Popular engines: Renault 1.5 dCi K9K 90

author: date: 2016-05-12
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Under the hood of some very different cars:
RENAULT 1.5 dCi K9K 90

When I decided to take on this engine and write about it, it soon became obvious that I could easily write two separate articles. And after first couple of lines it was even more clear that two articles are inevitable, rather than a possibility. So, please, enjoy as you're about to get two articles for the price of one (2 x 0 = 0).

A year ago I payed Mercedes dealership a visit, not in order to buy one - I can't afford it as you haven't been clicking much on Google Ads (How do you ever get to sleep at night?!), but rather to personally check an information coming from the Sci-Fi domain. Apparently, under the hood of A and B class, in their 160 & 180 CDI versions, there's a Renault 1.5 dCi, publicly known as the feeder of tow truck drivers' children.



Well, ok, that engine has been improving during last 15 years, it matured and some of the numerous problems have been addressed. Signature on the documentation papers, beside French Renault, was put by Japanese Nissan as well, and they are using it heavily in their vehicles too. This, among others, is one of the main reasons for which it survived the 1.6 / 2.0 dCi era, while, luckily for us and not so luckily for all the tow truck drivers out there, the 1.870cc version didn't. Another important reason is the unbelievably low fuel consumption those power-trains from the 1.5 dCi family achieve, at the same time emitting low amounts of gases - and this has been a really big thing lately. This is why a shiny green eco2 sticker is to be found on some of the Renault vehicles powered by the engine we are talking about today. The very same engine that stared at me from under the hood of a Mercedes A160 CDI for which they wanted around 25.000 euros, and I'm talking about the base model! That, maybe, would be OK in some parallel universe where that kind of money doesn't buy you 2 (and in letters - TWO) top-model Dacia Logan MCV cars with the exactly same engine.

To some (extremely small) extent, I do understand Mercedes decision to use these engines. Somebody in the management decided not to use resources to design completely new small-capacity diesel engines which could follow all the EURO regulations you could think of. This is, as you may know, accomplished by using ad-hoc solutions like EGR and DPF, which, later on, unfortunately stick around. They then find their ways to an average used diesel car owner's nightmares. So they decided to address somebody with an outstanding experience in the area - Renault. But that's exactly the problem: If only Mercedes stuck to what it was always good at, they wouldn't be even considering engines lower than 2 liter in capacity, the same way Dacia (still) isn't planning to present a high-level premium limousine.



Just days before that infamous Mercedes dealership visit I came by to a Dacia showroom to take a look at the new Logan MCV. I wasn't interested in buying it, but nevertheless I wanted to see, in person, a C-segment car with a generous boot of 575 liters and factory declared 3.8 l/100km consumption. As I was chatting with the salesman he introduced me to the latest 1.5 dCi engine powering the MCV. It was so good, he said, even Mercedes decided to use it in their vehicles... I looked at him and then glanced at his working desk, looking for some dried mushrooms or any other kind of psychoactive substance, but the man simply continued about the technical details and all the efforts Renault made to improve the image of their most popular, yet missfortunate, diesel power-train.



In order to reach EURO5 emissions standard Renault changed their fuel injection system provider from Delphi to Bosch, at the same time reducing emissions to a fantastic 99 g/km. Engine itself kept its simplicity, but a large number of known issues were corrected and all the components were carefully revised. 90 horse powers and only 200 Nm of torque didn't promise much, but in a car that weighted barely a tone - it did its job adequately.

I was pleasantly surprised that Dacia shared an engine with the all-mighty Mercedes, because - and to be clear about this, whatever the engine, I'm certain Mercedes wouldn't allow some major break-downs during the warranty period. And, even better, Dacia offered a warranty extension for a fee, by which you could buy your peace of mind up to 7 years long. Even with this fee included, and choosing the highest equipment level, you would still be at only half the price Mercedes wanted for their base-model A160 CDI. Mind you that this base model did, however, include all 5 seats and a steering wheel.

Dacia is also more agile, reaching 100km/h in nearly 2 seconds less, offering 68% larger boot space (all seats up), 2 times cheaper regular maintenance etc. Unfortunately, 3 EuroNCAP stars, as well as the design, which seemed to origin from the 1989 East Berlin debris clearing, make even that low price to seem a bit high. Still, the 1.5 dCi power-train is a good pair to Dacia Logan MCV, unlike the A class, and the whole package could be interesting to many young families.

Do I, then, consider Dacia to be better than Mercedes? Of course not, they are not to be compared by any means except for the engine. But, are two Dacias better than one Mercedes? Hm... It's like asking if two veggie burgers are better than one full-size 100% beef burger, although, depending on your wishes, needs, and cholesterol levels in your blood, they could even be. And, please keep in mind, if I order an expensive Mercedes burger and spend a lot of money on it - between those two breads I expect to see a greasy, huge, tasty and delicious piece of Mercedes meat, not a small Renault falafel. Especially if I am charged extra for each sesame seed on top of it, while I can only dream about the AMG cheddar and 4MATIC onion rings. Call me old fashioned, but I still appreciate engine more than an infotainment system in a car. So, thanks a lot Mercedes, but from your range I'm choosing the excellent, petrol powered, A200 - which, for the same amount of money, provides a Mercedes engine, extra 66 horse powers, 50 Nm of torque more and all that Mercedes-feel A160 dCi, sorry - CDI, isn't offering. On the other hand there's the Logan MCV - and I love it. You really get what you paid for, and even a bit more: A chance to drag-race a Mercedes when stopped on a traffic light - and win!
Engine info ( issues & breakdowns )
Renault / Nissan

1.5 dCi K9K 612

displacement:
1461
cc
configuration:
4 - Inline
 
valves:
8, 2 p/ cylinder
 
aspiration:
Turbo
 
fuel type:
Diesel
 
power:
90
hp
torque:
200
Nm
Vehicle information - Mercedes Benz A
93% score
produced:
2012. - 2015.
 
body style:
hatchback
5 door
length:
4292
mm
width:
1780
mm
height:
1433
mm
boot:
341 - 1157
l
fuel tank:
50
l
Vehicle information - Dacia Logan
57% score
produced:
2012. - 2016.
 
body style:
wagon
5 door
length:
4492
mm
width:
1733
mm
height:
1550
mm
boot:
573 - 1518
l
fuel tank:
50
l

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