Chevrolet’s Optra Magnum diesel

a more serious Chevrolet..

General Motors may have lost the top spot to Toyota in North America but in India it is growing exponentially and it is far better than its international peers. When Honda and Toyota is drawing plans for India, already Chevrolet has become a serious player in India. While Chevrolet’s Spark and Aveo – UVA is to take on Maruti and Hyundai, Chevrolet’s upcoming products – the ‘captiva’ SUV will take on Honda CR-V and the ‘epica’ sedan will take on the Honda accord and Toyota Camry.. Now General Motors has decided to grip its stands in all segments. General Motors has launched the diesel optra to strengthen its grip in the D segment. The optra magnum is offered in three variants i.e. max, LS and LT variant (LT is the higher variant).

Engine and Powertrain:

Long awaited diesel mill finally finds a place in the optra’s hood. The 2.0L, 16V TCDi engine (Turbo Charged Common Rail Direct Injection) which pumps out 120.5PS at 3000rpm and maximum torque of 314Nm at 2125rpm. Both these figures are greater than its competitors Skoda Octavia and Hyundai Elantra. General Motor claims the optra magnum can reach a maximum speed of 190kph and Chevrolet’s dealer claim optra magnum will deliver 14kpl. The engine struggles little bit in the bottom end, noisy in the top end but the mid range could be the optra magnum’s biggest USP. 5 speed manual transmission is only offered for the new Chevrolet’s optra magnum. Unlike the petrol optra, the gears are sharp and the gear shift is smooth.

Design and Engineering:

What’s new?

  • SR-V like front end for the new optra magnum
  • New optra magnum features large front grille and wraparound headlamps also the huge bumpers incorporates the airdam and fog lamps
  • Other changes in the new optra diesel includes new doors and mirror mounted indicators
  • new three-tone dashboard looks along with light colours and faux wood makes the optra magnum far more upmarket
  • Ride is more comfortable in the optra magnum than the petrol optra as the suspension is fine tuned for the optra magnum.
  • Reduced ground clearance and increased length when compared to petrol optra

For the new Optra Magnum though the GM has retained the width and the height, length is increased by 25mm. The diesel optra’s ground clearance is 165mm compared to its petrol sibling which has 173mm. Optra Magnum features Disc brake on all wheels and for the higher end variant of Magnum GM offers alloy wheels. Suspension for the optra magnum is through Mcpherson strut with anti roll bar and twin tube gas filled shock absorber in both front and the rear. With the fine tuned suspension the diesel optra magnum scores over the skoda Octavia in ride but in handling Octavia still leads Hyundai Elantra and the new optra magnum. GM calls the safety system for the new optra magnum as X-PRO system. ABS and Dual airbags are only for the optra magnum higher end LT variant. Impact proof bumpers and rear integrated fog lamps are additional safety features.


The optra petrol version despite being priced lower than the competition by over half-a-lakh was left behind, mainly due to GM’s reputation of poor after sales service. Much worse is the case for the spark. Though the segment leader is also worse in after sales service (both Chevrolet and Skoda ranked 8th and 9th in JD power Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)). GM has to learn lessons from Fiat – even the excellent products can fail if the service is bad and it is difficult to change the image once it gets the bad reputation. The real test for General Motors India is in not bringing good products but lies in developing good service network. Over a period Skoda has built a strong image as a diesel maker among Indian customers. To make strides in this segment, GM has to break this mould and optra magnum is certainly a good beginning to break the mould.

The ex-showroom Bangalore price of the optra magnum will vary between Rs 8.77 lakh and 9.02 lakh. Optra Magnum is thus cheaper and a more attractive offer. Optra Magnum is available in seven attractive colours – icy blue, intense black, Casablanca white, sparkling diamond, blazing red, cashmere and platinum metallic.

General Motors India ambitious plan:

General Motors plans to launch another small car in India soon. GM which is eyeing 10% market share by 2009 has already slot in the India’s top 5 car sellers with mass segments cars like aveo-UVA and Chevrolet spark. GM aims to become a top 3 player in India. General Motors 2nd small car will be produced in its India’s second plant at Talegaon which will be commissioned by the middle of 2008. Chevrolet 2nd small car is expected by the end of 2008. Chevrolet will also launch petrol versions of the Magnum with 1.6 and 1.8 litre power trains would follow next year, while the much expected captiva SUV would be launched by the end of the 2007.

