A de­light­fully ca­pa­ble hatch

AMIL UMRAW is happy to re­port the new Corsa 1,0 of­fers a lot more than the Corsa Lite of yore

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

WHEEL­ING its way onto South African shores this year is the all new Corsa, fully loaded with all the bells and whis­tles you may not have ex­pected from Opel in this seg­ment.

Since the Corsa Lite flooded the mar­ket back in the 90s, Opel never re­ally found its feet, pro­duc­ing cars that peo­ple de­scribed with terms that ranged from “av­er­age” and to “non­cha­lant”.

How­ever, spend­ing a few days in the range-top­ping Cosmo edi­tion, the fifth gen­er­a­tion Corsa has left quite the im­pres­sion of a well-rounded city ve­hi­cle — with the po­ten­tial to catch the eyes of the con­sumer back to the Opel brand here in South Africa.

EN­GINE AND SUS­PEN­SION

At the heart of the Corsa is a onelitre tur­bocharged power plant taken di­rectly from the car’s younger brother, the Adam.

The en­gine is fea­tured across the range and is de­light­fully ca­pa­ble of 85 kW and 170 Nm which will easily zap you through traf­fic or bar­rel you down the high­way at 190 km/h with a lot more gump­tion in the six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion than you might ex­pect.

The turbo lag is no­tice­able, but it does not take too much away from the car when the sus­pen­sion is as good as it is.

The Corsa fea­tures a new sub frame and an op­ti­mised rear axle which re­sults in a smooth drive. Opel has also done well to tighten the sus­pen­sion mak­ing cor­ner­ing sharper and the feel of the steer­ing a lot more con­trolled.

There is also a 1,4 nat­u­rally as­pi­rated of­fer­ing that only comes with an au­to­matic gear­box by the way — but af­ter driv­ing it, I would not rec­om­mend it.

Opel claims a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion of 5 l/100 km on the one-litre and 6 l/100 km on the 1,4, but nei­ther Wheels editor Al­wyn Viljoen nor I man­aged to reach that. I only man­aged to get about 200 km in the car and the least I could get it down to is 6,2 l/100 km — I could blame my weak right an­kle, but Viljoen gets 4,2 l/100 km from his old 1,9 turbo diesel, so he can do fru­gal.

STYLING

Built from the ground up, the Corsa re­sem­bles none of its pre­de­ces­sors. It is sharp, re­fined and so­phis­ti­cated — both in­side and out. The ex­te­rior has flow­ing con­tours and well sculpted pro­por­tions, a good fit be­tween sexy and cute.

Step­ping in­side, you are wel­comed by an ar­ray of am­bi­ent light­ing that re­flects off the chrome in­serts that, with the dark black tex­tures and racy di­als, gives the car a so­phis­ti­cated al­lure. The only thing I have a prob­lem with is the num­ber of con­trols clus­tered onto the steer­ing wheel.

There’s just so many that I have to take my eyes of the road to see what I’m press­ing.

Some­one should whis­per to the de­sign­ers the latest trend is back to “less is more”.

BELLS AND WHIS­TLES

Stan­dard across the 1,0 litre range is a stop/start sys­tem, a speed-sen­si­tive power steer­ing with “city mode” that makes ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity ef­fort­less in bustling CBDs, trac­tion con­trol, Hill Start As­sist and of course ABS, EBD, ESP and all the lit­tle things you ex­pect to find.

How­ever, with the range-top­ping Cosmo, you get a sleek seven-inch touch screen en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem, park-dis­tance con­trol, cruise con­trol, rain sen­sor wipers, cor­ner­ing lights and a whole lot more that you prob­a­bly will never use. Oh, it also parks it­self for an added fee.

PRIC­ING

In­deed, the Corsa has some tough com­pe­ti­tion in the B-seg­ment from the Ford Fi­esta, Re­nault Clio, Mazda 2 and of course the fan favourite VW Polo.

The Corsa starts at R185 500 for the 1,0T Essen­tia which does not come stan­dard with an air­con­di­tioner or even a ra­dio!

The En­joy model at R216 000 will give you ev­ery­thing you need. And lastly, the Cosmo at about R236 000 comes with ev­ery­thing you need plus a lit­tle to show off with as well. All come with a five-year or 120 000 km war­ranty and a three-year or 60 000 km ser­vice plan.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

The Corsa one-litre runs a ring around its 1,4 sta­ble mate, and then slams a bolt of light­ning through that ring.

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