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GM Refreshes Meriva Minivan, Downsizes Diesel

14 February 2006

Meriva_1
Opel Meriva

GM’s Opel has refreshed its best-selling Meriva minivan, replacing a 1.7-liter diesel with an award-winning entry-level 1.3-liter diesel engine, and offering a new, more fuel-efficient 1.6-liter gasoline engine for the line.

Since its debut in 2003, the five-seat Meriva has become the segment leader in Europe, selling more than 500,000 units with 180,000 of those in 2005.

For the new entry-level diesel, Opel chose the new 1.3 CDTI engine with common-rail injection, four-valve technology and swirl control. The engine produces 55kW (75hp) and 170 Nm of torque and replaces an older 1.7-liter diesel with the same power rating. The Meriva still offers a 1.7-liter diesel with a higher power rating.

The 1.3 CDTI, familiar from the Corsa, Tigra and Astra, was named Engine of the Year 2005 in the 1.0- to 1.4-liter displacement category. The smallest four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel in the world, it takes the Meriva to a top speed of 157 km/h (98 mph) and only requires an average of 5.0 liters fuel per 100 kilometers (47 mpg US).

The 1,248 cc, four-valve engine has a compression ratio of 17.6:1 and a 1,400-bar injection system that provides up to five injections per cycle for ultra-fine fuel atomization.

The 1.3-liter diesel features a maintenance-free Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) as standard. All Meriva models are Euro-4 compliant. The new 1.3 emits 135 g/km of CO2.

The second new engine in the Meriva range is the 1.6 TWINPORT ECOTEC, also used in the Astra and Zafira. With a power output of 77 kW/105 hp, it delivers five horsepower more than the previous 1.6-liter gasoline engine; but with average fuel consumption of 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers (35 mpg US), it is more than eight percent more economical than its predecessor. The Meriva 1.6 TWINPORT reaches a maximum speed of 181 km/h (112 mph).

The Opel minivan’s diesel engine range has been especially popular with French, Italian and Spanish Meriva drivers. In Spain, around 77% of buyers chose a diesel model, with 69% in France and 52% in Italy also opting for diesel.

Opel expects the new 1.3-liter CDTI engine will increase the number of diesel models sold in Germany and Great Britain, as well as in Western and Central Europe.

Opel Meriva
Engine Fuel Power
kW (hp)
Torque
Nm
Fuel cons.
l/100km
Fuel econ.
mpg US
Emissions CO2
g/km
1.4 Gasoline 66 (90) 125 6.4 37 Euro 4 154
1.6 Gasoline 77 (105) 150 6.7 35 Euro 4 161
1.8 Gasoline 92 (125) 165 7.9 30 Euro 4 190
1.6 Turbo Gasoline 132 (180) 230 7.8 30 Euro 4 187
1.3 CDTI Diesel 55 (75) 170 5.0 47 Euro 4 135
1.7 CDTI Diesel 74 (100) 240 5.2 45 Euro 4 140

February 14, 2006 in Diesel, Europe, Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Does anyone know whether these mpg estimates are more accurate than EPA estimates?

When can I buy one in the US?

I have been looking for something in this size range here in San Francisco but there is nothing except the Mazda M5. Opel and VW have smaller minivans in Europe but local dealerships say they have no plans to bring them here.

Now if only Toyota could put the 75hp 1.3l diesel in a Prius. 75mpg???

A Prius-like hybrid is the only way to have an engine of that size and power output accepted here in the US. I drove a diesel Zafira (the Meriva's larger stablemate) equipped with a ~2 liter engine last time I was in Spain. It was a solid ride, but the acceleration was very pokey, notwithstanding all the torque diesels put out.

Stateside, a minivan with a 1.3 liter engine would never attract enough consumer interest, and would probably even be a little dangerous to drive -- imagine trying to merge smoothly into highway traffic without an extra reserve of power, when everyone else has acceleration to burn. Here in New England, where the on-ramps tend to be notoriously short, the problem would likely be acute. In Europe, where nearly everyone has a small engine, traffic behaves a bit differently to accomodate.

A hybrid system, though, provides enough kick from the electric elements to overcome that problem, which is probably why they have become so popular here before making much of a dent in Europe. Over there, motorists can already get Prius-like efficiency by buying small, cheap but relatively slow engines. Here, we need to have our cake and eat it too, and the only way to acheive both good economy and performance is by spending extra on electric batteries, motors, and such like.

I dunno... with a euro diesel take rate over 60%, I'd bet there's 20% here...bring it! NBK...you sure that thing had a turbo and a 5spd...my 2.2TiD has merged successfully all over US and CAN while getting 32mpg min
(many cold-starts, short trips) to 43(complete highway tanks at min70mph)..Get that ULSD/bioD out ASAP.

On the one I drove, I don't know about the turbo. IT definitely did not have a manual five speed; I think it had an automatic four speed transmission -- it was a rental.

