Presenting a new vehicle is always a special occasion, and the internal world premieres held in the auditorium in Rüsselsheim, Germany, such as the most one recent one in March for the new Insignia, are can’t-miss events for anyone who wants to receive information about new developments firsthand. On 20 June, a remarkably large crowd of employees showed up for the two sessions in N50. The vehicle onstage has a unique development background that captured their cumulative interest for good reason: It was the Crossland X, the first vehicle to be jointly designed with Peugeot Société Anonyme (PSA). The five experts Rainer Michel, Olaf Kaden, Marc Van der Haegen, Georg Schade, and Michael Küpper – all of whom were closely involved in the development process – spent an hour giving their all sharing figures, data, facts, and personal experiences in connection with this special car.
Crossland X: Elevated seating position, plenty of room, and a lot of variability.
“It’s a True Opel!”
Rainer Michel can’t contain his excitement. He doesn’t want to, either: “The Crossland X is a true Opel!” the Executive Chief Engineer happily confirms. He wasn’t actually slated to speak about this car at today’s event, but given the extreme importance of this vehicle, he wants to discuss it with his colleagues – in fact, he’s very excited to! A new platform, a new partner, and new processes: Developing the Crossland X was an extremely complicated undertaking. “What can I say – it’s a mega-project!” A mega-project, indeed: The rollout for this Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) in Saragossa, Spain, was dubbed “the best and fastest launch in GM history.”
Starting in August, its French sister model, the Citröen C3 Aircross, will also be manufactured at the Spanish Opel plant. After four years of cooperation, the Executive Chief Engineer still only has “the utmost regard” for his French collaborators. He left the employees in the hall with the following words: “You can look forward to the future and the future models!” The Crossland X demonstrates the immense potential that the Opel/PSA partnership has to offer.
Executive Chief Engineer
A ‘We’ Car Instead of a ‘Me’ Car
Chief Engineer Olaf Kaden spends 15 minutes discussing marketing aspects, covering for Marketing employee Romain Hauterat, who would normally be in charge of this. Kaden has no problem doing so – after all, the engineer was responsible for implementing the marketing specifications that he’s talking about into the car. In order to shed light on the Crossland X’s positioning, Kaden refers to the Mokka X, the first Opel model to have an ‘X’ in its name. What sets that subcompact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) apart? Its elevated seating position, which is typical of an SUV, and its adaptive all-wheel drive system that can be provided on request – which have played a part in securing the ‘all-wheel drive car of the year’ title for the Mokka X in Germany twice so far. “It’s a real success, a ‘me’ car that’s designed with the driver in mind, and which boasts a sporty and dynamic driving experience,” says Kaden. After all, 750,000 buyers can’t be wrong.
The Crossland X takes the same elevated seating position that’s found in the Mokka X as a starting point, but then sets its focus elsewhere. According to Kaden, “This is a ‘we’ car. It’s the perfect Crossover Utility Vehicle for people seeking a top-performing vehicle for their family.” At a vehicle length of 4.21 meters, seven centimeters shorter than the Mokka X, this crossover provides enough room for up to five people, and, thanks to the back seat that can be moved along the length of the car (in a variable 60:40 proportion), offers a trunk volume of 410 to 520 liters. If the back seats are completely folded down, the load volume can be expanded to 1,255 liters. “To make this incredible level of versatility possible, the vehicle was designed from the inside out,” explains the Chief Engineer. Best of all: Despite the car’s extensive functionality, customers “don’t have to make any compromises when it comes to the outstanding styling.”
Marc Van der Haegen
Outstanding styling? That’s a job for Marc Van der Haegen, the Chief Designer: “We interpreted the Opel design philosophy of German precision and sculptural form in a very special way: The Crossland X is simultaneously refined and robust. It combines functionality with lifestyle.” The car is also recognizable as an Opel at first glance: The wing-shaped logo bar perfectly highlights the lightning bolt and precisely flows into the LED graphic of the standard daytime running light. Crisp lines on the sides and the seemingly floating roof visually elongate the Crossland X. Customers can choose a different color for the roof, which the Chief Designer “definitely recommends.”
