Per­fectly pe­tite

New Corsa pleases Mom

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VIJOEN

IN April, the new Corsa led Opel pas­sen­ger car sales with 331 units sold — the most Corsa sales in a month since Jan­uary 2009.

Wheels re­cently had the mid­dle-of-the-range Corsa En­joy on test and we let a mom, a young pro­fes­sional and a pen­sioner loose in the hatch, which re­tails for R216 000. (Deal­ers do have good dis­counts so watch the ads.) Com­pared to the rather Spar­tan en­try-level Essentia for R185 500, the En­joy come with many of the “up­per-class com­fort down­sized for the city” that Opel fits to the Cosmo, which sells for R236 300.

On top of the stan­dard equip­ment, our test model had the seven-inch touch screen with In­tellilink with BT, USB, AUX in­puts; ad­vanced park as­sist, blind side Zone Alert on the side mir­rors; and front and rear park sen­sors.

The mother

The 40-some­thing mom, who drives a Re­nault Clio, said she en­joyed the equally planted feel of the Corsa around cor­ners, as well as the solid “clunk” the doors make when closing and the “lovely lit­tle growl” the three­cylin­der en­gine makes.

Be­ing pe­tite, she re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the er­gonomic de­sign of the driver’s leg room. “By the time we have moved the seat for­ward far enough to reach the ped­als, most of us short­ies end up bash­ing our knees against some pro­tru­sion un­der the steer­ing col­umn. There is none of that in the new Corsa, which I re­ally, re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate, and the seat is firm and very com­fort­able.”

Opel states the Corsa’s speed­de­pen­dent elec­tric power steer­ing adds pre­ci­sion, and the mom con­curred. “It feels like you could turn this wheel with a feather. I like.”

From a se­cu­rity point of view, she did not like not hav­ing a “lit­tle light or some­thing” to show when the car doors have au­to­mat­i­cally locked and be­ing a Lud­dite, she could not op­er­ate the seven-inch touch screen that links to both iOS and An­droid smart phones. She also asked why the dig­i­tal clock is dis­played so small, but the speed is in­di­cated twice and talk­ing of speed, she wanted more power, with no ap­pre­ci­a­tion for what the lit­tle mill

was push­ing out.

The pen­sioner

The 70-some­thing pen­sioner, who drives a Honda Jazz, looked for­ward to Opel’s lat­est of­fer­ing, for as he said, there is no room for medi­ocrity in the heav­ily con­tested B-seg­ment and the Corsa is one of the best-sell­ing city cars in Europe, so it must be fan­tas­tic, right? Erm, no, it seems. “The ex­ter­nal de­sign is un­pre­ten­tious and might get lost in the wel­ter of in­ter­est­ing de­signs now avail­able in the B-seg­ment. This does not mean that the Corsa is not good-look­ing; each de­sign el­e­ment in fact looks gor­geous when viewed on its own, but they don’t add up to a car that make me go ‘wow’.

“That said, beauty is in the eye of the be­holder and the new Corsa is much bet­ter look­ing than the re­li­able 1990’s model that is still run­ning around on our roads. In­side, I found the In­tellilink sys­tem placed too low in the cen­tre con­sole for easy op­er­a­tion. Ev­ery­thing else ex­udes re­strained class and the over­all per­ceived qual­ity is ex­cel­lent, with the polyurethane-cov­ered steer­ing wheel the only thing that felt a lit­tle out of place in this price class.”

Un­der the hood, the me­chan­ics are of the high­est qual­ity. The 85 kW/170 Nm, three-cylin­der en­gine will get you to 100 km/h in about 10 sec­onds and top speed is around 190 km/h. Fuel con­sump­tion is a mea­gre six litres/100 km, which is ex­cel­lent for city driv­ing.

As a tech­ni­cal pack­age, the Corsa makes a re­ally good im­pres­sion, although the price will de­ter buy­ers.

The young pro­fes­sional

The 20-some­thing pro­fes­sional who drives any­thing fast, ap­pre­ci­ated the power that comes out the Corsa’s 1,0 turbo en­gine.

“Even though it has a bit of a lag be­fore 3 000 rpm, it re­ally gives quite the kick of ac­cel­er­a­tion af­ter­wards. The Corsa will get you to 120 km/h be­fore you de­cide what song to lis­ten to on its seven-inch mul­ti­func­tion dis­play, which in its own right is im­pres­sive for a car in its cat­e­gory. It han­dles well around bends, with a tight steer­ing to give you added con­fi­dence in your con­trol of the ve­hi­cle. “Opel re­ally paid at­ten­tion to the lit­tle de­tails, and it makes a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence in the aes­thetic ap­peal of the car: LED day­time run­ning lights, a sporty stain­less steel ex­haust tip and an un­nec­es­sary dig­i­tal dis­play of your speed.

“That said, the leg space is not for a tall driver and the foot ped­als are too close to­gether. If you’re a size­able guy or girl, your pas­sen­gers are re­ally go­ing to battle with rear leg space as well.

“Other than that, I can’t find many things wrong with Opel’s new of­fer­ing. Well, be­sides the fact that my girl­friend de­scribed it as ‘pretty’.

“That’s a bonus point for fe­male buy­ers, but if you’re a guy look­ing for some­thing to boost your testos­terone lev­els, it might not be the car for you.”


Top: The op­tion you should have in the new Corsa (left) is the seven-inch touch screen that links to both iOS and An­droid smart phones.

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