Don't expect to go off-road in this little hatchback, but it should handle the urban jungle well enough.
Opel wants the new Karl Rocks to appeal to buyers shopping for a rugged-looking vehicle who don’t necessarily want to drive full crossover in the city. Debuting at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the little five-door hatchback boasts 0.7 inches (18 millimeters) of extra ride height over the standard model. Opel showrooms start taking orders for them at the end of 2016.
There’s no mistaking the Rocks’ close relationship with the standard Karl, but Opel tries to make it look a little tougher. The body sports revised bumpers with additional plastic cladding, silver highlights along the side sills, and 15-inch two-tone wheels in a combination of brushed aluminum spokes and darker centers.
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The interior is essentially the same as the standard Karl, but the seats get exclusive upholstery called Favo fabric. Customers who want the latest tech can order an optional Radio R 4.0 infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers can also pick a further upgrade that adds navigation from Apple Maps or Google Maps.
Despite the launch in just a few months, Opel still isn’t talking specifically about the Karl Rocks’ powertrain range. However, the close relationship with the standard Karl means the pair likely share engines. The regular model uses a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 74 horsepower (55 kilowatts) and 70 pound-feet (95 Newton-meters) of torque and a five-speed manual gearbox. Stop-start is also an option.
Opel intends Karl Rocks drivers to mostly use the high-riding hatchback in the city; it can’t handle hardcore rock crawling. Trekking through the urban jungle is easier thanks to a City driving mode that reduces steering input. There’s also available Park Assist that uses audio warnings when the hatchback gets close to obstacles while reversing.
We don’t yet know the Karl Rocks’ pricing but would expect a slightly higher number than the standard hatchback. The upgrades aren’t very extensive, though, so we doubt there’s a big premium for the higher-riding version.
Gallery: Opel Karl Rocks Paris Motor Show
SUV-inspired: Raised ride height and rugged body parts for the urban jungle
Extrovert: The wild Opel KARL with expressive exterior is perfect fit for individualists
Connected: Opel OnStar and Radio R 4.0 IntelliLink available
In the spotlight: KARL ROCKS to celebrate world premiere at Paris Motor Show
Rüsselsheim. Are you looking for a small car that has the stylish looks and upmarket features of a much bigger and often much pricier vehicle? Or are you looking for a mini car that can handle the daily challenges of the urban jungle while simultaneously dazzling onlookers with its trendy SUV look and feel? If this is the case, the new Opel KARL ROCKS should appeal to you.
The new car, which is set to celebrate its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show (Booth 501 in Hall 5-2; October 1-16), bears a strong resemblance to a true SUV and shares many virtues connected with this vehicle class such as an elevated seating position that enables better visibility and easier access to the cabin or an outstanding connectivity offer. Furthermore, the new Opel KARL ROCKS maintains the unquestionable practicality of the Opel KARL with five doors, five seats, compact dimensions and a maximum trunk space over 1,000 liters up to the roof making it the ideal vehicle for a broad audience of city dwellers. Like KARL, the rocking version will thus be big on everything – except size and price.
Clever design tweaks set the KARL ROCKS, available for order from the end of the year, apart from most of its A-segment rivals and in fact also from its tamer sibling. The functional silver roof rails, rugged front and rear bumpers with integrated skid pads (the former also including fog light), front and rear wheelhouse moldings and unique 15-inch bi-color look alloy wheels blend in perfectly with typical Opel design cues such as the Opel blade that sweeps dynamically up towards the rear. Combined with the sloping roofline this creates a dynamic, sporty appearance that links the KARL ROCKS to the KARL while simultaneously giving it a distinct rugged look.
The car’s off-road character and outgoing personality are further emphasized by an 18-mm increase in ride height enabling better visibility in dense urban traffic or when admiring the view while cruising along country roads. The raised ride height also brings further advantages with it – KARL ROCKS can also venture off tarmacked roads and negotiate uneven surfaces better. Furthermore, the 18-mm increase facilitates ingress and egress.
The outdoor atmosphere created by the exterior design continues on the inside of the car with the unique “Favo” fabric upholstery for the seats. The design is reminiscent of honeycomb and exclusively available for the KARL ROCKS. Elsewhere, front door sill plates and the high gloss frame for the standard Radio R 300 or the optional Radio R 4.0 IntelliLink system, which brings the world of smartphones to the KARL ROCKS via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and enables navigation via Apple Maps or Google Maps, add to the new level of sophistication. Alternatively, Navi 4.0 IntelliLink offers an integrated navigation system. The connectivity offering of the KARL ROCKS is rounded off by the availability of Opel’s personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar, making it and its tamer sibling the best connected mini cars on the market.
However, KARL ROCKS has much more to offer than its enticing looks and stylish interior – it is also just a practical as the Opel KARL. Five doors guarantee easy access to the front and rear seats while the five seats ensure that even families can enjoy Opel’s stylish mini car with SUV flair. And when needed, the rear seats, with a standard 40/60 folding split, can be folded down completely giving the KARL ROCKS an impressive total trunk space of 1,013 liters up to the roof.
Furthermore, Opel’s wild child comes with all of the safety and comfort features available in the regular KARL. City mode reduces steering effort at the push of a button (from Enjoy), greatly facilitating maneuvering in heavy city traffic. Park Assist is also available and assists the driver during parking by issuing an acoustic warning as the car approaches obstacles when reversing. Cruise control with speed limiter regulates driving speeds, which is extremely helpful in complicated urban traffic and in residential areas with a 30 km/h speed limit.