Boy­cott bowsers

GM’s Euro­pean brand is Aus­trali­abound, hope­fully with a frugal fleet

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - KARLA PIN­COTT­cott@cars­

AUS­TRALIAN driv­ers could save thou­sands at the bowser if the com­ing ar­rival of Opel brings the low-con­sump­tion ve­hi­cles on its stand at Miche­lin Chal­lenge Biben­dum in Ber­lin.

Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke reck­ons the cars could be con­sid­ered for ex­port here.

‘‘ We are look­ing at ev­ery­thing we can bring,’’ Stracke told Cars­guide at the event. We have al­ready some in mind, and it is [too] early to de­tail this.

But we are con­fi­dent to in­tro­duce more of our tech­nol­ogy in the fu­ture.

The­o­ret­i­cally we can do so be­cause we have right-hand­drive ar­chi­tec­ture.’’

That means we could see the stop-start diesel As­tra, lowe­mis­sion diesel In­signia and LPG Corsa. of 59kW/114Nm 1.2-litre and 66kW/126Nm 1.4-litre en­gines.

The 1.2-litre avail­able for short tests in Ber­lin drops its out­puts to 55kW/110Nm when it switches to LPG but this has only the slight­est im­pact on ac­cel­er­a­tion: the 0-100km/h time is ex­tended by 0.2 sec­onds to 14.1 sec­onds and is hardly likely to be no­ticed given the al­ready laid-back ef­fort you get by us­ing petrol.

The tall-geared five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion is un­pleas­ant to use but its job is mainly to help shave fuel con­sump­tion.

The petrol tank gives a range of 818km with econ­omy of 5.5L/100km and 129g/km CO emis­sions, while the LPG gives an ex­tra 494km at 6.8L and 110g/km re­spec­tively. A big hur­dle for us on this lit­tle Corsa is that its spare-wheel-sized gas tank is leaves a flat cargo area floor but no room for a spare wheel.

The Corsa is not as strong a drive as the lo­cal Barina, which is no per­for­mance hero it­self, and its fuel fig­ure 6.9L/100km may not be sig­nif­i­cant in steer­ing peo­ple to the new­comer.

They’re a gas: Opel’s 2011 range of ecoFlex ve­hi­cles

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