After the closure of Opel Australia, Holden imports newer Opel models such as the Astra GTC (ceased 1 May 2017), Astra VXR (Astra OPC), Cascada (ceased 1 May 2017), and Insignia VXR (Insignia OPC, ceased 1 May 2017), under the Holden badge. The 2018 5th-gen Holden Commodore ZB is a badge-engineered Opel Insignia, replacing the Australian-made, rear-wheel drive Commodore with the German-made front-wheel/all-wheel drive Insignia platform.
When I was 16 or 17, some friens and I used to buy old cars from the junkyard to drive it to pieces in the woods. Most cars did not last very long, as we tortured them with smashing them trough rough terrain, rolling over many times and held races through soft sands. Until we got an Opel Kadett. It gave us rally pleasure for weeks and weeks. Until one day, the orange oil pressure light went on.
Things are a little better up front, where we find driver and passenger seats approved by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken, or German Bad Back Association. They are truly, properly comfortable, and even long journeys fail to induce numb-bum, nor thigh-tremble. It does go a bit downhill from there though. The fascia and instrument panel are pulled, more or less directly, from the Corsa hatch, which means everything’s reasonably well made, but a bit dour and glum in appearance. That contrasts sharply to the quirkier, more welcoming interiors of the Crossland’s French cousins. There are good things – the seven-inch IntelliLink touchscreen is clear and good to use, albeit it has a slightly messy menu system, but the main dials look drab, and items such as the column stalks actually feel quite fragile and cheap.
At the first round of the season held at the former Grand Prix track of Zolder in Belgium, Opel Team Joest’s misfortunes continued. Manuel Reuter retired in the early stages, with both John Winter (16th) and Keke Rosberg finishing a lap down on winner Alessandro Nannini (ITA) in the Alfa. Race 2 was more positive however, with only John Winter dropping early on. Reuter lead the Opel charge in 7th, with Rosberg in 10th.
This 1968 Opel Kadett is a refurbished station wagon finished in red over black and powered by an overhead-valve 1.1-liter inline-four with dual carburetors and a 4-speed manual transmission. The car car previously spent time in a collection whose owner showed it in events with the Opel Motorsports Club, with awards including Best in Show, First in Class, and People’s Choice at the Opel Nationals and a number of other venues. This Kadett was acquired by the selling dealer in early 2019 and is offered with a collection of trophies and a clean Nebraska title.
The handling and ride are basically fine, but are all but invisible from the point of view of a keen driver. The Crossland is tidy through corners, with reasonable steering weight but no actual feedback, and the body tilts over only to a reasonable angle. The ride is a touch stiff in its damping, especially around town (which is disappointing, given that any Crossland will probably spend most of its life in town) but it does improve on the open road. Refinement is only average though with quite a bit of wind and road noise. There’s little point in having Opel’s phone-based OnStar concierge service fitted if you can’t hear what the operator is saying . . .
But how was Opel/PSA able to shave off so much fat from the hatchback? For starters, all engines will be made from aluminum (-15 kg / 33 lbs), much like the hood (-2.4 kg / 5.3 lbs). The optimized seats (-5.5 kg / 12.1 lbs front and -4.5 kg / 10 lbs rear) contribute to this significant weight loss, while the insulating material used throughout the cabin is also a new weight-saving development. The most important diet is found in the body-in-white, which is a term referring to the body panels being joined together before adding the engine, sub-assemblies, and trim. The new BIW is an impressive 40 kg (88 lbs) lighter than the old one.
^ General Motors Austria Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMA, founded 1963 as sales organisation; from 1979: Administration, Non-productive Departments an Sales) and General Motors Austria Werke Gesellschaft m.b.H. (GMAW founded 1979; Production). In November 1987 GMAW (Austrian Handelsregister, HRB 24.436) were merged into GMA (HRB 20.133b, actual Firmenbuch FN 110500a).