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Chevy Optra Magnum: Stylise through Powerful Comfort news
Arvind Sridharan
28 July 2007

The Chevrolet Optra Magnum qualifies for a brand identity of 'Powerful Comfort'.

I once came across an intriguing article in a magazine. It was about two women in Vancouver, who specialise in a kind of personal branding. Carrie and Danielle offer what is known as a 'style statement' to individuals who look to augment their personal style. This is done through a simple two-word phrase that brings your style right to its quintessence. Carrie is 'Refined Treasure' and Danielle is 'Sacred Dramatic'.

If the Chevrolet Optra Magnum was to approach them, it would probably get a personal brand identity of 'Powerful Comfort'.

Chevy Optra MagnumMaking a style statement has now almost become a norm. 'Power yourself comfortably' seems to be the catchword of the Optra Magnum, the diesel variant of the Chevy Optra. The three variants, Max, LS and LT, are offered in the price range of Rs 8.74 lakh to Rs 9.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

General Motors might not be leading the pack any longer in its home market of the United States, but it has done remarkably well amongst contemporaries in India. It has now decided to spread its wings across all segments, and has thus launched the diesel variant in the D segment.

The Optra Magnum hits the road in the Indian subcontinent after Europe and Korea. GM has pitted it squarely against the Skoda Octavia, with its price below that of the petrol variant of the popular Skoda. The Optra is the first diesel from GM's stable, other than the extensively commercially-used multi-utility vehicle (MUV), Chevrolet Tavera.

Other than the economy of subsidised diesel, the Optra Magnum has everything that appeals to Indians – style, spacious interiors, plenty of refinement, and a knockout price tag. As soon as you step inside the car, rest assured, the first words out of your mouth would be – 'I love this Baby', or 'Gee, this looks gorgeous', or any of the billion equivalent statements.

The ergonomic cabin wraps you in comfort. With the basic layout of the dashboard unchanged, the leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel might just seem to be a tad too thin, and maybe even large. The tilt allows you to peer over the bonnet, or slink back into a Michael Schumacher driving position, depending whether you are navigating the back lanes of South Mumbai, or hitting the expressway. The additional lumbar support in the seat makes for a snug, hassle free driving position, which is just perfect for those long drives.

Chevy's trademark almond-shaped headlamps give the Magnum a distinct look from the rest of the pack. The new chrome alloy wheels and chrome-plated door handles come standard in the Optra Magnum. The grille, all chrome and flashy and definitely belligerent, and the car's fine aerodynamic design are well complemented by the Magnum's aggressive forward posture.

Engine wise, the 2.0 litre, 16 valve TCDi (turbocharged common rail direct injection) diesel aids delivering every bit of juice of the 120.5 PS that it generates at @ 3000 rpm. With a torque of 314 Nm @ 2125 rpm, General Motors claims that the Magnum is well capable of outpacing everyone on the road, all the way to 190kmph. For a car of its size, it gives a healthy 14 kilometres per litre (kmpl) of diesel, ''under test conditions''. Users, however, report a mileage of around 12 kmpl in the city, and around 14 on highways.

With enhanced NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) vibrations are reduced, making you, as Chevy puts it, ''experience comfort from the moment you hit the road''. The car comes with a 2 DIN CD MP3 and cassette player, 360 degree air vents even at the back of the car, giving it everything to turn power into a style statement.

With all the comfort and power, there is no compromise on safety. The Advanced X-PRO safety system with anti-lock braking system (ABS) makes certain that the Magnum stays sure footed even under hard braking, ensuring a smooth stop. All 4 wheels come with disc brakes. An impact proof bumper and dual airbags add to the Magnum's safety.

Some of the stunning hues this beauty is available in are icy blue, blazing red, platinum metallic, casablanca white, cashmere, sparkling diamond, and an intense black.

Let me provide  provide the raison d'ętre of why I think the Optra Magnum is a better buy, as against the Octavia.

Firstly, the Optra Magnum is sheer value for money. There is also the fact that it is a more powerful car, both in terms of power and in terms of torque. The Optra is more comfortable on long drives as compared to the Octavia. Its freshness of design adds to its appeal, more so as the Octavia has now started showing its maturity in the face of newer or 'younger' competition. Finally, the cost of ownership of an Optra Magnum is lower than that of an Octavia or an Elantra.

Spares are comparatively cheaper, which is a key feature in GM's advertising in its endeavour to boost sales.

How the Optra Magnum 1.6LT, stands up to competition

Parameters Optra Magnum 1.6LT Skoda Octavia Elegance 1.9 TDI Hyundai Elantra CRDi
Overall Length (mm) 4540 4507 4525
Overall Width (mm) 1725 1731 1725
Overall Height (mm) 1445 1431 1450
Wheelbase (mm) 2600 2512 2610
Ground Clearance (mm) 165 134 185
Front Track (mm) 1480 1513 NA
Rear Track (mm) 1480 1494 NA
Front Headroom (mm) 970 915 NA
Front Legroom (mm) 1000 1270 1180
Boot Space (litre) 405 530 368
Kerb Weight (kg) 1265 1330 1267
Fuel Tank Capacity (litre) 55 55 55
Fuel efficiency      
Mileage (city) 9.7 12.8 11.2
Mileage (highway) 17.4 18.5 15.4
Mileage (overall) (km/litre) 11.3 13.9 12.0
Maximum speed (kmph) 175 175 184
0-100 kmph (seconds) 12.6 13.6 12.9
100-0 kmph (metres) 49.5 40.6 48.6
Engine type 1.6L, 16V, DOHC, VGIS, Petrol In Line Diesel Engine, Inter Cooler Turbo, Water Cooler OHC In Line Diesel Engine, SOHC, CRDi
Displacement 1598 1896 1991
Power (PS@rpm) 104@5800 90@4000 112@4000
Torque (Nm@rpm) 148@4000 210@1900 246@2800
No. of cylinders 4 4 4
Transmission type Manual Manual Manual
Gears 5 5 5
Front suspension McPherson Strut with anti-roll bar, Twin Tube Gas filled shock absorbers McPherson Sturt with wishbone arms and torsion stabilizer Independent MacPherson strut with coil spring, Anti-roll stablizer
Rear suspension McPherson Strut with anti-roll bar, Twin Tube Gas filled shock absorbers Compound link crank axle with torsion stabilizer Dual link type with coil springs, anti- roll stabilizer
Front brakes Disc Disc Ventilated discs
Rear brakes Disc Drum Brakes Solid Disc
Wheel type Alloy Alloy NA
Wheel size 6J x 15'' 6J x 15'' 5.5J x 15''
Tyres 195/60 R 15 195/65 R 15 195/60 R 15 Tubeless
Price (Mumbai)(Rs.) 9,39,797 13,11,910 10,30,475

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Chevy Optra Magnum: Stylise through Powerful Comfort