Rediscover fun: Opel continues model renaissance with the new Corsa

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 16, 2015

After reaching its peak in popularity during the 1990’s, but falling on tough times during the early 2000’s, US auto giant, General Motors (GM), has wasted little time in introducing a barrage of new models wearing the famous Opel blitz badge to South Africa, with the most notable being the Adam boutique hatch, Mokka compact crossover and the subject of this review, the all-new Corsa supermini.

Having first experienced the newcomer during GM’s annual ‘More Than a Test Drive’ event at the Aldo Scribante racetrack, in Port Elizabeth, I came away impressed with the willingness of its three-cylinder turbo-engine and handling on the track’s tight and twisty layout.

Known internally as the Corsa E, the new model borrows heavily from the Adam in the styling department with the same sweptback headlights and single frame chrome grille with the Opel blitz prominently positioned in the middle.

Step inside, the Adam influence continues with the same dashboard, adorned with soft touch plastic, and seven-inch Intellilink touchscreen infotainment system with pre-loaded apps for TuneIn, Stitcher and BringGo navigation.

Its track prowess proved, I tested the Corsa’s long distance travel abilities – from PE to Humansdorp. Despite the torrential rain that pummelled the province during my tenure, our range topping Cosmo model proved to be an accomplished cruiser with wind/road noise being well-dented and the ride setup spot-on.

Standard spec is comprehensive and includes rain sense wipers, Bluetooth audio streaming, 16-inch alloy wheels, auto on/off bi-Xenon headlights with daytime running LED’s, cruise control, City Mode Steering, six airbags, ABS with ESP and EBD, Hill Start Assist and, (optionally) front and rear parking sensors as well as Active Park Assist.

With 85 kW and 170 N.m of torque, the 1.0-litre EcoFLEX three pot rates as the undoubted star of the show with more than enough low-down power and torque. Connected to a slick and precise six-speed manual gearbox, the Cosmo wasn’t left wanting and made light work of the N2’s hilly sections despite being in top gear.

Likewise fuel consumption for the trip came to 6.2 L/100 km and could have been better had it not been for the air-conditioning having to constantly demist the windows.

My time spent with the Corsa was brief but fulfilled the expectations I had when I first drove it on the track. It proved once-and-for-all that Opel is definitely back!

To book a test drive, visit Williams Hunt Port Elizabeth, corner of Knight Street and the William Moffett Expressway, or call 041 396 4600.