All the same, your 2.2 TDi is a rather different animal than than the 1.3 TDi in the article. You got performance good enough to keep you happy on American roads, but a Corolla-like 32 MPG instead of a Prius-like 47. Your van might have been bigger or heavier than the Meriva.

But I agree with your fundamental point: Next generation small diesels (2+ liter size, though, instead of 1.3) in minivans would probably sell respectably if anyone bothered to offer them. If they can increase economy by something like 40%-50%, then they would make some sense even here in Boston, where diesel fuel has been selling for about 25%-30% more than gasoline for quite some time now -- an inversion of the usual state of affairs, I admit.

European tax policy, which often makes gas cost 50%-100% more than diesel, is the key reason that diesel is so popular over there -- it is incredibly cost effective in that environment. Here, I could imagine a respectable but non-overwhelming response, due to the much smaller cost savings. Absent a radical change in tax policy (and with the current White House occupant, the only changes in tax policy that get anywhere are the harmful ones), I don't see that incentive structure shifting much.

@ Boston,

Not sure which Europe you've been driving in but diesel is not normally anything like that much cheaper than petrol. Here in the UK, diesel is more expensive than petrol yet 40% of the market has diesel cars.

>In Europe, where nearly everyone has a small engine, traffic behaves a bit differently to accomodate.

You've never driven in Germany then? Be careful of gross simplifications.

Zafira weighs nearly 300kg more than a Meriva so you should be careful about your comparison there too. A Meriva is a significantly smaller car than a Zafira.

NBK...sorry should've been more specific. In 03 I picked up a Saab 93 22TiD in Sveden. Now obselete succeeded by a 19(more power,better emissions and mileage) Point being-these "puny" TDs are clean, quiet, fast(easily hanging at 100mph...thats 3Krpm, redline 4.5)and get 5-600mptank. That rocks. In 03 in Berlin BioD was .75e/l,petroD .85, and regunL was 1. Whoa on this crazy E85 train. Get ULSD/bioD out ASAP. PS check dzlsabe.com.

diesel in the UK is about 2-5 pence more expensive at the pump than petrol. If i drove a petrol van i'd be bankrupt.

I drove the Zafira (which I acknowledged was a larger vehicle) in Spain, and have driven other cars in Benelux, Italy, Greece as well as the middle east. Never been to Germany, so Ruaraidh is correct on that point. I've heard the autobahn stories.

Tax policy varies from country to country, so I imagine that in some places the fuel costs are roughly equal between gas and diesel (+/- 5 c or p a liter) while in others diesel is cheaper (especially so in Eastern Europe, if I recall my time in Romania, Moldova & Hungary correctly). With diesel's better economy, that saves money. Newer clean diesel requirments might have pushed up the cost of petrodiesel in recent years, but I don't ever recall seeing in Europe the sort of inverted premium I'm now seeing in Boston, where diesel costs substantially (25%+) more. That kind of premium kills the cost savings here.

A 1.9 TDi is still hardly a 1.3, especially when put in a car body instead of a van. If the numbers come out the right way, though, I still think diesels could get some good sales, but without significant changes in US policy, I'm not sure how much share it will take.

Just a few comments for NBK's first post.

There are some on-ramps in northern Britain that are shorter than some driveways stateside. Your suggestion that it would be dangerous to have a 75hp 170NM (wow really?) car in US is ludicrous given that I've never had trouble merging using vehicles with less hp than that (namely a 67hp 1.0vvti Yaris).

And yes everyone does do the legal limit 70mph in the slow lane and traffic can be crazy when you only have 2 or 3 lane motorways.

I do however agree with your comment that a 1.3l would never attract attension in the US after all most car ads start out advertising a V6 or V8. That's not a stab at US folk, it's just from history.

It will be a long time before most people (not all) will understand that a 1.3d today would outpull a 2.5l van from the big 3 just 10 years ago.

I have a Mercedes E320-CDI weighing 3850 lbs. I get 40.5 MPG on the road and between 25 and 28 MPG in the city. The torque is so high, i am usually first on a light change.

Here in Portugal, diesel is around 20% cheaper than gas (about -0,20 Eur/liter). I think that our spanish neighbours have a similar diference (but less expensive diese/gas because of lower taxes). That´s a huge diference. For someone who makes + 30.000 km a year it largely compensates buying a diesel engine car.
I have bought a 1.3 Meriva. It will arrive in a week. I don´t care about 0-100 km/h time lapse beeing high, or having less power (the car weights 1300 Kg). I care about the diesel consumption (combined 5 liter/100 Km), economy and the interior space for the price (around 19.000 Eur). In my opinion there are not many similar options in the market

I drive a 1.8L 2007 Meriva in Mexico; It drives well and fuel consumption is at about 8.5l/100km with 92 octane fuel, a little bit over the 7.8 that are expected.

It has alot of space for the size and is a good all-around family car; however, I would have loved the 1.7CDTI version here in Mexico; too bad only VW sells diesel cars in Mexico.

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