November US Sales Down 6.7%; Full-Size SUVs Drop 34.6%
Metal-Organic Frameworks for Hydrogen Storage...and CO2 Capture

Opel (GM) Introduces New Entry-Level 47MPG Diesel Compact Minivan

The new Meriva.

GM used the Bologna Motor Show as a venue to introduce the new generation of its successful Opel Meriva compact minivan, which has sold more than 500,000 units since its introduction in May 2003.

The refreshed minivan line now includes a new entry-level model with the 1.3-liter CDTI (Common rail Diesel Turbo Injection) ECOTEC diesel engine co-developed by GM Powertrain and Fiat.

The 1.3-liter CDTI—winner of an International Engine of the Year 2005 award—delivers 56 kW (75 hp) of power and 170 Nm of torque with fuel consumption in a combined European cycle of 5.0 liters/100 km (47 mpg US).

The 1.3-liter Meriva has a top speed of 156 km/h (97 mph) and accelerates from 0–100 km/h in 17.8 seconds. The vehicle meets Euro 4 emissions requirements and has a diesel particulate filter as standard. Carbon dioxide emissions are 135 g/kilometer.

This version of the 1.3-liter ECOTEC is also used in the Agila, Corsa and Tigra. Opel uses a higher-power version (66 kW / 88 hp) of the 1.3-liter ECOTEC in the Astra.

The higher-power version uses a new variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbocharger from Borgwarner Turbo Systems. The Type BV35 turbocharger system raises torque from 170 to 200 Nm, with maximum torque already available from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm.

In addition to the new diesel Meriva, Opel also announced a new 1.6-liter gasoline engine version. A higher-performance Meriva OPC with a 134 kW (180 hp), 1.6-liter gasoline engine will also be available from February 2006.



Thank you GM for another fuel efficient product we'll never see in the US. Good luck with those full size SUVs.

Richard Burton

So are these fuel efficient and clean running diesels going to be legal here in Calif once we get low sulfur fuel in 2006? Ironicly, both Ford and GM have some really nice small cars in Europe that are diesel powered that might sell well here if they smog...


The problem as always is cost to produce and potential buyers. The fact is even with recent cuts uaw workers are simply too spendy to put to work producing small cars with low margins. Add to that the fact most americans who cn fit into such cars buy forien..


Again, note the anemic acceleration you get as a tradeoff for 47mpg. 17.8 seconds to ~62MPH is arguably unsafe on American roads.


"Again, note the anemic acceleration you get as a tradeoff for 47mpg. 17.8 seconds to ~62MPH is arguably unsafe on American roads."
Obviously you have never driven a mid 90s ford escort.


If it can make it on the autobahn, it can make it anywhere. Can't be any more anemic than my '63 VW.

Cameron Dell

At less than half a % of total cars sold in the US there doesn't seem to be much apatite for them. And the whole California thing on how they rate emissions hasn't helped. It's even had an effect on the distribution of diesels in Canada. Most manufactures have written North America off.


At a recent conference in which Peter Lord, Executive Director, GM Service Operations, was the Keynote speaker, he cited refining issues here is the states as the major issue holding back GM from introducing some of their high efficiency and low polluting diesels, becomming ever popular in Europe, from being introduced here.


The problem is not solely cost. The problem steems from government guidelines. Both Ford and GM hav stated that they cannot produce diesels that meet the EPA Tier 2 BIN 5 emissions standards due in 2009. ULSD won't be available until mid 2006. The EPA/Ford clean diesel project could not even meet these guidelines (Previous listing). The EPA is dead set against selective catalytic reduction (SCR) using urea injection to reduce NOx emissions (Boogus reason is that consumers will circumvent and not refill urea). Upcoming European guidelines (EURO 5 and beyond) may lead to many European manufacturers not producing small diesels, as well (Previous listing). It is unfortunate, that a compromise position between fuel efficiency and emmission can be reached. It is going to be a long time before CO2 neutral hydrogen production becomes viable.
Diesels, and particularly diesel hybrids, offer one of the best altenatives to help ween us away from petroleum. Diesel engines can run on a variety of fuels sources (petrodiesel, biodiesel, SVO, etc) unlike internal combustion engines(ICE). Rudolf Diesels engine ran on peanut oil.
As for performance, I would like to see a 1.3 petrol ICE acheive the same torque as its diesel equivalent. There are plenty of responsive diesels available for the market. Anemic acceleration is not necessarily a feature of diesels.


