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Opel’s fifth Corsa set to bust-up B-segment

20.02.2015

IT IS quite hard to believe that Opel’s Corsa is already in its fifth generation and while it’s only the fourth generation for us locally, South Africans have managed to buy some 152 000 Corsa models since the 90s. With stern competition and a fussy market place, the new model that I sampled recently, certainly has its work cut out for it.

That new look

The most dramatic change that is apparent on the exterior of the new Corsa is the front end. Much like the Adam, its front lights are wing-shaped, while the nose of the vehicle appears more hunkered down.

From the side, the vehicle is fairly similar to the one that it replaces, bar the surface line, which gives the car a more sculpted look. At the rear, the taillights, which protrude from the rest of the rear section, are also wing-shaped to complete the look.

Overall, the design is certainly more modern and while I’m not the biggest fan of the nose, I do feel that it will translate into a very good-looking OPC variant.

Interior surprise

Inside is where you’ll find the most pleasant of surprises. It is truly leaps and bounds ahead of the old car, to use an old cliché. The materials used inside are generally good with the odd panel exhibiting some cheap-feeling plastics. The overall facia just looks cleaner and more in-tune with its rivals.

There’s a new steering wheel that feels premium, while the instrument panel does away with the orange information cluster in favour of a cleaner looking white-lit unit. The seats are similar in their design to the old car, although there are decent looking 3D embossed fabrics imprinted on the seats, which differ according to the model chosen.

There’s also the Opel IntelliLink infotainment system which is an option on some models but I feel is a must in an age where we are so attached to our phones. The system provides things like USB/Bluetooth and radio compatibility with the option to integrate your Smartphone and use apps such as Navigation, Internet Radio and social media.

Ride and handling

The ride in the new Corsa is quite supple; it provides a decent level of comfort and is certainly more sure-footed than the outgoing car. This has been achieved by lowering the car by some five millimetres and then completely redesigning the chassis and steering system.

Powertrains

There will be two engines available initially before the OPC arrives. The 85kW/170Nm 1.0-litre and the 1.4-litre naturally aspirated unit, which will be available as an automatic in a couple of month’s time. The little three-cylinder is what we managed to test at launch is a gem; it provides enough go while still remaining smooth.

Beware though, when pressing on, the little motor can be thirsty as Opel claims a figure of 5.0 litres/100km, while the best that I could achieve was 5.9 litres/100km and when pressing on, around 8.8 litres/100km.

The new six-speed manual gearbox is also a breath of fresh air as the older units were simply not up to scratch. This unit weighs less than 40kg and certainly provides a smoother, more pleasant driving experience.

Safety kit

The new Corsa models feature items such as ABS with EBD and BAS, electronic stability programme (ESP plus) with hill start assist, six airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system, a pedal release system, Isofix child seat anchor points, a seat belt reminder and an anti-theft alarm and immobiliser.

Models

The 1.0T Essentia is the starting point in the range and features as standard start/stop engine control, a gear shift indicator, Halogen daytime running lights, city mode steering, electric windows up front, electric mirror adjustment, tinted glass, a folding key and 15-inch steel wheels.

There is the option to add things such as a six-speaker radio/CD audio system, which includes Bluetooth, USB and Aux compatibility, steering wheel audio controls as well as 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and IntelliLink.

The Enjoy sits in the middle of the range and gets the audio system and steering wheel audio controls, an on-board trip computer, LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and colour-coded door handles. The Enjoy model can also be specified with IntelliLink, side blind spot alert and front and rear parking sensors.

The top-of-the-range Cosmo gets cruise control with a speed limiter, bi-Xenon headlights with cornering light control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, a leather steering wheel, IntelliLink and chrome detailing.

Servicing and warranty

All new Opel Corsas come with a five-year/120 000km warranty and a three-year/60 000km service plan.

Pricing:

Corsa 1.0T Essentia R185500
Corsa 1.0T Enjoy R216200
Corsa 1.0T Cosmo R236300

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
20.02.2015
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