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looked into the specs for the optra5 (not sure if americans get it too... but it's coming to canada for sure). at 119hp, it's significantly underpowered compared to several key competitors, like the mazda3 sport, hyundai elantra and focus ZX5. it also gets horrible fuel economy.

first off, i can't figure out why an engine that makes that little power can be so un-fuel efficient. is it just old tech? secondly, what could GM do to make this car more powerful? are there any simple ways they could up the power on an engine, or would it generally require a different motor? i don't know much about this, but i'm curious to know how much work would be required if GM wanted to increase the power. i guess a turbo is always an option, but are there any other reasonable options?

again, not talking aftermarket here. i'm thinking within a year GM will see that the optra5 can't keep up with the competition, and might wanna look into a little more oomph!
 

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I think the idea of the Optra is to compete on price. I could be wrong, but I think it should match nicely against the 2nd level (one step above base) cars from KIA and Hyundai, such as the Elantra.

The Chevy buyer who wants power will buy a Cobalt --- the part where I think Chevy is missing out is having a 4-cylinder wagon like vehicle.

It would be great if the Optra could come with a 140-hp Ecotec, but then the price would probably rise along with it. Those Daewoo engines - except for the high torque, small displacement Epica Inline-6 are pretty old tech -- refined, but old.

The reasons we saw the Cavalier being sold around that price were due to losing money on every model, and a 20+ year-old architecture / volume production.

For a stylish and convenient small wagon -- but not so small as an Aveo, I think its a good idea.

But yeah, it could use some oomph.
 

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Sure it got lees HP then others but its no dog. Remember way back in 2002 when the beloved 2.2 ecotec was only 115hp? I just ran my first tank of gas and got more then GM is claiming, 30 mpg(imp gallons) in city driving. Thats the first tank so I should pick up a little more. Its a nice little car, drives nice and has lots of options for a low price.
 
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