Opel Corsa (2015) First Drive

Corsa Main

Opel is coming back strong after a period of obscurity blamed on the global recession in 2008. The new Opel Corsa is the brand’s second model to be launched this year in South Africa and from initial impression, seems to be a striking offering. We had a chance to sample the new Corsa over a day’s drive around the Western Cape. Here are our thoughts so far.

All-New Opel Corsa

The Corsa is an entirely new model from the ground up, there are no carry-over parts from the previous model and the engine is a brand new unit for the Corsa. The Corsa’s body has been stiffened, the suspension improved, the styling now looks more appealing and there’s a raft of safety and technology features available.

Two Engine Line-up

The Corsa’s main power unit is the 1-Litre turbo powerplant transported from the Adam. There is a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated model in the range but that’s only connected to an automatic transmission. The 1-Litre turbo unit is capable of 85 kW and 170 Nm of torque. Whilst a 1-Litre turbo engine may seem tiny, the new turbo technology makes it more powerful than most 1.4s and there’s also more torque available, which helps with everyday driving.

The Corsa overtakes with ease even when in higher gears at freeway speeds and there always seems to be a little bit more oomph when you need it. The Corsa claims 5L/100km combined fuel consumption and from our experience with the Adam a few months ago, we noticed the exact same figure of 6.4L/100km after our 300km trip of the Cape.

Interior Satisfaction

The interior of the Opel Corsa has a lot of similarities with the Adam, and that’s a good thing. It’s quite stylish inside and all the dials feel like they’re newly fashioned as opposed to being evolutions of past Corsas. It’s also spacious inside, more so than the Adam, and obviously carries two more doors. Rear space looks impressive and the boot is large enough, although there doesn't seem to be an exact figure on its load capacity. The infotainment system is brought in from the Adam and is a modern, responsive touchscreen that’s fully Smartphone compatible, although slightly iPhone biased with its App suite.

Ride and Handling

The Corsa’s new chassis seems to be a good match for the car’s physical appeal, it’s comfortable in town and on the long run and does a decent job of handling. The new steering setup, whilst being electric and power assisted still retains a nicely weighted feel as you work on the lock in faster bends. There’s a City Driving button that lightens up the wheel entirely and will allow you to navigate shopping centre car parks with one finger.

The new Corsa comes with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and features all the new safety systems you’d expect from a modern day premium car. ABS, traction control and EBD are all standard. The traction control system is also equipped with a whole bunch of other add-ons to keep you on the Tarmac such as: Straight line stability control, cornering brake control, drag torque control, active rollover protection and hill start assist.

Round Up - Opel Corsa Price in South Africa

The new Opel Corsa enters a tough segment of the market dominated by the VW Polo. There’s also strong competition from the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. Hyundai has a new i20 and there’s a Kia Rio lurking in the background as well. The new Corsa feels right up there in terms of style and interior quality, and its entry level model hits a strong price point at R185 500.

There are option packs to beef up the three spec levels of Essentia, Enjoy and Cosmo that take the tech levels above and beyond what others in the segment can offer. Top of the range Cosmo is R236 300 and even with the R5k self-parking system option added it comes in at the same price as a top spec Polo, which has less equipment.

It will be interesting to see which of the two German brands will win out in the long term.