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