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Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo in the test

Achim Hartmann
Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo tested
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L right now you don't have it that gas powered vehicles. Because while e-mobiles are being hailed as the cars of the future, so far only a few have been interested in down-to-earth natural gas vehicles. It can literally be worthwhile to look at CNG vehicles. Because natural gas, which is billed in kilograms, is tax-privileged until at least 2018 and therefore usually over 50 cents cheaper than a liter of super. In addition, it harmonizes perfectly with high-compression turbo direct injection and has long since not only had to be extracted or pressed from underground storage facilities. More and more farmers are using manure and slurry to make biomethane, which can be burned just as easily as natural gas for heating in your basement.

At Opel, the 150 hp Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG (base price: 28,350 euros ) one of the most popular gas burners. Bolted together in the halls of Special Vehicles GmbH at the Rüsselsheim main plant, Opel promises tested crash safety and grants the standard manufacturer's guarantee of two years.

25 kilograms of natural gas, injected at 200 bar, are stored in the underfloor-mounted tanks of the Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG made of lightweight carbon fiber composites. Check valves and solenoid valves ensure absolute tightness. Once started, the gas flows through high-pressure lines to an electronic regulator, which reduces the gas pressure to six to eight bar. The CNG is finally blown into the combustion chambers of the Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG via injectors.

The Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo is extremely weak

Now you would think of 150 hp and a torque of after all, 210 Nm should provide a lot of thrust. Happy too early. For the standard sprint to 100 km /h, the Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG needs over eleven seconds, and there is little noticeable pulling force. For the intermediate sprint from 80 to 120 km /h on the fourth wave, the Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG needs 13.7 seconds, in fifth gear it is six seconds more. For comparison: a 120 hp Tourer 1.4 Turbo was significantly faster in the test with 9.5 and 13.1 seconds. So if you really want to reach the top speed of 200 km /h on the autobahn, you have to keep your four-cylinder running close to the 5,000 mark. And woe betide there is an incline. Then the up to 2.35-ton Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG loses speed faster than you shifted down.

100 kilometers for 6.50 euros

At the next gas station at the latest, however, a big grin should appear. Because with a consumption of 4.5 to 5.9 kg /100 km and a kilo price of 1.10 euros, the Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG turbo van is slow to drive, but sensationally cheap despite high speeds. After all, you don't have to pay much more than 6.50 euros for 100 kilometers. If you take the calculator to hand, add the basic price (25,605 euros) and the NEDC consumption of a Zafira 1.4 Turbo (140 PS, 6.1 L /100 km), the natural gas Zafira pays off (standard consumption: 4.7 kg) /100 km) after just 12,000 kilometers.

Thanks to the large tanks of the Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo, the gas supply is enough for around 400 kilometers. If the CNG runs low, the tourer automatically switches to petrol mode and taps a 15-liter reserve tank. According to Opel, you can travel around 150 kilometers with the Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo. Is it true? We preferred not to try it out, but instead drove to a suitable petrol station in good time with the help of the knowledgeable Navi 900 Europa. The only disadvantage: Since those are so far more to the left and right of the autobahn, detours to the country can hardly be avoided.

The Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo offers plenty of space

thanks to the under the vehicle floor The Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo offers as much space as usual for gas tanks. The level load compartment holds 710 to 1,860 liters, even a third row of seats can be ordered. Only those who want more need it. For the Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo, neither the adaptive AFL + headlights nor the responsive Flex-Ride chassis or the bike rack integrated in the bumper can be ordered. The driving comfort itself does not suffer. The heavy van calmly catches every joint and wave and rushes through curves without great side inclination. Always great: the very comfortable and multi-adjustable ergonomic seats for the driver and front passenger. 685 euros, which is really worth it.

So it remains to be said: If you are looking for a car with a lot of space and low maintenance costs and have a natural gas filling station nearby, you will find this Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo a comfortable, environmentally friendly companion. Don't be in too much of a hurry.

Everything about natural gas

The low fuel price at CNG is tempting , but before you take a natural gas car, you should know a few things. We explain.

The higher the fuel prices climb, the more attractive the switch to alternative drive concepts appears. In addition to hybrid, electric and LPG models, natural gas vehicles are particularly popular. A kilogram of natural gas costs around 1.10 euros - temptingly cheap compared to diesel (around 1.40 euros) and super (around 1.60 euros). Only LPG costs around 80 cents per litereven less. But why is gas so much cheaper than gasoline and diesel?

It is mainly due to the tax breaks until 2018 that the prices are so low. The price difference between natural gas (CNG) and autogas (LPG) results, among other things, from the different energy content: One kilogram of natural gas contains around one and a half times as much energy as one liter of autogas. Another advantage: When burning CNG, fewer pollutants and carbon dioxide are produced.

Handikap petrol station network

However, there are There are also downsides, especially the supply network is a handicap for gas cars: Of the total of around 14,300 filling stations in Germany, around 6,200 have LPG, but natural gas is only available at around 920. This leads to an increased planning effort, especially for long distances. In addition, there are sometimes considerable gaps in the gas station network abroad. After all, navigation systems in the car or smartphone apps make the search easier.

Basically, however, when buying, you should consider that any detours to the gas pump can worsen the cost balance. On the other hand, whoever drives past a natural gas filling station every day is fine. But it is not only possible to save on fuel prices, as many local gas suppliers are promoting the purchase. According to the Erdgas-Mobil database (www.erdgas-mobil.de), 283 companies are currently supporting the purchase of a suitable car in their supply area.

However, the subsidies vary widely, ranging from 100 euros Fuel credit up to 1,250 euros for a car purchase or 2,000 kg of natural gas. In addition, there are temporary discounts on the fuel bill. Depending on the type of subsidy, buying a natural gas car pays for itself differently early.

Especially with models that have been converted from the factory, you usually hardly have to accept compromises in terms of space. The pressure tanks for the natural gas are mostly installed under the floor and are therefore no longer at the expense of the trunk volume.

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