20 thoughts on “Chevrolet’s Optra Magnum diesel”

  1. General Motors India is eyeing 15-20% share of the domestic small car market by 2010.. The annual market size of the small car segment in India stands at about 7-8 lakh cars and is growing at a pace of 15-18%. The segment accounts for 70% share in the domestic automotive sector. General Motors is targeting sales of 28,000- 30,000 units of its small car offerings – Chevrolet Spark and Chevrolet Aveo U-VA – by the end of this calendar year. General Motors also plans to increase the strength of its service centres to 140-150 from 110 at present.

  2. Honda’s two new small cars for India:

    Following the General Motors, Honda wishes to be serious player i.e. Honda will roll out two new small cars in India soon. It is almost certain that the new 2008-year model of the Jazz, a premium hatchback will make it to the Indian market. The Jazz is based on the same platform as the Honda CityZX. At 3,830mm, the Jazz will meet the 4-metre overall length parameter that the Government has set for being eligible for the lower 16 per cent excise duty rate. Honda’s Indian Jazz or the Fit will feature a 1.2-litre engine to make it eligible for lower excise rate. Honda could use a smaller sized version of its i-DSI engine for meeting the norms. In the next two to three years, Honda Siel Cars India will have at least two small cars in its portfolio. Other than the premium hatch Jazz, the additional, India-specific small car will be in the B-segment, in the Rs 3 lakh-plus price category.

    Click here to view the 2008 Honda Jazz photo

    Maruti has five hatchbacks in its portfolio and has announced that it would be adding another one in the next financial year. Hyundai, which currently has two models, is expected to bring in another one by the end of this year. Small cars constitute over 50% of the passenger car industry in India. Over 7.5 lakh compact cars were sold during the year 2006-07, when total sales clocked around 1.2 million. The growth in the compact car segment at 31% during 2006-07 beat the industry growth of 20%.

  3. GM’s new strategy:

    In 2007 Newyork auto show General Motors showcased three new small cars and followed a different strategy before going for production. In this highly competitive environment, It has become very difficult to understand the need of the buying public, so Chevy decided to hedge its bets and build three mini car concepts, the Beat, Groove and Trax, and is leaving it up to us to decide which one we like best. The public can vote for which concept is most appealing by visiting

    The Indian relavance:

    Ok let’s see how a car showcased in Newyork auto show going to influence indian customers. Of the three cars, The Chevrolet Beat concept – running prototype of a micro import tuner was built in India. This ‘beat’ may be used by GM and Chevrolet for their 2nd small car in India. Codenamed the M300 a successor to the M100 Matiz and M200 Spark, the all-new M300 is a clean sheet design that will sit bang in the middle of GM’s triad of small cars sold in India. More expensive than the Spark but cheaper than the U-VA, the car will be the first to be produced at GM’s all-new plant in Talegaon, near Pune.

    GM has big plans for the Beat and its derivatives in India. Designed to be small and efficient but not boring and staid, the car is meant to deliver a custom feel to the owner. The look is tagged ‘micro import tuner’, after the modified small hatchbacks that are so popular in the US at the moment. Styled at GM’s Incheon design centre in South Korea, the company’s specialists in small car design, the look is radical for a small car.

    The bold styling leaps out at you as if straight from a video game. The cowl of this semi mono-volume design is massive by any standards. Its imposing presence dominates the look of the car and the grille sits high in the nose. The car has a wedge-shaped profile and the details are sharp and edgy. A deep front air dam with a two-piece grille and honeycomb mesh screams aggression. In fact, the cowl-to-windscreen ratio is so high that it is reminiscent of a Japanese Bullet train. Sharply defined wheel arches front and rear, elongated headlamp clusters and a rear similar to the new Mercedes A-Class or Peugeot 1007 make this a thoroughly modern design. The double-barrel tail-lights are interesting as well. Of course, while the show car is a two-door prototype, the production car will have four doors.

    The interiors are just as radical, almost Star Trek-like in the ambience they create. The central console is back-lit, the instrument panel sits in an ovoid pod and there are digital controls on the steering wheel. The dashboard is twin-layered and there is mood lighting for the insides as well.

    The open backed seats are also very interesting. They provide good ventilation for the occupants and look cool at the same time. The modern look is further enhanced by the matt carbon black fabric used. The pop-up juke box, six- speaker system with a trunk-mounted sub-woofer are also sure to make the Beat a fun place to be in.

