Opel Corsa 2013: Launch Review

24 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Opel Corsa 2013: Launch Review
Opel Corsa

Opel Corsa

2013: Launch Review

Opel Corsa, Corsa Color Edition and Corsa Enjoy

Local Launch

Hunter Valley, NSW

What we liked:

Ride/handling compromise

Uber comfortable seating

Standard Bluetooth

Not so much:

Outdated four-speed automatic

Some hard plastics inside

Leisurely 1.4-litre engine


Lightning strikes twice

The Opel Corsa has been a major player in the European light car segment since it first went on sale in 1982. Now in its fourth iteration, the Corsa will be sold locally under its rightful Opel branding for the first time.

But it’s not Australia’s first encounter with the car. Second and third-generation variants of the Opel Corsa were sold under the Holden Barina nameplate Down Under from the mid-1990s, alongside the Astra (small) and Vectra (medium) models.

Now standing on its own four wheels, Opel Australia will offer Corsa (light), Astra (small) and Insignia (medium) models in Australian showrooms from this month.


Connected Corsa

Corsa is offered in three trim levels locally — entry-level ‘Corsa’, mid-spec Color Edition (yes, it’s spelt incorrectly) and top-shelf Enjoy. All models offer a colour palette and décor that reflects a fashionable yet conservative sense of style, contrasted on mid-spec models with a gloss-black painted roof and mirror caps.

The model line-up is headed by Corsa, a manual-only three-door model priced from $16,490. It arrives with 15-inch steel wheels (which includes a full-size matching spare), cloth upholstery, power windows and mirrors, daytime running lamps, remote central locking, voice-controlled Bluetooth telephony, air-conditioning and a seven-speaker single-CD tuner with 3.5mm auxiliary input jack.

Mid-spec Corsa Color Edition is the cheapest in the line-up to be offered with the choice of an automatic transmission. Manual models start at $18,490 with the automatic transmission attracting a $2000 premium. The Color Edition models add 16-inch alloy wheels (offered with a temporary steel spare wheel), front fog lamps, cloth sports seats, cruise control and a trip computer to the package.

It is also available optionally with Opel’s Sports Pack which includes lowered suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels for $750.

Topping the range, and the only Corsa available in five-door body style, is Corsa Enjoy. The high-grade package sees Corsa adopt climate control air-conditioning in addition to those features listed for mid-spec Corsa Color Edition. Corsa Enjoy is further available with the optional Technology Pack, which adds acoustic rear parking sensors, an electrochromatic (self-dimming) rear-view mirror, adaptive projector-style automatic headlamps and rain-sensing wipers for $1250.

2012 Opel Corsa pricing: Corsa three-door hatch 1.4-litre 5MT $16,490 Corsa Color Edition three-door hatch 1.4-litre 5MT $18,490 Corsa Color Edition three-door hatch 1.4-litre 4AT $20,490 Corsa Enjoy five-door hatch 1.4-litre 5MT $18,990 Corsa Enjoy five-door hatch 1.4-litre 4AT $20,990 Metallic Paint $595 Sports Pack $750 (Corsa Color Edition models only) Technology Pack $1250 (Corsa Enjoy models only)


Just one choice

Launched in Europe in 2006, the current generation Corsa received a significant re-tweak in 2010. At this time, chassis improvements saw Corsa’s strut (front) / torsion beam (rear) suspension arrangement receive new shock absorber and spring settings, thicker anti-roll bars, new steering gear and EPS (electric power steering) software, and re-tuned stability control and antilock braking programs to accommodate the new, internally-ventilated front disc brakes (drums up back).

As well as improving the car’s ride and handling qualities, these improvements were also reported to improve the Corsa’s directional stability, further sharpening its celebrated cornering prowess.

The mid-life makeover also saw Corsa’s engine line-up reworked with more power, reduced fuel consumption and lower emission figures achieved across the line-up. It also saw an idle stop-start system and ‘shift-up’ indicator fitted to selected models for the first time (though idle stop-start is not offered on Australia-spec models).

In Europe, Corsa is offered with a range of petrol and turbodiesel-powered engines outputting between 48kW and 141kW. In Australia, the line-up is condensed to just one offering: a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol outputting 74kW at 6000rpm and 130Nm at 4000rpm. It is mated to a five-speed manual transmission as standard or optionally with a four-speed automatic (selected models only, see PRICE AND EQUIPMENT above).

Across the range — and regardless of specification or body style — Opel quotes a combined average fuel economy figure of 5.8L/100km for manual models and 6.3L/100km for those equipped with an automatic transmission. CO2 emissions are listed at 136g/km and 147g/km respectively. Corsa manual models accelerate from 0-100km/h in 11.9 seconds while automatic models hit triple digits in a leisurely 13.9 seconds.


