Crossland X replaces Meriva and looks more like a crossover than a people carrier/MPV

Crossland X replaces Meriva and looks more like a crossover than a people carrier/MPV

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At first sight, the new Crossland X, which steps in for the Meriva, appears to make no sense for Opel and Vauxhall. Isn't it the same size as the Mokka X? The now Groupe PSA divisions believe there is room below their existing B-SUV for a slightly shorter, narrower and lower crossover, but is there?

Why two B-SUVs?

The Mokka X is also available with AWD whereas the Crossland X isn't.

Even though I knew that Opel was planning to replace the Meriva with a small crossover or SUV, still I could not fathom why. Surely the Mokka X is what anyone visiting Opel or Vauxhall websites will be defaulting to if they're seeking a small-tall model from these brands? Now, having looked at dimensions, engines and prices, I get it.

Let's look at what sets these two apart before concentrating on the newer of the pair. The Crossland X is 4,212mm long, 1,764mm wide and 1,588mm high, compared with the Mokka X's respective 4,275mm, 1,781mm and 1,658mm dimensions. The Mokka X is also available with AWD whereas the Crossland X isn't. In the German market, the Crossland X is around 2,000 euro cheaper than the Mokka X, version for version and for the Vauxhalls, the differences are roughly the same equivalent numbers in sterling.

X now equals crossover or SUV for Opel-Vauxhall

The model name might take some time to get used to, but there again, people may take to it straight away. Mokka was easy once we noticed the spelling, and then Mokka X for the facelifted model underlines its identity as a crossover. But Crossland X? I guess the name is expected to make people think of crossovers, Land Rovers and maybe the former Freelander.

The Grandland X will be larger and serve as the successor for the long forgotten Antara.

Soon, we will have another SUV or crossover joining the range. That one will be the Grandland X. It will be larger and serve as the successor for the long forgotten Antara. Eventually, the Grandland X will also be a replacement for the Zafira when that model is retired, which is likely to be in 2019. So yes, Opel-Vauxhall is keen to get out of the MPV business, unlike some of its rivals such as Ford of Europe, which still does fairly well with the Galaxy and S-MAX twins, and VW with the Touran.

Back to the Crossland X. In October 2012, the then GM Europe and PSA stated to the press that they would be collaborating in a 'joint multi-purpose vehicle programme for the small car segment for Opel/Vauxhall and the Citroën brand'. The Citroen is the new C3 Aircross, which is the follow-up to the C3 Picasso, and the Crossland X is the Opel and Vauxhall.

The Crossland X and C3 Aircross are manufactured at what had been a GME plant in Zaragoza. Also known as Figuerelas, it is now part of Groupe PSA's European manufacturing operations. An Opel team in Rüsselsheim led the engineering execution of the joint project. Groupe PSA supplies powertrains for both models, which is why the Crossland X has different engines to what are fitted to the slightly larger Mokka X.

The Spanish plant which builds the Crossland X has a capacity of close to half a million vehicles. However, in 2014, it built only 298,000. But with the addition of the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, followed by the Crossland X and its PSA twin, production may well rise to between 400,000 and 450,000 units per annum.

Opel expects 100,000 units of the Crossland X to be made during the first 12 months of production.

In May 2017, Antonio Cobo, the head of Opel Spain, told the media that he saw 79,000 units of the Crossland X being produced in 2017, and 100,000 during the first 12 months of production.

The new B-crossover was revealed to the media in January, with the car's public debut being six weeks later at the Geneva motor show. Production started on 2 May.

LHD cars were in showrooms by the end of May, with RHD Opels and the Vauxhall versions following a month later.

It's a very easy car to live with, this little crossover. It will have particular appeal to anyone who wants to easily swing themselves in and out of any of the four door-adjacent seats, and each of the doors opens especially wide. On the Elite version I had, the boot floor could be lowered or raised, there are no intrusions from wheelarches, and the boot itself is big compared to the Mokka X. Vauxhall claims the capacity is the largest in its class.

Thanks to their ability to slide - they can be shifted forwards or backwards by up to 150mm - the 60/40 split folding rear seats give excellent leg room. You can also increase what is already a large boot volume by pushing them fully forwards.

The rear window is too small and the sweep of the tiny wiper is ridiculous.

The interior looked and felt better than that in the GBP175,000 NSX which I had just handed back to Honda and it's up to GM's usual high standards. If you drive a Vauxhall, Opel, Chevrolet, Buick, Holden or even a Cadillac, you'll feel at home, although the design department has been allowed to get away with a few silly touches.

