Tag: New Opel Corsa

The New Opel Corsa: Is It Worth the Wait?

Having launched internationally almost 2 years ago, the local arm of Opel has finally debuted the new Corsa into Mzansi! Alex Shahini took it for a spin

Opel South Africa may have introduced the initial 55kW range of the updated Corsa and Corsa Edition at the start of 2021, but they were waiting for the arrival of the range-topping Elegance derivative before doing an official press launch. So, we got comfortable with the peppy 96kW model and took it along the scenic mountain routes of the Magaliesburg earlier this month. 

While the selected route was filled with long stretches of straight tarmac and the occasional undulating hillclimb-esque road profile, the new Opel arrival made light work of it all. In addition to its sprightly-orientated handling and lightweight steering input, the expanses of tarmac filled with creviced surfaces and potholes were comfortably traversed, while overtaking slow moving traffic on single lane roads was as effortless as pushing the accelerator pedal down. The overall impression after the first 10 minutes at the wheel impressed significantly enough to immediately justify stacking it up to some of its immediate competitors; the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20. 

Historically, Opel have enjoyed a strong rapport in South Africa – with 86 uninterrupted years more recently winning 4 local prestigious Car Of The Year titles and selling 500 000 vehicles since 1994 (180 000 being the Corsa but excluding the Utility bakkie). This is a longer relationship than most of the aforementioned brands. This has enabled the brand to cement itself into the hearts of many locals with cult favorites such as the Superboss, OPC and GSI. 

While the 6 generations of the Corsa have successfully sold 14 million units globally since its inception in 1982, the automotive world has changed significantly since then. New market offerings from brands are seldom bad and general quality and user interface with vehicles has increased exponentially. The new Opel Corsa is a prime example of this – not that any of their previous 5 generations have been severely sub-par with the segment. 

The new generation, in line with refreshed brand identity has elevated itself, partially due to the recent Stellantis merger of FCA and PSA. What this means for the consumer is the Corsa has become the first Opel branded car to be based on a Stellantis platform – the front-engine, front-wheel drive Common Modular Platform (CMP) already proven with the Peugeot 208 and Citroen C4. This results in less time squandered by Opel developing a platform/chassis, allowing for more focus and budget on refinement and usability. Affiliations with the 4th largest automobile manufacturer by volume have their perks.

Lightness and efficiency form core aspects of the updated brand pillar of ‘greenovation’, with the entire local range making use of the frugal 1.2-litre 3-cylinder motors, our range topping 96kW turbocharged derivative sipped just over 6L/100km over a 300km open road journey. The low consumption can be partially accredited to flat underbody panelling spanning the length of the car while its drag coefficient of just 0.29 enables it to use less energy to keep its momentum. With an all-aluminum engine and weight reduction all around, the Corsa is 10% lighter than the outgoing car tipping the scales at just 980kg depending on the selected spec. This feathery automotive mass enables responsive braking in sticky situations while speeds in excess of freeway markings still feel safe with the car remaining planted to the tarmac while maneuvering. This can also be accredited to its firm but comfortable suspension which combined with its lightness mitigates excessive body roll and improves general handling characteristics. 

Powering the Corsa is a choice of 2 motors spread across 3 derivatives, both the entry-level Corsa and mid-range Corsa Edition make use of a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre 3 cylinder petrol motor with a maximum power output of 55kW coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox mounted transversely across the engine bay. The Elegance derivative which we tested makes use of the same motor with the benefit of forced induction, the added turbo bumps its ratings up to 96kW and a smooth 6-speed automatic seamlessly takes care of the gearing. The auto-box provided a comfortable and refined journey, with sensibly laid out gear ratios and easy changes, particularly when downshifting for overtaking. 

In line with the ‘Modern German’ brand identity, the Corsa adds a bit of funk into the mixture with a selection of 7 factory colours including show stopping shades such as Orange Fizz, Pepperoncino Red or Voltaic Blue – which compliment the aesthetics of the car. A two tone option can be specced with a black roof on any of the exterior colours.

