Bella macchina!

The terrain for exploring: the most romantic wine route in Italy. 

Admittedly, those who land at the Venice-Tessera Airport might not necessarily be thinking about work. Generally, the association tends towards sun and beach, vino and Bella Italia, Canale Grande, and gondoliers. Even the tarmac provides travelers with a view of the famous Venice lagoon and the ever-blue Adriatic Sea.

However, the 450 journalists from 25 countries that Opel invited in May to Veneto do indeed have different things on their mind. A business trip brought them to the airport, which is named after Marco Polo – the most famous Venetian of all time – who once opened up new trade routes to China. The media representatives are here to perform pioneering work as well. They want to explore the new model from Opel. To put it more precisely: The Opel Crossland X is the crossover model that Opel wants to score points with in the booming SUV-B segment (sales figures have quintupled here since 2010). An Opel with the best packaging and a big personality. A compact, agile crossover that’s equipped with state-of-the-art assistance systems, including the best digital networking. In other words: A vehicle with a lot of promise. Our terrain for exploring is provided by one of the most romantic wine routes in Italy: The “Strada del Prosecco.”

 






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The fleet is waiting at the airport.

So, let’s go: First, we head 25 km from the airport to the “47 Anno Domini” winery. The convoy is ignoring Venice, Canale Grande, and the gondoliers. Because: Driving the car through Venice? Not a good idea. (The narrowest alley in Venice is not even 21 inches wide.) Driving the car through the Prosecco area of Venice? That’s much better. In the home town of the best regional vintners, we first receive information – from Opel specialists, who are also available to the journalists during breaks and in the evening as contact partners. On 17th May, Jürgen Keller, Executive Director Marketing & Aftersales, gave an update on the German market and sales numbers.

 

Driving the car troughh Venice?
Not a good idea.

 

Belinda Günther, Chief Designer Color&Trim, explaines how Opel’s design philosophy is carried forward in the Crossland X with its sophisticated and sturdy styling. Albrecht Schäfer, Head of Product Marketing, explains the car’s position while Chief Engineer Olaf Kaden as well as Lead Development Engineer Stéphane Richter are dedicated to the engines – and make the media representatives very keen on getting first-hand experience with them themselves. And they will get the opportunity to so – over an exciting stretch lasting 90 kilometers.


Each kilometer driven through the vineyards of Veneto’s prosecco paradise in the afternoon hours is illuminating.


Each kilometer driven through the vineyards of Veneto’s prosecco paradise in the afternoon hours is illuminating. “You can feel in just the first few yards that you’re sitting in an Opel,” notes a journalist from “Autozeitung.” “The chassis is extremely comfortable yet comparatively stiff, and the steering is more direct than you would expect from a car with higher ground clearance and storage space for all your luggage.”

 

 And why does coffee
in Italy always taste so good?

 

The car tester from “Bild” discovered a completely new characteristic during the drive as well: “Overall, the comfortable nature fits the relaxed character of the new model. It’s got a touch of France in it, merci!”

At the coffee break at the romantic Relais Duca di Dolle hotel, we also get an opportunity to research a different aspect of the way of life here: “Why does coffee in Italy always taste so good?” The answer in brief: “Miscela, macinatura, macchina, mano, and manutenzione.” The coffee mix needs to be right, then the degree of grinding, the machine needs to be first class, the barista needs to be well-versed in his technique, and a good portafilter machine needs to be handled properly – got it.

Bright Prospects: The horizontal lines flow from the front of the Crossland X to its sides.








After 90 kilometers – with the loop, 100 to be exact – the impressions are confirmed. Above all, it’s the engines that impress: The 1.6 liter diesel with 88 kW / 120 hp as well as the 1.2 liter with manual transmission (96 kW / 130 hp) and automatic transmission (81 kW / 110 hp). “Despite its more moderate engines, the car feels sportier on a winding country road than what a driver might need,” writes a journalist.

 

In the ’50s and ’60s, visitors came to
Jesolo in their Opel Kadetts or Opel Records.


The day’s tour ends on the beach at the Almar Jesolo Resort, a hotel in an exciting, modern design – what could be a better fit to the Crossland X? Here, the Adriatic Sea is presented as the vacationer from Germany has always wanted to see it: As a sandy paradise. In the ’50s and ’60s, visitors came to Jesolo in their Opel Kadetts or Opel Records. Will they soon be coming in the Crossland X?

“The Crossland X is a very European car. It offers great storage space and comes well-equipped. The engines that have been tested so far are little power packs and not those ‘air pumps’ you often find in many other one-liter, scaled-down mini-engines,” as is reported in the article that the journalist from “Focus” e-mailed to Germany. “A likable, comfortable, and affordable car with high ground clearance and without the pseudo-sporty affectations,” summarizes the tester from Bild. “Spiegel” poses a key question – and answers it immediately: “What would cars from Opel look like after the takeover by the PSA Group? The Crossland X model provides the first answer to this question: A mix of a small SUV and van fits.”

 

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Compact: With a length of 4.21 meters, the new Opel Crossland X is 16 centimeters shorter than an Astra while at the same time 10 centimeters higher.



May 2017

Photos: Harald Dawo