Already among the most economical and efficient in their respective classes, Vauxhall's ECOTEC engines have been comprehensively up-graded for 2001. The result is even lower exhaust emissions and fuel consumption combined with higher power output and torque.

Vauxhall has worked on a number of changes and additions to its engine line-up, one of the most significant being the extra applications for its acclaimed all-aluminium 2.2 litre 16v. This engine - which already powers the Astra Coupé and VX220 - will become available for the Astra, Zafira and Vectra models.

Vectra and Omega feature a new 2.6 litre V6 petrol engine (increased in capacity from 2.5 litre) while Astra Coupé buyers will soon be able to choose the new, top-of-the-range Turbo which promises stunning performance from its 190 PS powerplant.

Almost all the petrol engines for the 2001 model year comply with the strict Euro 4 exhaust emission limits, qualifying them for tax concessions in many countries.

Extended servicing for new engine line-up

Servicing intervals for most of the engine range have now been extended, up from 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

This has been made possible by the use of new grades of lubricating oil in accordance with the ACEA A3/B3-98 specification, and classified as 0W-X, 5W-X, or 10W-X according to their viscosity. For safety reasons, all the Vauxhall models that qualify for these longer servicing intervals are equipped with a brake pad wear indicator.

Diesels: modern, direct-injection engines with higher power outputs

The 2001 engine line-up also includes up-graded diesels which provide higher power and torque while still complying with the Euro 3 exhaust emission limits.

One of the highlights is the Astra Eco 4. Using a 1.7 litre DTi engine, it manages 64.2 mpg (MVEG standard), making it the most fuel efficient in the compact class. The Eco 4 demonstrates how a comfortable family car with a high safety standard, good interior space and good performance figures, can still be amazingly economical. The 75 PS direct-injection engine also powers the Astra 1.7 DTi and the new Corsa.

Further new developments have been taking place in the higher performance engines, too. In addition to further detail work on the VP 44 radial-piston injection pump, which now delivers fuel at up to 1800 bar to the injectors and operates with pilot or pre-injection, the forced aspiration system on the new 2.2 litre diesel engine has also received the engineers' attention.

This is the first Vauxhall engine to feature a VTG (variable turbine geometry) turbocharger. The vacuum-controlled guide vanes in the Garrett GT 18 unit enable it to obtain maximum energy from the exhaust gas flow. In practice, this results in more rapid response at all engine speeds.

Also included in the elaborate system is a charge air-intercooler for the intake air before it reaches the engine. The resulting increase in the density of the air enables correspondingly more fuel to be injected, so that power output rises. The charge-air intercooler also reduces the thermal loads on the engine. This powerful turbo diesel has two counter-rotating balance shafts for exceptional refinement and smooth running.

In the Vectra, the 2.2 litre DTi 16V develops 125 PS and generates its maximum torque of 270 Nm at only 1500 rpm. With slightly different performance data, the engine is also installed in the Omega.

Petrol engines: Euro 4 classification for most

Improvements to the emission levels from the ECOTEC petrol engines derive mainly from engine design measures such as new camshafts for modified valve timing and changes to the engine management system.

Improvements to the catalytic converters, including installation very close to the exhaust manifold, have also lowered these engines' exhaust emissions by enabling the converters to reach their light-off temperature quicker following a cold start. The new, 2.2-litre aluminium engine, which already complies with the Euro 4 standard, also uses a starting converter.

Bringing the petrol engines into line with future exhaust emission limits involved a thorough design revision which, in many cases, results in more power.

A good example is the Astra 1.6, converted from central to multi-point fuel injection and which now has new intake and exhaust manifolds among other improvements. As a result, power output has gone up from 75 to 85 PS, while fuel consumption has decreased, and now returns 40.3 mpg.

Vauxhall's new 2.2

Vauxhall's new 2.2 litre 16v engine is another that delivers strong performance combined with excellent economy for an engine of this size. Already debuted in Astra Coupe and VX220 earlier this year, the aluminium unit becomes available in the Astra, Zafira and Vectra.

An ECOTEC unit developing 147 PS, it replaces the previous 136 PS 2.0 16V engine. The higher power output and the torque of 203 Nm - 90 percent of which is available at 1900 rpm - means better performance and fuel consumption.

Featuring two counter-rotating balance shafts for very smooth running, the lightweight 2.2 four-cylinder unit becomes the most powerful engine for the Astra and Zafira. It already complies with the Euro 4 exhaust emission standard.

Vectra too will make use of the new 2.2, while enhancements have also been made to its top engine the V6, which is now 2.6 litres up from 2.5. This engine has been revised to develop 170 PS and 250 Nm of torque at 3400 rpm - a significantly higher maximum torque than its predecessor.

The new 2.6 litre V6 is also available in the Omega, where it produces even more power, at 180 PS. And in spring next year, Omega customers will be able to choose a 3.2 litre V6 developing 217 PS, available with automatic transmission only.