The same goes for the optional sunroof. The sunroof provides a good opportunity to look into the interior, where “the instrument panel and central console are clearly separated and horizontally aligned towards the driver. The chrome-ringed instruments and controls exude a sense of high quality. We created a physical button for each important function,” says the Chief Designer. Marc Van der Haegen has saved the best for last: the striking rear, his favorite view of the vehicle. He loves “the clearly visible underride guard combined with the rear lights perched high at the top with an LED double current graphic: It’s pure energy!”
I’m Taking Along…
Program Engineering Manager
There’s a well-known game where each player says ‘I’m packing my bags and I’m taking along…’, then lists their items of choice. Georg Schade, Program Engineering Manager, takes that as inspiration and makes up the following game: “I’m configuring my Crossland X and taking along…” He puts together an impressive list, and he has a lot of options: From the Opel OnStar, to top infotainment, to assistant systems, the selection is enormous. What would the Program Engineering Manager pack into his Crossland X? He named the following three top innovations, which make everyday driving safer, easier, and more comfortable: The adaptive forward lighting A(FL) with full-LED headlights, the heads-up display, and the 180-degree panoramic rear-view camera. The last of these three celebrated its Opel premier in the Crossland X. “The camera expands the viewing angle to the back by 180 degrees so that the driver can also see other parties on the road approaching from the side in the monitor when they’re reversing out of a parking space,” explains the engineer.
Another ‘must-have’ is the color touch screen, which measures up to eight inches and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wireless charging ensures that the driver’s smartphone doesn’t run out of juice. The car’s engines also ensure a wonderful driving experience: “They’re made by Peugeot. There are three versions of a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine on offer: one with 81 hp, one with 110 hp, and one with 130 hp.” There are also two diesel options with 1.6 liters of displacement, four cylinders, and either 99 or 120 hp. No matter where the journey takes you, “the Crossland X is really fun to drive – it’s got it all, including precise steering and a smoothly running engine,” says Georg Schade.
All Good Things Come in Sixes
After 50 minutes of concentrated information, Chief Engineer Michael Küpper’s final assessment comes right on time: “I know that you can only really remember three facts at once, but there’s just so much to say about the Crossland X.” According to Chief Engineer Küpper, this is what sets the Opel Crossland X apart:
1 | Spacious feel: “An elevated seating position, plenty of room, and a lot of variability – this combination is extremely successful. You can even add to the spacious feel with the large panoramic sunroof.”
2 | Connectivity: “Opel OnStar ensures ideal networking. This personal online and service assistant with a Wi-Fi hotspot has been included as a standard feature in our vehicles ever since the Edition line. You can charge smartphones inductively through wireless charging.”
3 | Range of engines: “You can look forward to the new Peugeot range of engines available for this model. The 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine, for instance, was already named ‘Engine of the Year’ three times.”
4 | Roominess: “The back seats can be moved in a 60:40 proportion by up to 150 millimeters, which can either make the ride more pleasant for those sitting in the second row, or increase the trunk volume from 410 to 520 liters in the blink of an eye – when it comes to roominess, this vehicle is the best in its segment!”
5 | Lighting: “Opel lighting technology is outstanding – but you know that already. Adaptive forward lighting (AFL) with full-LED headlights is included in the Crossland X – alongside curve lighting and the high-beam assistant.”
6 | Efficiency: “This new car is launching in the booming subcompact SUV market and can be ordered starting at €16,850. In terms of its efficiency, all of the three-cylinder gasoline engines and four-cylinder diesel engines available for this model are cutting-edge aluminum engines with top-notch fuel efficiency.”
“This Was My Premiere at a Premiere!”
Design Operations employee
“The design of the Crossland X is extremely successful – harmonious, high-quality, stylish, and just plain cool. I’m really excited to drive this new car. I’ve only heard good things about the engines. By the way, this is my first internal world premiere, since I just started working at Opel a few weeks ago, in the Validation department. It was incredibly exciting. I’ll definitely be coming to them regularly. And thanks to the big product launch this year – seven new models in 2017 – I’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so.”
Stand Juli 2017