With the excitement of the WesBank Car of the Year Awards still fresh in mind, I am excited to experience the brand new Crossland, the latest offering by German manufacturer Opel, who maintains a clear winning streak in terms of having the most vehicles listed as winners and finalists, for this prestigious award.
Brett van den Brink, Dealer Principal at Williams Hunt Edenvale, is optimistic about the future of Opel in South Africa, noting that the popularity which Opel enjoyed in the 80’s and 90’s is making a huge comeback due the fantastic track record of the brand. Making it his personal mission to highlight the outstanding quality of these German vehicles and underscore this with a motivated team that focus on offering the customer a personal, attentive experience, Brett is confident that the perception of the brand is being changed: people who would previously not have considered an Opel are now coming for test-drives and bringing their friends and family to the Dealership. Determined to create a culture of selling excellence to the community, Brett is passionate about the reputation they have created in the area and maintained for so many years.
For my first meeting with this fresh-from-launch compact crossover, I make my way to Williams Hunt Edenvale to take delivery of the funky-looking Crossland 1.2 Turbo Cosmo, where I meet up with Clint Fortune, New Vehicle Sales Manager. With the exit of General Motors from South Africa last year, Opel as a whole recommitted their products and services to the South African market under the competent distribution and servicing of the Williams Hunt Group.
The Dealership located in Edenvale is a familiar face to locals in the area, having been established more than thirty years ago (albeit under a different name). Now focusing on the Opel brand exclusively, the Dealership is excited about the exponential growth in sales of vehicles which Clint emphatically feels are better quality comparatively, than any other brand on the market. With almost a decade of experience in the motoring industry, across various brands, Clint confidently states that the popularity and trust which the average consumer has in German brands such as Opel is not misplaced; with consistently high-quality products (as underscored by repeated award nominations and wins respectively), Opel vehicles are becoming increasingly popular on our roads. Noting that 2017 showed a growth of 40% in Opel sales at this Dealership alone, Clint oozes enthusiasm for the future of the brand, sharing with me that the investment the OEM has made in South Africa by partnering with WesBank to create Opel Financing, firmly plants roots for this brand.
The sales- and client-care team at Williams Hunt Edenvale is comprised of experienced individuals who have been with the Dealership since it’s Isuzu and Chevrolet days, meaning they are familiar with both passenger-vehicles and fleet-oriented automobiles. New Vehicle Sales team members for Opel have confidently released the Crossland-X to me today; noting that what sets this vehicle apart is the fact that it is loaded with the latest technology (which includes a Head’s-Up display, Lifetime Coolants and Wet Cambelt technology) yet still maintains it’s comfortable, reliable design and recognizable good-looks. Having only been on the show room floor for a week, the team at Williams Hunt Edenvale have been inundated with test-drive requests and interested clients. Clint, who has been with Retail Dealerships for 6 years, emphasizes that he regularly compares Opel vehicles to other brands that come across the Used Car Floor at this Dealership, and he is consistently reminded that Opel vehicles are superior in quality, technology and standard features in each different segment.
True to his word that the “meet and greet” of each client is vital for setting the tone, Kwena, Stuart and Gregory welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm, and impressed me with their product knowledge. Although his favourite vehicle is the Opel Astra, he notes the Crossland is definitely high up on his list of preferred vehicles too. With all the needed bells and whistles on board (including Bluetooth connectivity, Electrical mirrors and windows, cruise control and an optional panoramic sunroof), the Crossland’s interior is stylish and comfortable, with high-end finishes that make me feel quite at home. I particularly like the look of the vehicle, and feel that Opel have done something right with the exterior design, which is characterized by smooth curves and a bold stance.
The variant I am driving is released with a 1.2 litre turbocharged engine that produces 81 Kw of power and 205 Nm of Torque. This gives me sufficient and satisfactory pull at take-off, whilst keeping the fuel consumption low. According to Opel, the Crossland can average around 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres, due in part to the efficient compatibility between the engine and the smoothly-changing 6-speed automatic gearbox (although I find this a little ambitious in hard-core traffic). The drive is lovely and I felt a noteworthy sense of security and comfort in the Crossland (with 6 airbags and a host of other safety features) thanks to its solid and sturdy road holding capabilities and sense of handling.
Featuring in the Compact Crossover segment, the Crossland is an ideal family vehicle which has sufficient space for the kids and their bags in the back and boot respectively, whilst still upping-the-ante in terms of some luxurious touches and elegant finishes. On sale at Williams Hunt Edenvale with entry-level variants priced from R269 900 (and the Cosmo variant I was driving at R366 900), all purchases include a 60 months AA Roadside membership, 3 year/60 000 kilometre service plan and a 5 year/120 000 kilometre warranty.
Back at the Dealership, Clint deals with repeat-customers who are accustomed to the level of service and care provided by Williams Hunt Edenvale. As the Dealership has developed a great reputation over the last few years, and is firmly cemented in a loyal and family-oriented community, Williams Hunt Edenvale is excited to present the launch of the Opel X-Range on 21 April 2018. Planning a family-day of fun, excitement and brand-new products, Williams Hunt Edenvale is looking forward to having you over to test-drive the X-range, which includes the impressive Crossland.
Hinting at even more excitement for the Opel brand (and possibly the award-winning Astra) on the horizon for the rest of 2018, Clint is anticipating a successful year ahead. For more information on this Dealership, follow the link: Williams Hunt Edenvale
By Desh Bechan