If compact fuel-efficiency is what you're looking for in your new or pre-owned Opel, the Crossland X will be right up your alley. Dynamic and versatile to the core, it's sharp lines may look deliciously imposing, but it also offers the added benefit of improving overall aerodynamics, which brings down that fuel bill considerably. Throw in some low rolling-resistance tyres and you'll see why the Crossland X is being touted as one of South Africa's most efficient SUVs.
Launched in 1962, GM Europe's small car for the 1960s, the Opel Kadett, looked like a shrunk Chevy Nova, and hid a 1.0-liter water-cooled overhead-valve four-cylinder up its nose. While this motor had pre-War origins, it was a good one. It weighed just 211 lbs, revved beyond 6000 rpm, and made 54 horsepower in the high-compression 'S' version, as long as you used premium fuel.
Available as standard-version or 180° panorama, the rear view camera helps you with optimal visibility all round, bird's-eye view and zoom function. What used to be invisible hazards like approaching objects from the side or crossing rear traffic, driving off becomes so much easier and safer. The zoom turns on automatically if objects are closer than 70 centimetres.
Opel campaigned the car extensively in motorsport too. The rally version was uncompetitive, but Opel eagerly waded into the 160mph traffic jam that was the International Touring Car Championship. The ITCC was created from the German DTM series, in which Opel had struggled. A rule change allowed Opel to use a new 480bhp V6 derived from the road car. The resultant four-wheel-drive monster carried Manuel Reuter to the 1996 ITCC driver's crown and Opel won the manufacturers' gong, beating Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz. It was the Calibra's finest hour.
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.
Depending on the model version, the Corsa is as suited to singles and couples as to whole families. So it comes as no surprise that more than 13.5 million units have been produced since 1982. “The Corsa remains one of our most important models across Europe”, says Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. The bestseller therefore plays a leading role in this anniversary year. “Opel has been democratising mobility for 120 years”, added Duchemin. “In our cars we make pioneering technology and comfort features affordable for all. This is what we stand for and the best example of this is the Corsa! Our anniversary model line-up has the right car for everyone – with extensive equipment and at best prices.”
In 2007, Opel introduced sport version of Corsa tuned by Opel Performance Center (OPC) – Corsa OPC. Corsa have 1.6 litre I4 turbo engine with 141 kW (192 PS; 189 hp) at 5.850 rpm and 230 N⋅m (170 lb⋅ft) of torque at 1,980 to 5,850 rpm, with overboost function which boost up torque figure to 266 N⋅m (196 lb⋅ft). 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time is 7.2 s and top speed is 225 km/h (140 mph). Differences with standard Corsa in interior are sporty Recaro seats, OPC steering wheel and gear knob, instrument dials with OPC background.
The next step for Opel was the resumption of passenger car production. It might have seemed easiest to bring back the Kapitän first since its engine was already in production for the truck, but occupation regulations restricted German civilians to cars of 1.5 L or less, which made the Olympia the obvious candidate. Under Dr Ing e.h. Karl Stief, who had been chief engineer at Opel since 1934, useful changes were made to this tough little car. The Dubonnet front suspension was replaced by a conventional coil-and-wishbone layout and the steering was correspondingly rearranged.
While the Ipanema clearly succeeded the Marajó, production of the Chevette (by now in sedan form only, the hatchback having been discontinued after the 1987 model year) and of the Kadett noticeably overlapped; the newer model was placed above the old one in Chevrolet's lineup. While Chevrolet entertained the possibility of a pick-up version of the Kadett E, it never materialized.