    The prototype is finished in a bold shade called Vertigo Green and features chunky 17-inch wheels and low-profile tyres. Displayed at the recent New York Auto Show, the Beat prototype will help GM finalise the design according to the feedback it receives from showgoers. The wheels and LED lights might not make it into final production, nevertheless the Beat represents the future of small car design. Bold, unapologetic and in your face. With more attitude than your everyday sports car. Now, ain’t that something. When it is put into production at GM’s Talegaon facility, the Beat will be powered by a 1.2-litre motor. GM has showcased a turbo-charged version of the motor, and this could be sold in addition to a normally-aspirated version as well. It certainly will make for an interesting option.

    With an overall length less than four metres and an engine which is less than 1200cc, the Beat will qualify for excise cuts in India which should ensure an aggressive price. Added to this is the fact that GM’s state-of-the-art plant in Talegaon will also be the global production base, meaning heavy localisation of parts and generous economies of scale. GM might really have something here. Click here to view Chevrolet beat photos

    source: autocar and General Motors

  4. automatic transmission for sonata: Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) on Wednesday launched a new automatic variant of its diesel powered luxury sedan Sonata Embera CRDi, priced at Rs 15,71,656 (ex-showroom Delhi). The new Sonata Embera CRDi automatic has 4-Speed H-Matic transmission which offers two modes — traditional fully automatic or a shift that provides the driver with finger-tip gear selection. Hyundai had launched a diesel variant of Sonanta Embera with manual transmission earlier this year. With the launch of the new variant, Sonata Embera will now be available in four variants, including both petrol and diesel.

  5. new diesel engine for next generation spark and wagonR: GM’s korean subsidiary GMDAT is developing a compact 1litre, 3 cylinder common rail diesel engine, this engine is the smae 1.3L Swift diesel engine but with one cylinder less. It is important to recall that Fiat, Opel and Suzuki co developed the Swift’s DDiS engine. The new common rail engine will displace 936cc and it is expected to produce 57bhp (25% less than the swift’s four cylinder engine) and this engine will be capable of meeting the Euro V norms. Now coming to the indian scenario, this engine is expected to power the chevrolet’s beat (General Motor next small car for india)in addition to a 1.2L petrol engine. Chevrolet beat is expected to be positioned between spark and aveo-UVA. GM is building a new engine plant in talegaon and this plant will be the global production base for not only the beat but also for this new diesel engine. This new diesel engine may be sourced by suzuki to power next generation wagonR. source: autocar

  6. It’s automatic transmission for optra magnum: General Motors is planning to introduce an automatic version of the chevrolet optra magnum. Chevrolet optra magnum may get a five speed auto box to take on Skoda octavia automatic source:autocar india

  7. Dear. I am planning for Optra Magnum, How good is this engine other than the technical advantages, eg. relaibility of the Engine and comfort in long run. The skoda guys were telling its actually from Korea and Daweoo base, hence can not be relaible enough like skoda etc. Please advice as i shifted to Optra Magnum from Hyndai verna and i drive about 50-100KmL. every day and will be moving 600Km. weekly once to chennai from bangalore.

  8. Dear Sir Karthi, I want to have a chat with you regarding Optra Magnum Diesel. Hopefully, you’ll help me make mind for this car or some other in similar range.

  9. When i heard about Optra Magnum from my colleagues, immediately i took two test drive on the otherday. One in Mission road(You know, How pathetic is the traffic in this road) and then in outer ring road(Marathalli to Sarjapur road). The power is just awesome. In no time it touched 120 Kmph. It’s a rocket. I was totally thrilled. Folks, if you want to feel a powerful engine -> It’s worth spending time for a test drive. :-) City drive is very impressive too. I drove in Mission road for half an hour and it’s not sluggish at all. Very Impressive. I have compared this with Elantra, Verna CRDI. On paper, Verna CRDI sounds good, but it’s too sluggist on city(bumper to bumper) drive conditions. LT Magnum Interior looks and feels very rich with it’s leather upholstry and some other nice to have goodies. From power, city drive, highway drive, interior, milage perspective, it’s a complete package. You will not feel, you have missed anything. Of course Magnum is compared with Skoda, however i did not want to stretch my budget to even think for a test drive of Skoda as it’s too expensive and the July Autocar verdict quoted “Magnum is a better vehicle than Skoda on most aspects”. Some of my friends, who owns Skoda are very satisified on the vehicle, but they are absolutely pissed off from service point of view, it’s ground clearance as well.

  10. Karthi, Do you have any information with respect to when the Automatic Optra Magnum is supposed to come out? It would be great if you could throw some light on the timelines (if possible). Further, it would also be great if anyone can advise whether the Auto variant (whenever it comes out) would also have the much needed sun/moon roof (like its petrol cousin) as well as Auto Climate Control! regards Toast

  11. I agree that vehical is excellent(i am having Magnum 2.0 LT).But service and spares are not available. IT took 20 days to provide front light.On New varient tech staff is not trained. Before consideing car any model. please look out for service in your area.Without service car is not worth.

