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GM Delta Vehicle Platform

Delta is the name of a General Motors vehicle architecture designed to underpin compact (C-segment) cars. The platform made its debut in the 2003 Saturn Ion and was later used for a wide variety of General Motors vehicles.

Engineering for the Delta platform was mostly performed by GM’s Opel subsidiary in Germany. The Volkswagen Jetta was said to have been the target of the engineers working on the Delta platform.

GM’s Theta crossover platform is derived from the Delta architecture.

The Delta platform will be replaced by the D2XX vehicle architecture starting with the second-generation 2015 Chevrolet Cruze (in China, 2016 model year Cruze in North America), 2016 Buick Envision, 2016 Buick Excelle GT, and 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

The first-generation Delta platform made its debut in the 2003 Saturn Ion. It was developed in GM’s Opel division in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Vehicles using the Delta I platform include:

  • 2003–2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2005–2010 Opel/Vauxhall Astra H, Saturn Astra
  • 2005–2011 Opel/Vauxhall Zafira B
  • 2005–2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2005–2009 Pontiac G5/G4/Pursuit
  • 2006–2011 Chevrolet HHR

The second-generation Delta platform, Delta II, made its debut in 2008 in the 2008 Chevrolet Cruze and 2009 Opel Astra J. Like Delta I, Delta II was developed by GM’s Opel division in Rüsselsheim, Germany. Internally within GM, Delta II is known as a new Global Compact Vehicle Architecture (GCV).

Vehicles using the Delta II platform include:

  • 2015 – present Chevrolet Cruze Classic (China)
  • 2008-2015 Chevrolet Cruze, Daewoo Lacetti Premiere, Holden Cruze
  • 2010-2015 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2009 – present Opel Astra J, Buick Excelle XT, Buick Excelle GT
  • 2010 – present Chevrolet Orlando
  • 2011 – present Buick Verano
  • 2011 – present Opel Ampera
  • 2011 – present Opel Zafira Tourer C
  • 2013 – present Cadillac ELR
  • 2013 – present Opel Cascada, 2016 – present Buick Cascada
The Delta platform has several notable elements, including:
  • Front, transversely-mounted engine placement
  • Front-wheel drive and no support all-wheel drive
  • Independent front suspension, semi-independent twist/torsion-beam rear suspension or optional Watts-link rear suspension
  • Exclusive support for four-cylinder and smaller Ecotec engines
  • Delta-based vehicles usually have the letter “A” as the fourth digit in their VIN
GM Delta Platform Vitals
TYPE: UNIBODY WELDED STEEL BODY
SIZE: COMPACT
SUPPORTED VEHICLE TYPE: CAR
LAYOUT: FRONT-ENGINE, FWD
POWERPLANT LAYOUT: TRANSVERSE
SUCCESSOR: D2XX

The Delta platform supports a wide variety of Ecotec four-cylinder GM engines. The Delta platform was also adapted to support Voltec extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) — the first-generation 2010-2015 Chevrolet Volt and first-generation 2014-present Cadillac ELR.

One of the more prominent topics regarding the Delta platform revolves around its torsion beam rear suspension. This kind of rear suspension, which is considered to be semi-independent, is seen as inferior to a fully-independent rear suspension (IRS) since the two wheels can move relative to each other, but their motion is still somewhat inter-linked much more so than in a true independent rear suspension. This can mildly compromise the handling and ride quality of the vehicle.

Because of this, Chevrolet and Opel-Vauxhall rival Volkswagen switched to a true IRS in the fifth-generation Golf (Golf MK5). Ford also introduced a Control Blade rear suspension on its Focus. Meanwhile, the Renault Megane and Citroen C4 stayed with the twist beam design.

Opel-Vauxhall and Chevrolet continued to use the twist/torsion beam suspension, which is less expensive than an IRS. The cost savings are thought to be €100 per car compared to the multi-link rear suspension.

To improve on the twist/torsion beam suspension design and remain competitive with rivals, Opel-Vauxhall and Chevrolet began to offer the optional Watt’s link rear suspension, which improves on the twist/torsion beam design, thereby improving vehicle handling. This configuration is used in the Opel Astra and some trim-levels of the American-market Chevrolet Cruze. The addition of The Watts linkage comes at a cost of €20 per vehicle.

One notably advantage of the twist/torsion beam design, however, is that it suffers less from bush wear compared to a fully-independent multi-link suspension, and can therefore be more cost-effective for ownership.

Delta I

  • 2003–2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2005–2010 Opel/Vauxhall Astra H, Saturn Astra
  • 2005–2011 Opel/Vauxhall Zafira B
  • 2005–2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2005–2009 Pontiac G5/G4/Pursuit
  • 2006–2011 Chevrolet HHR

Delta II

  • 2015 – present Chevrolet Cruze Classic (China)
  • 2008-2015 Chevrolet Cruze, Daewoo Lacetti Premiere, Holden Cruze
  • 2010-2015 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2009 – present Opel Astra J, Buick Excelle XT, Buick Excelle GT
  • 2010 – present Chevrolet Orlando
  • 2011 – present Buick Verano
  • 2011 – present Opel Ampera
  • 2011 – present Opel Zafira Tourer C
  • 2013 – present Cadillac ELR
  • 2013 – present Opel Cascada, Buick Cascada