"I would like to see a 1.3 petrol ICE acheive the same torque as its diesel equivalent. "
You can't just through chalanges like that out there without having someone proving you wrong.
VW Golf GT with the 1.4 litre twincharge gasoline engine.
170hp at 6000rpm, 240nm (177lb/ft) from 1750-4500rpm. 39mpg conbined in the the much heavier Golf. Face, small diesels are the engines of the past. They simply can't compete with modern forced induction, direct injection gasoline engines. Soon we'll have compression ignition gasoline engines that will kill the diesel once and for all.

Alonso Perez

I live in Argentina where both the Meriva and its larger brother the Zafira are sold. I had to drive three Americans around plus me (also American, but I live here so I'm used to small cars), and a whole bunch of professional video equipment. We rented a Zafira (2.0 liter engine, gas), and all three of the visitors liked it so much they couldn't figure out why it wasn't available in the US, instead of the "shitty" cars they said GM sold there.

I was at a loss to explain it myself. The minivan was well-equiped, very flexible, and nice looking. Though no racer, it definitely had enough power. It probably gets around 30 MPG. Very respectable for a vehicle with that kind of capacity (it even has a third row of seats for short trips with children).

I figure that because it is German-engineered (the ones we get down here are actually built in Brazil), GM politics doesn't allow it to cross into the US.

I think the Zafira is large enough, without being a large car, and powerful enough for Americans and American driving conditions. Yet neither it nor anything like it sold by GM in the US, and they keep losing market share. This makes no sense, except to prove their management truly stinks. If Moore was right about one thing in his whole life, it's certainly that.

The Meriva, while nice and suprisingly roomy, might be borderline for the US right now. I kind of have a rule where you should have a certain mass to be minimally safe. While the Zafira weighs 3,000 pounts, the Meriva comes in at around 2,400. It's nice, don't get me wrong. And I'd feel reasonably safe in it, in Europe or here, where the probability of being hit by a Hummer or Expedition is basically zero, and an Explorer is as massive as things usually get (and far less common). But in the US the average vehicle weight is much higher, and if you care about self-preservation this has to be factored in, CO2 or no CO2.

John W.

Almost 18 seconds to accelerate to 100 km/h is almost abysmal, true, but this vehicle is a PRIME! candidate for an aftermarket bolt-on hybrid kit, such as the electrocharger (whenever they get it together) or Bosch's new hybrid systems coming out in a year or two.

With such a bolt-on hybrid kit this thing would get even better fuel mileage and MUCH better acceleration. It's already almost 50 miles/gallon as a van, which is no small feat. What would it be with a hybrid kit? 60 mpg? 70? I would pay 3 grand for a kit like that! It would be very efficient then, and have a descent punch at takeoff, and this before other small mods you could make yourself to improve efficiency even further.

There you have it: our much sought after efficient diesel hybrid! Now why can't we get a small diesel Honda van?

David M

"VW Golf GT with the 1.4 litre twincharge gasoline engine. 170hp at 6000rpm, 240nm (177lb/ft) from 1750-4500rpm. 39mpg conbined in the the much heavier Golf."

Justin, can you please provide a link (from a VW site) to the specs for this engine? The 2.0L GTI engine produces 280Nm so I have a hard time believing there's a 1.4L engine that produces 240Nm.

On the other hand, the 2.0L Golf diesel puts out 320Nm from 1750rpm, accelerates to 100kmh in 9.3secs, and sips just 5.7L/100km (combined).

Gabriel Lopez

the american consumer lack sufficient education to evaluate the artificially created energy crisis therefore he is a victim of his/her own ignorence

isotonix opc-3

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