New Vauxhall engines and transmissions

* Vauxhall to launch 23 new models by 2016 * 13 new engines planned * 197bhp petrol and 134bhp diesels driven...

New Vauxhall engines and transmissions

Vauxhall plans to revitalise its range by launching 23 new models and 13 new engines by 2016.

This year it has already introduced the Cascada convertible and a new turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with 168bhp. However, there will also be a 197bhp version of this engine thats said to combine the performance of a 2.0-litre with the emissions and fuel economy of a 1.6.

Although you wont be able to buy it in any car until early next year, we have already tried it in prototype form.

The engine doesnt get into its stride until about 1750rpm, but then it comes on strong, revving up quickly, and with an appealing turbo whoosh.

We also got to try a prototype version of Vauxhall's new 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which will make its debut in the Zafira Tourer this June.

As a replacement for the companys ancient 1.7 and 129bhp 2.0-litre diesels, its said to produce 13% less CO2 than the 2.0-litre in the Zafira.

It also feels impressively flexible around town, and builds speed smoothly, if not swiftly, when you put your foot down. However, its the refinement thats most improved; the new 1.6 is much quieter than the engines it replaces, suffering from very little mechanical clatter.

There was quite a bit of vibration through the clutch pedal of the prototype we drove, but this may well have been down to the fact it was fitted with the wrong transmission.

When it goes on sale, the new 1.6 diesel will be combined with a revised version of Vauxhalls five-speed manual box; we tried this in an Astra, where the shift action seemed to be much slicker.

Vauxhall is also preparing to introduce a new eight-speed automatic gearbox, which will make its debut in the revised Insignia, which goes on sale this autumn.

Like the Zafira Tourer, the revised Insignia will be offered with the new 1.6-litre diesel engine, plus Vauxhall is promising new technology, a comprehensively redesigned interior and subtle exterior styling tweaks.

By Steve Huntingford