  12. My optra diesel had done just under 2500 Kms and today i found that there is a prominent thud while putting the car in the third gear. I had it looked by Apex auto in Gurgaon and they told me that they have to open the gear box. Since i purchased it from Regent Automobiles, I preferred sending it to their workshop. I hope the problem is minor and the gear box does’nt need to be opened, as I am still waiting for the mechanics to have a detailed look while I am typing this. I had also faced a minor problem earlier, where the car became a bit sluggish and had lost its aggressive pick up and torque. When sent to the work shop, these people tried telling me that it may be because of the bad quality of diesel. However, I firmly believe, that a company like GM would have done their research on the quality of the fuel available in India before launching the car. That problem was however finally resolved, as those guys (on me pestering them) did a thorough checkup and what I was told was that they had cleaned up the air filter. I believe them. I dont know yet about the bigger problem I am facing now. Hope it is a minor thing or else I dont know what I am to do?? Do any of you guys know if they can actually replace the car for me if I am not too keen on having this one if the gearbox has to be opened?? OR do I need to head to the consumer court for that??

  13. hey guys, am planning to buy a diesel car right now…… and my budget was initially around 8-9 lacs……. however after reading about optra magnum, i wouldnt mind spending another lac for this car……. i was initially planning to go for ford fiesta…….. can anyone pls advice me whether this car is really worth the money spent than that in fiesta????? also i would like to have an idea about the mileage it offers in city condition with AC…….. am in chennai and i guess u know the traffic intensity prevailing here……… i would highly appreciate if someone could pin point the advantages properly……..

  14. Hi, I need feedback on the Optra Magnum Petrol. I dont moind the lower power, but need to know if the petrol engine is good and that there are no known technical snags. Thanks. Rahul

  15. I test drove the Magnum Diesel LT during Jan’ first week and here is what I think.. Overall Nice large car, the two tone interiors lend it an air of sophistication. The leather upholstery and overall cabin experience is nice, actually very nice. The interior is quiet when the engine is running and the aircon is on. Missed climate control, the aircon is manual, sad for this level of equipment in the top most variant. The steering wheel felt a bit tacky and out of place given the relatively better finish inside the car. Dashboard, gear shift lever fell easy to the hand and seemed to be placed right. The handbrake is closer to the front passenger – GM saving design & manufacturing dollars by retaining the placement from left hand drive. Operating the handbrake will cause the driver’s hands to make contact with the passenger’s thigh – something that you may not want to happen if your car is driven by a driver and you have a woman in the passenger seat :-) I drove the car during evening rush hour in Bangalore. The car’s proportions felt comfortable for driving in Bangalore traffic – did not feel very large or difficult to maneuver in traffic. Visibility from the driver’s seat and position is adequate, the seat height adjustment makes it easier to raise the seat in case you want a more commanding view of the road. Having driven the car in the evening gave me an opportunity to test the lights. The lights are simply inadequate, the beams don’t focus well and you have to switch to high beam to get some level of visibility. The angle of the lights are adjustable from the driver’s seat and no amount of fiddling with the controls gave me a useable beam. Perhaps changing the light bulb would suffice, am not too sure, the focus is pretty bad. I would have serious reservations on hitting a highway at night if am relying on the OE bulbs. The indicator stalk is on the left and the wiper on the right, just like the hand brake and reminds you of GM saving reengineering dollars. The wiper on the test car was bad, it left streaks and did not do a good job of cleaning Bangalore grime from the windscreen. The Alpine music system is adequate, but no iPod or USB or even an Aux in on the front panel. The speakers need to be replaced to hear the good double din music system. The cassette player option on this high end Alpine player is a waste of good money, I would have preferred a DVD capable head unit with provision for an external screen. A sun/moon roof is sorely missed too. There is an adequate amount of storage space, though you would want to have a broader center console in the front. Performance The car performs very well, it’s power is manageable in traffic and did not seem sluggish. On the Ring Road, it pulled effortlessly and when the RPMs hit 2300, it just started surging and kept on going. 100kmph comes within the first 10 seconds and then it just keeps on revving and pulling forward with a vengeance. When it came to stopping, the brakes worked predictably and progressively. The disks at the back along with ABS do their job well. The gear box on the test car was notchy and did not have the level of slickness that could be expected from a car at this price point. The engine performed very well, though one wonders how GM missed out a VGT Turbo on this car. Steering Steering is a bit vague, while the car steers well, feedback is vague and is simply just not there. Precision driving and handling is not a forte of this car. Space Large seats, both front and back, very roomy cabin. Rear seat passengers can be comfortable even when the front seats are fully pushed back. The boot is spacious, but could have been bigger for a car of this size and class. Aesthetics Overall, the looks work well, esp. from the side, the wheel arches and the proportions are just right. The rear does look dated, the chiseled look is old fashioned now. In the front, the oval headlight units from the SRV mated to the chiseled bonnet looks quirky and somewhat mismatched. The grille looks well finished and bears the bowtie badge well. The indicators in the side mirrors look impressive – how long they would last in Bangalore’s mirror bashing traffic is anyone’s guess. The alloy wheels look good, but not really attractive, this is an improvement opportunity. NVH With the engine on idle, the diesel clatter is typical if a bit loud outside. Once inside with the windows up, the car feels really civilized. There is a discernible rumble that reminds you that it is a diesel, but it is subdued and muted. Safety Usually ignored in most cars, safety features abound, dual airbags for both front passengers, impact resistant doors that do not jam in the event of an impact and impact resistant bumpers (a much needed feature in Bangalore’s crazy traffic with kamikaze two wheelers and auto rickshaws) are all features that one wants to see on all cars.

