttle will see the Opel trot along uncomplainingly with the masses in city traffic.

But as soon as urgency calls, the car fails to deliver. A hefty shove with the right foot is usually met with prolonged suspended animation. Moments pass before the engine responds to the kick-down command.

Even when it finally does, the Grandland X is not what you would describe as fast. Often, it feels slower than its official century sprint time.

Despite its ties to the 3008, the Grandland's chassis behaves quite differently. Its ride is a little choppy and the car does not resist roll very well after each turning manoeuvre.

Neither is it as resistant to general noise, vibration and harshness as the Peugeot.

The German car is, however, generously equipped. Premium features such as head-up display, adaptive cruise control with pedestrain detection and emergency braking, an infotainment set with Apple CarPlay and navigation, full-LED headlights, a 360-degree camera system, as well as a suite of advanced safety aids are standard issue. So is a hands-free tailgate that is so much in vogue today.

They make the Grandland X the best furnished car in its price segment.

Too bad the car does not stand out from the crowd visually. Its styling is inoffensive, but strangely familiar. In a parking lot, it simply blends in, with no distinguishing or outstanding mark in its design. Neither does it differ markedly from Opel's two other crossovers.

And while overall build quality abides by the popular perception people have of German cars, there are occasional signs of Opel's trailing standards in the fit and finish department. The test-car betrays occasional cabin rattle and a sticky gearshift lever.

Nonetheless, the Grandland X is a viable proposition. It meets the needs of the average family, with enough room for passengers and cargo, and a host of upper-crust amenities to surprise even those who are used to Mercs and BMWs.

For a brand which is rather late to the SUV game, that is not half-bad.