Three cylinders, one litre of displacement and a small, yet spacious body plus an autogas system – mix those to and you're bound to end up getting a car that's as cheap to refuel as possible. Yes, you may argue that electric vehicles generate even smaller costs and you'd be right, but remember how expensive these still are. For example, in Germany you can get a petrol-powered Volkswagen up! for less than 10000 euros, while its EV counterpart, the e-up!, is priced at almost three times as much. Dedicated or factory-fitted autogas systems appear dirt cheap in comparison...
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Acceleration and braking benefit from every kg saved. Lightweight design is therefore strategically important at Opel. The current Opel Astra, which premiered in 2015, set new standards in this respect. The 2016 “European Car Of The Year” is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor. As a result, the agility and ride comfort of the Astra are significantly improved; throttle reaction is more responsive, the steering reacts more dynamically, the driving experience is more engaging. The weight reduction will have a similar effect on the new Corsa.
The Corsa Van is a car derived van based on the corresponding generation of the Corsa superminis. It first appeared in 1983, and was unchanged from the regular car, aside from the panelled rear windows (optional, glazed models were also available) and the missing rear seat. This was replaced by a flat metal loading floor. Payload of the original Corsa A is 405 kg (893 lb) and the entire range of engines was available at first.
Although GM's passenger vehicle line-up in South Africa consisted of Opel-based models by the late 1970s, these were sold under the Chevrolet brand name, with only the Kadett being marketed as an Opel when it was released in 1980. In 1982, the Chevrolet brand name was dropped, with the Ascona, Rekord, Commodore, and Senator being rebadged as Opels.
Not only was the body a bit bigger, but the Kadett B also had a slightly enlarged 1100 cc engine. This was externally a very compact motor indeed, and looked rather lost in the Kadett’s Kavernous engine bay. Power output increased correspondingly; there were 45 and 55 DIN hp (high compression) versions for Europe; the weaker on was sent stateside with a 54 (gross) hp rating.
World War II brought to Rüsselsheim the only year in the history of Opel – 1945 – in which it produced fewer vehicles since that first Lutzmann-authored Opel was made in 1899. Before the conflict broke out, the Adam Opel AG had established itself as the largest motor vehicle manufacturer in Europe. The combination of Opel know-how with GM resources had produced outstanding results. In spite of stifling red tape, the economic atmosphere in Germany in the 1930s had powerfully fertilised the growth of this and other auto companies, but in the case of Opel, at least, the expansion of this industrial machine clearly was not directed in any way toward military objectives.
The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.