Opel's entry-level model was launched at the end of 2014. The Karl may be Opel's smallest car, but it doesn't have to hide behind its big brothers' backs. The price is very attractive: the basic version costs 9,500 Euros in Germany. And even this version has the standard infotainment system.
We tested the 1-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine version, which produces 55 kilowatts and can take the car up to 170 kilometers per hour. Average fuel consumption is under 5 liters per 100 kilometers.
All of the Karl's components have been designed to minimize vibration and sound. That starts with the low-resonance engine block and continues with the split oil pan, the exhaust manifold, which is integrated in the cylinder head, and additional acoustic insulation on the cam covers.
The seats in the top equipment version, "Innovation", are made of a combination of fabric and imitation leather.
Starting with the middle variant "Edition", the Karl has a City driving mode. Press a button, and maneuvering in city traffic gets a lot simpler. The technology previously featured in Opel's Adam and Corsa models.
The Karl has nice handling, too, partly thanks to the cleverly designed McPherson struts on the front axle. The springs are specially shaped to partially compensate lateral forces. This engages the shock absorbers more smoothly and also with less wear, so they have a longer operational life.
The Karl's styling also shows that Opel is trying to shed its dowdy image.