10 Apr 2019
Opel Grandland X “120 Years”: Seating Comfort has Long Tradition
120 Years of Opel Automobile Production
- Anniversary model: Bestselling Opel Grandland X special model with leading technologies and comfort
- Learning curve: From box seat to ergonomic seat with massage function in 120 years
- Experts’ approval: Seats in Opel models certified by Campaign for Healthier Backs
- Second-row comfort: Heated rear seats in Insignia, Astra and Grandland X
Rüsselsheim. Opel has been developing and producing automobiles since 1899. “Democratise top technologies and make them accessible to everyone” has been the motto since day one. Driven by this commitment, the automaker is celebrating “120 Years of Opel Automobile Production” this year. Through the decades, Opel has introduced numerous technical advancements and made them accessible to the general public. These include efficient engines and superior chassis, as well as state-of-the-art assistance systems. At the same time, Opel has always made the comfort of drivers and passengers a top priority. After all, motorists want one thing above all else: a comfortable and relaxed journey. Seats play a key role; they are the interface between man and machine. Accordingly, Opel also focused on seat development at an early stage, as seats with a perfect ergonomic shape increase not only comfort, but also safety. Both aspects have been at the top of the German carmaker’s agenda since the introduction of the first automobiles – after all, the 1899 Opel “Patentmotorwagen” already had leather seats.
The list of seating-milestones in 120 years of Opel engineering ranges from the introduction of longitudinal adjustment in 1931 and the legendary reclining seats in the Opel Kapitän, to height adjustment in the Opel Monza and Senator in the late 1970s and the Flex7 seating system in the first Opel Zafira exactly 20 years ago. Then in 2003 the first ergonomic seat certified by Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V. (Campaign for Healthier Backs) made its Opel premiere in the mid-size Signum. Today, models like the Opel Astra, Opel Insignia and Opel Grandland X can be ordered with the award-winning, continuously developed ergonomic active seats.
A prime example of top technologies and first-class comfort for everyone is the Opel Grandland X “120 Years” (fuel consumption with 1.2 Direct Injection Turbo, 96kW/130hp, six-speed manual transmission and Start/Stop according to NEDC1: urban 6.1 l/100 km, extra-urban 4.9-4.8 l/100 km, combined 5.3-5.2 l/100 km, 121-120 g/km CO2; fuel consumption according to WLTP2: combined 7.1-6.5 l/100 km, 161-147 g/km CO2) available from €29,200 (RRP incl. VAT in Germany). The anniversary model variant not only has assistance systems such as Cruise Control with intelligent speed limiter, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Hill Start Assist, Rear View Camera and Park Pilot for front and rear as standard on board. Numerous comfort features also ensure a relaxed ride. These include the multi-adjustable comfort driver and passenger seats as well as multi-stage seat heating for the front seats, heatable leather steering wheel and Solar Protect heat protection glazing in the rear. With just a glance at the exterior, the door sills with OPEL lettering, 17-inch light-alloy wheels in 5 double-spoke design and the “120 Years” logo immediately identify the Grandland X anniversary model. Comfort can be increased even further with the optional ergonomic active front seats – also in leather and with seat ventilation – and seat heating for the two outer seats in the second row. Opel thus offers first-class seating comfort for all passengers.
Early comfort: “Lutzmann” with soft leather seat bench
At the end of the 19th century, people could not even dream of such technologically sophisticated seats – the focus then was on engine-power, comfort played a subordinate role. The cars still resembled carriages, as did the seats. For instance the Opel Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” of 1899: not just the entire car, but also the seats with their bolt-upright position were reminiscent of a carriage. Of course, there were no possibilities to adjust the seats yet. So instead, Opel focused on another detail that was a big comfort plus at the time: the bench seat was already luxuriously upholstered with leather.
Thirty years later in 1929, the seat in the Opel 4/20 “Moonlight Roadster” was still a rigidly fixed bench. However, it was positioned considerably lower and allowed passengers to stretch their legs out in front of them, similar to today. In the four-door model and limousine the front seats could be folded down. The next development step quickly followed with the Opel 1.8 Litre: the front seats could now be adjusted longitudinally. Brochures at the time stated: “The adjustable front seats are like club chairs: deep and cosy, with comfortable backrests.” The 1.2 Litre Regent had another standout feature: “Wide, comfortable, inviting front and rear seats. The large boot is accessed by simply folding the rear backrest forward.” So comfort combined with practical benefits was already on the agenda in 1931.
“Car seats like this were already on quite a few wish lists”: Kapitän, GT and Monza
From the early 1950s the seats of the Opel Olympia were fixed to a metal frame and also longitudinally adjustable. To facilitate entry for rear passengers, the front seat backrests could be folded forward. In 1956, the Opel Kapitän L took things a step further with extra seating comfort. “The occupant of each individually adjustable front seat can recline the backrest seamlessly all the way to a horizontal position, simply by pulling a lever and leaning back,” said the description. The so-called “relax” or “reclining” seat was born. “A slight pull is all it takes to ‘customise’ the seat position.” The rails the seats slid on were mounted on an incline. This meant that the height of the seat position changed according to the longitudinal adjustment. Already back then, the significance of seats for safety was highlighted: “Especially when cornering, you really feel how these seats have the right shape and how much support they provide. The result is a pleasant and secure driving feeling that you never want to miss again.”