One of those things was making the rear window too small, added to which, the sweep of the tiny wiper is ridiculous. It's due to the roof design and D pillar sharing the same glossy black contrasting look as the Opel-Vauxhall Adam. I like the looks of lots of other parts of the Crossland X, but not this view. Points are handed back, though, for the nicely styled fuel filler flap, which is on the US-Korean/Japanese/Chinese side - unusual for a car with a European brand's badge. Good to see that within GM there can be money available for small details such as this instead of the usual boring circular or rectangular filler door.

Powertrains

Engine choice for the Vauxhall is as follows:

  • 82PS 1.2 petrol (no turbocharger and no S&S)
  • 110PS 1.2 petrol turbo
  • 130PS 1.2 petrol turbo
  • 99PS 1.6 diesel
  • 120PS 1.6 diesel

Both cars use GM's Gamma 2 architecture, but why AWD is not offered on the smaller, newer model isn't clear.

Here too, it's clear that the Crossland is below the Mokka in the pecking order, as engine capacities and power outputs are smaller and lower. Both cars use GM's Gamma 2 architecture, but why AWD is not offered on the smaller, newer model isn't clear. Probably, it's a marketing and product planning decision, so that anyone who wants it, will have to pay up. It was probably also decided that engineering the Crossland X with all-wheel drive capability would add cost and complexity.

Summary

The new Crossland X costs from GBP16,555-21,380 and compared to a Captur or 2008, it offers a fresh name and an arguably nicer interior plus that huge boot. It should also give Vauxhall a handy boost in the B-SUV/crossover segment. Available here since 2012, the Mokka and now Mokka X have found over 120,000 buyers, making the UK the model's largest market. No sales expectations have been made public, which, given, the recent topsy-turvy movements in the UK market, is an understandable position for Vauxhall to take. 

Future SUVs

The second generation Mokka X is due to go on sale in 2019.

If it sells well, the Crossland X will likely be facelifted in 2020 or 2021 and then replaced by a model which uses a Groupe PSA architecture in 2024. If it doesn't, expect it to be phased out around the time when it would otherwise be due for a mild restyling. As for its bigger brother, the second generation Mokka X is due to go on sale in 2019.

The next Mokka X had been expected to appear at the Geneva motor show in 2019, and then to be in showrooms in October/November of that year. Opel stated in December 2016 that the car would be built from 2019 at its Eisenach plant. As noted above, the current model is made at Figuerelas near Zaragoza in Spain's north east. The German factory, which is one of two plants which make the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, would gain the Mokka X as the next Corsa will be single-sourced out of Figuerelas.

It is now believed that the new model, formerly being developed with the project code of G2UO, will be switched to a Groupe PSA architecture and model code. Its build location is not known, but it could well still be produced at Eisenach.

In the segment above the Grandland X, Opel and Vauxhall have no model with which to challenge the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. At one time, a model in this segment was confirmed as being under development. Now? It isn't clear what Groupe PSA's intentions are.

According to a 6 April 2017 media statement by Opel, "a large SUV will be produced in Rüsselsheim as of the end of the decade".

Speaking to the media in May 2011, the then head of Opel-Vauxhall, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, revealed plans for a new model due around 2015 or 2016. To sit in the Opel (and, presumably, Vauxhall) model range(s) above the Insignia, the extra vehicle would logically be, it was imagined, a version of the Buick Enclave. This would give GM's two European markets main brands something with which to challenge the VW Touareg replacement, as well as the Edge, Santa Fe and others.

In March 2014, Stracke's successor K T Neumann, told the media in an issued release that an additional Opel-Vauxhall model as well as a Buick for export to North America would be built at Rüsselsheim. "Due to competitive reasons, details about this car will not be announced until the end of the year", Opel's statement added.

In November 2014 came slightly more information when Neumann and GM's CEO Mary Barra announced the future production of an SUV at Ruesselsheim. This would be Opel and Vauxhall's co-flagship with the Insignia, the leaders claimed.

According to a 6 April 2017 media statement by Opel, "a large SUV will be produced in Rüsselsheim as of the end of the decade". The model name will have an X suffix, and so Monza X is rumoured.

Groupe PSA has said nothing about the project being cancelled and indeed, there may even be plans to spin off up to three variants for DS, Peugeot and/or Citroën. Whether or not GM's Holden division will also gain this vehicle remains unknown. Against that, there isn't a great deal of volume in the segment for European brands which are not high-price ones, so development of the 'Monza X' may yet be stopped or delayed.

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