DRIVING IMPRESSION: Opel Corsa 1.0T EcoFLEX Enjoy

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 8, 2015

When I first sampled the all-new Opel Corsa during General Motors’ More Than a Test Drive track day at Aldo Scribante in March, I was left rather impressed at the way the Rüsselsheim firm had managed to combine the frankly superb one-litre three cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the Adam with the practically and zippy handling characteristics of a B-segment hatch.

Chucking it into the tight and sweeping corners of the unforgiving Scribante layout, the Corsa continued to grip like it was on rails and allowed me to clip the apex and emerge the other side without a taking a trip onto the green stuff or even worse, swiping the barriers or tyre wall.

As accomplished as it was on the track, the chances of any prospective buyer taking this approach are virtually nil with its natural home likely to be in the city or going on a road trip.

The opportunity to eventually experience the newcomer in reality came last month with the arrival of the range topping Cosmo model. Despite the miserable weather that pummelled the Friendly City during my short tenure, the Corsa never put a foot and even proved to be an accomplished cruiser when I had a commitment to attend in Humansdorp.

Never feeling underpowered and remaining quiet at the national limit, the trip saw the Corsa achieving a combined fuel consumption of 6.0 L/100 km, a figure it should have bettered haven’t it been for the air-conditioning requring to demist the windows most of  the time.

Having kept its own on the track and in reality, only a third element lacked- more time behind wheel, a matter which was quickly resolved with a arrival of a mid-range Enjoy model in a colour called Meteor Grey.

Slotting in between the base Essentia and Cosmo, the Enjoy spec is likely to be the volume seller in the range and while it lacked some of the latter’s spec - no climate control, cruise control, xenon headlights and auto on/off wipers, it still remains the most complete models with more than enough kit you could ask for.

Apart from lacking its pricer sibling’s chrome trim and wire-like alloy wheels, the Corsa in Enjoy spec still remains a handsome looking thing with its boomerang LED daytime running cutting into the bumper, prominent Opel blitz on the chrome badge bar, OPC-inspired 16-inch “Hurricane” alloy wheels and rear-end styling with hints of Astra and Insignia.

The story is also pretty the much the same on the inside. Yes, the Enjoy again forgoes some the Cosmo’s brightwork, but the layout is modern and classy with the quality of the plastics still remaining some of the best I have come across in any test car.

Taking pride of place on the centre console, the now obligatory seven-inch Intellilink touchscreen infotainment system, admittedly an optional extra on the Enjoy, fails to disappoint and is both easy to use and logically laid out.

In addition, ticking the Intellilink box also adds front and rear parking sensors as well as Blind Spot Assist (BLIS), which, as its name suggests, detects vehicles in your blind spot and flashes a light on the mirror to keep you from changing lanes. This proved to be an absolute boon and defiantly worth having.

While the Cosmo proved its worth heading towards Humansdorp trim, the Enjoy had to live up to its designation when faced with a 515 km trek across the Karoo. For the ultimate test, the Eco start/stop system and air-conditioning were switched off and the speed “set” to 120 km/h.

As daunting and incredibly boring this might sound, it proved to be just as accomplished as the Cosmo. Not only was the ride comfy and seating position spot on, but the little triple up front again punched above its weight by being devoid of the characteristic thrum and providing a constant surge of low down grunt when asked, as well as a satisfying if slightly faint turbo whistle.

Likewise, the Intellilink’s Bluetooth audio streaming kept me entertained throughout the journey while the addition of a pre-loaded app for TuneIn digital radio, allowed me, once connected to the app on my phone, access to a multitude of stations without opting for the usual ones playing the same song five times a day.

Having succeeded in overcoming portly marked loads, long open stretches, countless trucks and even the infamous Olifantskop Pass, HKX 351 EC failed to miss a beat and delivered me home without a sore back or numb behind with the fuel consumption gauge displaying 5.7 L/100 km.

My week long tenure with the Opel Corsa had delivered on the expectations I had when first getting behind the wheel on the track. With its approach to refinement, classy cabin, a peach of a drivetrain setup and sorted dynamics, it easily rates a B-segment contender that has become a lot harder to ignore.

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

ENGINE LAYOUT DOHC 12v Inline 3 Turbo
DISPLACEMENT 999 cc
MAX POWER 85 kW @5000-6000 rpm
MAX TORQUE 170 N.m @1800-4500 rpm
DRIVE LAYOUT Front engine; Front-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual
ACCELERATION [0-100 KM/H] n/a
TOP SPEED n/a
FUEL CONSUMPTION 5.7 L/100 km*
EMISSIONS 117 g/km

*Figure as tested otherwise manufacturer claim