In 1968 the Opel GT went into series production. This legendary model sparkled with its bold sporty styling – both exterior and interior. Passengers made themselves comfortable in seats with a sporty shape. Extended seat cushions and a significantly improved shoulder section showed the direction of development. From the late 1960s, Opel gradually equipped various models with optional headrests – such as the Kadett B, Rekord C, Commodore A and Olympia A. The next important development step came in 1978: in line with the credo “Comfort is a function of technology”“, Opel introduced the height-adjustable seat in various trim variants of the Monza A and Senator A. “To guarantee every driver – regardless of height or size – their optimum personal seat position and visibility, the driver’s seat can be seamlessly adjusted in terms of longitudinal position, backrest tilt (…) and in the Senator CD even seat height”, was the description of adjustment possibilities in the Opel brochure.
Flexibility redefined: The Flex7 seating system in the Opel Zafira
In the 1990s, the seats in the Opel Omega B were electrically adjustable as an option. The reinforced rear seat backrests and side airbags made an important contribution to passive safety; elaborate crash tests with a payload were conducted for the first time. Depending on the trim version, all three rear seats came with three-point seatbelts and headrests.
Opel presented a global innovation in 1999 with the introduction of the Zafira compact van featuring its on-board Flex7 seating system. For the first time, a compact seven-seat people-carrier could be transformed, in no time at all, into a two-seat transporter with a large loading area – without having to remove the seats and cumbersomely store them outside the vehicle. Thanks to a clever mechanism, both the individual seats in the third row could be folded down flush with the floor of the boot. Then the seat cushions and backrests of the second row could be folded down, pushed up against the first row seats and secured there. This transformed the family van for seven into a load-carrier with up to 1,700 litres of transport volume (VDA – German Automotive Industry Association – standard). With this concept, Opel raised flexibility to the next level and continued further developing it up to the lounge seating system with transversally adjustable outer seats in the middle row in the Zafira Tourer.
Good for the back: AGR-certified ergonomic seats from 2003
Relaxed travelling not only increases the well-being and safety of passengers, it is also an important health factor. The “right” seat is not only comfortable, it also supports the occupant’s back. Opel has a pioneering role amongst volume manufacturers in this area. The company was the first automaker to offer back-friendly seats in the mid-size class in 2003, with the first AGR seal of approval for the Opel Signum. The experts for healthy seating awarded the 18-way electrically adjustable, multi-contour driver‘s seat in the Opel Vectra/Opel Signum their seal of approval.
From this moment on, the ergonomically superior seats set off on their road to success. In 2008, the standard comfort seats in the Opel Insignia offered generous adjustment setting ranges – 65 mm (electric) for height and 270 mm longitudinally – achieving absolute best marks here. The premium driver’s seat was AGR certified. And in 2012 the Opel Meriva was the first series production car to receive the coveted AGR seal of approval for its overall ergonomic concept: FlexDoors with an opening angle of 84 degrees, FlexSpace system, AGRcertified ergonomic seats and the FlexFix bicycle carrier.
Opel also made the especially back-friendly seats available in the compact class. For the first time, the AGR-certified premium ergonomic seats in the Astra generation introduced in 2015 were not just multi-adjustable in height, longitude and tilt (including side bolster adjustment) they were also optionally available with further comfort features such as massage, ventilation and memory function. In addition to the current Astra and Insignia variants, drivers and front-seat passengers in the top Opel Grandland X SUV can also look forward to exemplary seating comfort. But they are not alone. All three models also feature second-row seating comfort, as optional seat heating is available for both front and outer rear seats.
The performance sports seat developed by Opel for the Insignia GSi driving machine (fuel consumption Opel Insignia GSi with 2.0 BiTurbo Diesel and 154kW/210hp according to NEDC1: urban 9.6 l/100 km, extra-urban 5.6 l/100 km, combined 7.1 l/100 km, 187-186 g/km CO2; fuel consumption according to WLTP2: combined 7.8-7.4 l/100 km, 204-193 g/km CO2) currently represents the ultimate in sportiness and ergonomics. The AGR-certified Opel performance sport seat combines outstanding lateral support with top long-distance comfort and offers all the comfort features from the Insignia model line. The integral seat in the GSi also comes with ventilation, heating, a massage function (driver’s seat) and adjustable side bolsters. These features are complemented by the high backrest with integrated headrest. The longitudinal position, height, cushion tilt and backrest angle of the seat that looks like a king cobra ready to strike can all be adjusted electrically. The air cushions of the four-way lumbar support along with the variable side bolsters are also activated electrically. Developed by Opel experts for healthy seating, the performance seat is unique in its combination of sporty lateral support and comfort features.
 WLTP measurements converted to NEDC values for comparison
 WLTP combined figures (for information only, not to be confused with official NEDC values)
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