The interior amenities are adequate, with a central infotainment system capable of navigation, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto. The non-configurable driver screen (on the Elegance models) displays all crucial information in a rudimentary but sensible manner – more affordable models in the range get analog dials. The interior combines a selection of different materials and comfortable touchpoints creating an enjoyable environment for the driver. The rear door-well is slightly narrow and awkward to interact with but interior space once seated is impressive, with taller passengers afforded reasonable leg and knee room in the rear. 

While no 2 door variants are on the cards, Opel has confirmed pricing on the full Corsa range of 2021. Starting at R274 900 for the Corsa base model and progressing to R386 900 for the Elegance. With its handsome looks and funky attitude, it should give the usual B-Hatchback contenders a good run for their money. 

Hello Sunny: Quality time with the Opel Corsa Cosmo.

Opel Corsa Cosmo aka Sunny.

It’s not often that we name a press car, we only have it for a week so there generally isn’t enough time for us to get too attached to it. This wasn’t the case with the bright yellow Opel Corsa Cosmo aka “Sunny” that was delivered to us over the past week. First and foremost, the colour. It’s bright yellow and we have never been one to enjoy driving a car that makes you squint due to the brightness of its hue. That being said, the yellow paintwork on this car was almost a subliminal message from Opel about the character of this car. See many small cars now feature small three cylinder engines, which generally do the job depending on how many people you have in the car and how steep the uphill is.

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Opel on the other hand has chosen to do something that only a few manufacturers are doing, they have decided to turbo-charge their 1.0 litre three cylinder engine. The results? A nippy rev-happy engine that has no problems going uphill and lugging around humans of various shapes and sizes. The car feels like it loves to be driven and as a result, because you’re enjoying yourself behind the wheel, the yellow paintwork seems to add to the fun factor of it all.

Earlier we referred to people of different shapes and sizes, this is another positive aspect of the Opel Corsa, it can actually fit people in the back. We love it’s sibling the Opel Adam, but its limited space in the back makes the Corsa the more practical choice to have. As a young team at TheMotorist, space counts for us and many other people in our age group and life cycle. The thing about being twenty-something, is that being social is an important part of your life, you want the flexibility to say “let’s jump in my car” and it’s not a problem.

Another thing about being young in the times we live in, is that our lives revolve around technology, which is a good and a bad thing. The good part is that we’re tech-savvy but the bad thing is that we expect everything to be the same, whether it’s our cell phone or our vehicle. It’s almost as if Opel built the Corsa and filled it with the technology it has especially for young people. The Cosmo has all the bells and whistles as standard but if you want the car to feel complete, the optional park distances sensors are worth the extra money.

The infotainment system is a peach, the Bi-Xenon lights look great and really improve night time visibility and the cabin is modern yet simple. The car has a feeling of automation to it that makes you feel like you’re in a good place. The only feature I would leave out is the Advanced Park Assist 2, simply because you will use it less than you think. The system works well seven times out of ten but personally we think it’s easier to beef up your parking skills and do it yourself. The car is not huge so it parking itself is not exactly necessary, especially when you have the “City” steering mode which reduces the weight to the steering wheel, making it easier to turn the wheel.

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Driving the car everyday makes you think economically as the on-board computer tells you to shift up all the time. Even when you think you’re in the right gear, the car keeps instructing you to change up, teaching you to drive it in the most economical way. The start-stop system works well too but in heavy traffic it did eventually get on our nerves so we gave it a break.

So after a few days went by we looked forward to driving Sunny more and more, it hit us, we were attached. Yes it was yellow and yes people stared at it, but we didn’t care. We formed a relationship with that little car, we felt like it was working with us all the time and it feels good to get that feeling from a car. The fact that we were driving a car that cost around R245 000 with the features it had, also made us relax because sometimes driving a very expensive press car can be a bit intimidating.

Would we live with it? The article answers that question. Would we recommend it? The same goes for that question too. You don’t have to have it in Yellow, there are other colours too, but most times it’s nice to have something to brighten up your day…literally.

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