  16. hi cj, i own chevy magnum diesel …a few things about what you said the car is the right choice well i had found the head beams way behind the mark ..i had replaced them with 100 /90 Philiphs with a cut out which costed me 1200/- and had re allign them now the lights are too good … The car behaves extrmely good in city traffic ..averaging me 14kmpl .. rest all is fine with the car …gear shift is not to satisfactory levels ..engineers have told me drive for another 1000 odd Km ..very stiff ..well on the suspensions it is extremely good since i drive on bad roads..doent feel the bumps .. Breaking & power is awesome the best in space ..rear comfort ..need a little more powerful A/C to chill it better ..

  17. Raja, I own both chevy magnum & fiesta TDCI ..just to compare .. Chevy LT : good on space ..rocket like engine ..silky smmoth suspension ..excellent boot space at its best ..i live in chennai ..annd it averages me 14/kmpl ..5th gear shift at 55 Kmp ..behaves good at low speeds ..Negative on Gear shift a little stiff ..Head beams low need to change from market as i have done ..(100/90 costing u 1200 ) ..not the best for Music lovers .. Ford – TDCi ZXI: a good family car ..great on mileage 18kmpl in city ..great gear shift ..very stiff suspensions ..good for 4 adults cramped for 5 ..very good for a smoth driver lacks power short not a very good value of money ..yes it would have been at a cost of 6lac..

  18. I am Sivashankar from Tamilnadu. I Purchased My New Optra Magnum Diesel (LT Model) on October 2007. I have also given the 2 start(**) rating as JD Asia pacific Customer. Now my car passed 35000kms till date(1/9/2008). On 27th August, 2008 I just parked my car in a place and went to a shop, came back in few min’s and started my car. The car did not start. I tried three four time nothing happened. Immediately I called the Coimbatore GM service center regarding this issue. They said the Diesel Pump failed to pump the fuel to the engine as it has become heat, you need to wait for 10/15 min the pump will cool down and then you can start. The same way it happened the car started. The GM service person assured they will replace the Fuel pump with a new one in warranty. Still the pump has not changed. They say the pump has to come, they don’t have it in Stock. Till 1/9/2008 morning i dint come across the same problem by 12.00pm when I was passing the city the same thing happened that to i was in driving. As the engine stopped i could not even stear the car to move to the corner of the road as the Hydraulic pump requires engine support to operate. I was very badly put in deep trouble in the public. The American GM-General Motors getting Rs.1000000/- and making the Indian Customers to suffer to this extreme end is very bad to say. What GM is going to do for this. Even if they replace the faulty component now, what is the assurance that this will not happen again after 30000kms again. Latter I came to know, this not only in my car, An Optra Magnum Diesel with a driving Kms of 17000kms also faced the same complaint. Is it the “?” situation of the one who buy the GM Optar Magnum Diesel. I am preparing list of in issue in the Optra Magnum which i will plant to submit it to the company and to the Public which holds some 60 pages.

  19. Wow, it’s very good that chevrolet optra magnum disesel has made the wonderful of fuel economies for citizen, however the problem is that the design of chevrolet optra magnum look really disappointed because of front car look similar to toyota corolla 1995. Therefore, I think that chevrolet design manager could consider of this problem.

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