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GM debuts next-gen diesel in Opel Zafira

Welcome wagon: Opel’s seven-seat Zafira Tourer gets first use of the 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine in Europe.

Opel’s frisky but frugal 1.6-litre diesel not on Australian agenda – yet

Opel logo14 Feb 2013


OPEL’S Australian customers will have to wait until at least next year for the first signs of the European company’s new clean but powerful 1.6-litre CDTi Ecotec diesel that has just been launched in the Zafira Tourer people-mover on its home market.

The Euro 6 engine, packing 100kW of power, 320Nm of torque and 4.1 litres per 100km fuel economy, is destined to replace all current, dated 1.7-litre Opel diesels in Europe, plus some of the more basic 2.0-litre diesels over the next year or two.

The engine is also likely to turn up in other products produced by Opel’s parent company, General Motors, meaning we might see the unit in Australian Holden cars at some point.

Opel Australia head of marketing and public relations Michelle Lang told GoAuto that the local branch had no plans for the engine in the foreseeable future.

“It is not in our current planning,” she said. “We have our hands full grappling with the current range.”

This appears to rule out the upcoming Opel Mokka compact SUV for the engine’s debut in Australia, at least at launch.

The Mokka – Opel’s version of the Chevrolet/Holden Trax – is most definitely in the company’s agenda with a launch planned in the second half of 2013.

 center imageThe Zafira Tourer – the second generation of Opel’s seven-seat family bus that was once sold under Holden badges in Australia – might be a chance for the diesel in Australia from 2014.

The only diesel currently offered by Opel in Australia is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as an alternative to petrol units in Astra and Insignia.

But with 121kW of power and 350Nm of torque in Astra and 118kW/350Nm in Insignia, that engine is unlikely to be superseded any time soon by the less powerful but more efficient 1.6-litre unit.

The new Opel engine was developed in Italy with help from GM engineers in Germany and the United States, and offers similar performance to many 2.0-litre diesels such as Volkswagen’s mainstream 103kW/320Nm Golf TDI.

It boasts 12kW more power and 20Nm more torque than Honda’s new Earth Dreams DTi 1.6-litre diesel that will debut Down Under in April on the Civic hatch.

However, the Honda unit pips the Opel engine on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in the smaller and more aerodynamic Civic, managing 4.0L/100km and 105 grams, compared with the Zafira’s 4.1L/100km and 109g/km.

Like other diesel engines that qualify for Europe’s strict Euro 6 emissions rules, Opel’s 1.6 CDTi uses urea injection in the exhaust to knock down the nasties.

Opel says the engine is not only a leading performer in its class but also one of the most refined.

In Europe, the engine will make the Zafira more attractive in some countries where tax breaks are offered for low-emissions vehicles.

The Zafira, which was launched at the Frankfurt motor show in 2011, last year fended off a long list of fancied contenders to win Germany’s Golden Steering Wheel award for the best car of 2012.

The vehicle is built on the same Delta II platform and the Astra and Holden Cruze, but will get all-new underpinnings from about 2016 under a joint venture between Opel and Peugeot Citroen PSA to develop a new small-car architecture.

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