• The entry-level 1.2-litre model delivers 55kW, and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
• Direct rivals to the Corsa include the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta.
• All models come with a three-year or 120 000km warranty, and three-year or 45 000km service plan.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
It is good that the Rüsselsheim brand is back with a bang after fading a little the last few years.
The new Corsa range from Opel offers a wide span of choices, from a hottish hatch in the form of the 96kW 1.2 turbo 6-speed auto to the fairly mundane 55kW but practical manual choices, ideal for a mom’s taxi or city runabout.
The Elegance model is fully equipped from climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen, 180° parking camera, electrochromatic interior rear-view mirror, collision mitigation braking at low speeds, driver drowsiness alert, smartphone mirror link to lane keep assist and LED headlamps and daytime driving lights. Quite fancy, actually, but in a restrained, matter of fact way.
It must be said that some of the interior plastics are a little on the scratchy side, but the fit and finish is good. The lower-spec models lose the hi-tech advanced driving aids and have a smaller screen. Space is pretty good with usable rear legroom and a 309-litre boot, which can be expanded by folding the seats down – it is a big little car. The seats, driving position, steering wheel, visibility are all on par.
The 1.2 turbo is the model to get if your budget allows it. It has plenty of get up and go with class-leading acceleration and handles sweetly. A nice car to drive. Expect fuel consumption well below 6-litres/100km on average and touching 5-litres/100km on the open road. The performance and handling at least matches that of the Polo and Fiesta and may be marginally more fun.
Remember the Opel Boss of the 1980s? While not quite in that league, this little Opel reminds one of the halcyon days of Opel in SA when it was marketed by Delta. The nippy 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine delivers 96kW and 230Nm, which is 9kW and 30Nm more than the Polo TSi R-line.
In a nutshell, the new Corsa is a very competent compact car with enough space and performance to take on the market leaders and satisfy most customers as it is decent to drive and well packaged. Other choices include the Peugeot 208 with which it shares a platform, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Mazda2.
The base model 1.2 55kW 5-speed manual is listed at R274 900, while R294 400 gets you the 1.2 55kW 5-speed manual with Edition trim and quite a jump to R386 9800 for the 1.2 Turbo 96kW 6-speed automatic in Elegance trim, all with a three year or 120 000km warranty and three year or 45 000km service plan.
This article was first published in the District Mail Community Newspaper.