Opel Corsa flexes muscles with new turbocharged 1.0-litre engine

2015-08-19 06:00
The new Opel Corsa. 

The new Opel Corsa. Photo:QUICKPIX

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OPEL has this year in quick succession released three new models on South African roads.

Two of them – the uber-trendy 3-door Adam and compact SUV Mokka – are brand-new for the local market while the third is an upgrade of an old favourite, the fifth generation Opel Corsa.

The new Opel Corsa, whose revamp is aimed at giving its competitors the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo, a run for their money, sports a redesign in looks. But more importantly, it is fitted with Opel’s state-of-the-art three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged ecoFLEX engine - which, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, is something which will certainly give its competitors something to worry about.

The new Corsa, which is available in three trim levels: Cosmo, Enjoy and Essentia, was taken for a week-long test drive on the mom’s taxi route for this week’s Express on Wheels.


With design trends seeming to be moving away from the rounded look to sharper angles, the Opel’s backside is squarer and more muscly in design than its predecessors. In front a new set of wing-shaped headlights and a bigger grille have given it a bolder, more dramatic look.


The Opel’s interior is comfortable, practically arranged and looks smart with the IntelliLink infotainment system dominating the dashboard and adding to an uncluttered, yet high tech feel.

Opel’s award-winning IntelliLink infotainment system, which is compatible with the latest Android and Apple iOS-based smartphones, is available as an option on the Enjoy and Essentia models, and standard on Cosmo.

It has a standard seven-inch colour touchscreen and its home page provides access to five functions, namely phone, audio, gallery, settings and apps. Audio streaming can also be done via Bluetooth and USB.

The steering wheel is comfortable between the fingers and the Enjoy and Cosmo models are fitted with steering wheel audio controls as standard specification.

The Corsa’s interior space is ample for a car in this market segment and two adults will be able to sit comfortably in the back. The boot is also more than adequate and can be expanded by folding the rear seats down.


The most impressive feature of the new Corsa for me was, by far, the performance of the new 3-cylinder turbo-charged ecoFlex engine coupled with the ride enjoyment.

Much of this can be attributed to its new and improved suspension and chassis sitting 5mm lower than before, and its 1.0-litre, three cylinder engine, which GM says was developed by at least 200 clever engineers.

This engine, which is, in my opinion, a strong competitor for Ford’s award-winning 1.0litre EcoBoost engine, delivers 85 kW and 170 Nm. Driving refinement, quietness and responsiveness are three of the main features that the 200 designers looked at, and they did their jobs well.

Its performance is energetic while being much quieter than one would expect from a 1.0-litre engine.

As is the case with the Adam, this engine is mated with an all-new 6-speed manual gearbox in the Corsa. It is also available in Automatic coupled with a 1.4 litre engine in the Enjoy version.

Gear shifting is smooth and effortless in the new Corsa. It’s a very responsive engine and accelerates without much coaxing. It gives a smooth, sturdy ride with great handling and confident cornering. The power-assisted steering is precise and City Mode is easy on the arms when having to turn the wheel at lower speeds and parking. Fuel consumption for the new Corsa is claimed to be 5.0L/100km.

Among the standard safety equipment are ABS with EBD and BAS, adaptive brake lights and automatic hazard warning lights, disc brakes all-round, the latest Electronic Stability Programme (ESP Plus) and six airbags, to name a few.


While the Corsa oozes with comfort and luxury specs, it is a bit disappointing to note that in the case of the entry level Essentia (which costs R185 500) you will have to pay extra for a radio/CD player with Bluetooth, USB, Aux and air-conditioner.

The Essentia’s standard equipment includes, among others, start/stop engine control, halogen daytime running lights, City Mode steering, electric windows in the front, electric mirror adjustment, tinted glass, a folding key and 15-inch steel wheels.

The next trim level is the Enjoy, which in addition to the specs found in the Essentia, also has the audio system and steering wheel audio controls, an on-board trip computer, LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps, air conditioning and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard.

Extra on the list as standards for the top of the range Cosmo models are cruise control with a speed limiter, bi-xenon headlights with cornering light control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, a leather steering wheel and IntelliLink.

Different Option packs are available on all three models. Among these are Opel’s Advanced Parking Assistant 2 (APA2) in Enjoy and Cosmo trim. This system recognises parallel and perpendicular parking spaces and takes over the steering, with the driver only having to control the pedals and gears.


The all new Opel Corsa is sold with Opel’s 5-year/ 120 000 km warranty and a 3-year/ 60 000km service plan.

Corsa 1.0T Essentia R185 500

Corsa 1.0T Enjoy R216 200

Corsa 1.4 Enjoy Auto R216 500

Corsa 1.0T Cosmo R236 300

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