Corsa has it covered

As mentioned above, the Corsa is available in three and five-door hatch body styles. Despite the addition of two more doors, the pair are dimensionally identical.

All Corsas measure 3999mm long by 1944mm wide and 1488mm tall while riding on a 2511mm wheelbase. Manual models tip the scale at 1092kg (tare) and automatic models 1077kg. Both offer a turning circle of 10.55 metres and both are fitted with a 45-litre fuel tank.

Cargo capacity, too, is near identical between three and five-door variants with a 50-litre difference in folded rear seat capacity (1050 and 1100-litres respectively) the only discernible change. With the 60:40 split-fold rear seats and cargo cover in place, Corsa offers a 285-litre load area. That’s five litres more than Volkswagen’s Polo and 84 litres more than the Suzuki Swift.

Five-door models also benefit from Opel’s clever FlexFloor false load floor in the cargo area.

In the cabin, space is similar to most other rivals in this class with the front seat accommodation of particularly generous dimensions. The rear seat feels about on par with others in the class, though without the figures to back up our claim, or other cars to sample side-by-side, we’re prognosticating to a large degree.

As for comfort, Corsa has it covered. The seats are a terrific blend of cushioning and support, and are well suited to those of average height and build. Adjustment of the seats and driving position is assisted by the usual range of fore, aft, recline and height with the steering column adjustable for angle and reach.

Corsa features a decent-sized glovebox, several (smallish) beverage holders and a number of oddment trays and cubbies all of which contribute to the light hatch’s practical packaging levels.


Five-star tiddler

All Corsa models achieve a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating with stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, and front, side and curtain airbags fitted as standard to every model in the range.

Opel Corsa

Adaptive headlamps add to the package (where fitted), as do three-point inertia reel belts, active headrests, a pedal release system and front seatbelt pretensioners.

ISOFIX and top-tether child seat anchorage points are fitted and rear doors include child locks to prevent accidental opening by curious little fingers.

Outward vision is again on par with most in this category.

Though we wouldn’t say it’s the worst in its segment, C-pillar obstruction is a factor when reversing Corsa from a 45-degree park.


Hard road ahead

As proved in our recent light car comparison the category into which Corsa falls is one of the most hotly contested and most price-sensitive of any in the Australian market. Almost every manufacturer has at least one light hatch in its line-up, most of which are now available with a turbodiesel alternative. Something Opel won’t offer in Corsa in the foreseeable future.

It is such factors that see Corsa at a relative disadvantage when compared to its better established contemporaries. With equipment, refinement, performance and safety concerns surrounding (most) Asian-sourced marques a thing of the past, Opel’s ‘European-built’ marketing ploy is thin.

Standard equipment levels are arguably skewed in Corsa’s favour, however, the pricetag is at the expensive end of the segment, along with Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta (from $16,990) or Skoda Fabia and the soon-to-be-ousted Peugeot 207 (from $18,990).

In a segment where a few hundred dollars can make or break a deal, Corsa would fare better if its MRLP competed closer to the likes of Hyundai i20 (from $15,590), Kia Rio (from $15,290) or even Holden Barina ($15,990); especially when this money buys you the convenience of a five-door body style elsewhere.


Beep, beep. Yeah?

Driving the five-door manual Corsa Enjoy in the days prior to the company’s official launch, we first notice hard and shiny interior plastics that tend to reflect on the windscreen in bright sunlight.

The piano black trim highlights on the door handles and ventilation outlet surrounds break the monotony of slate black plastic throughout the remainder of the cabin. But the painted “matt chrome” centre stack and old-school audio system is quite reminiscent of previous-gen Barina and Astra models sold here under the Holden nameplate, and could do with a refresh.

The ‘leather’ steering wheel feels quite nice to hand and the level of adjustment for the driver is up there with the best in this sector. The steering-wheel mounted audio controls, too, are decent in their tactility, complementing the feel of the indicator and wiper stalks. The fact that the top-spec Corsa is fitted with manual rear window winders, however, is a real let down; as is the lack of USB connectivity (available in MY13 variants onward), Bluetooth audio streaming and undersized cupholders.

Corsa’s gravelly sounding 1.4-litre engine is on par with the likes of Suzuki Swift and Holden Barina for output, and like those rivals takes a little while to reach full song. It wants for low-end torque, too, and needs to be revved quite hard to summons an adequate response.

On the road, this makes Corsa feel a little sluggish in keeping with fast-flowing traffic, and in this way it doesn’t stack so favourably against the likes of Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, Mazda2 and Kia Rio.

Sitting at 3200rpm at 100km/h on the highway, Corsa really wants for a sixth ratio in the gearbox, and we should imagine the case is much the same with the four-speed automatic (not tested). It would also help improve fuel economy which through a mix of urban and highway driving returned 7.0L/100km.

On the open road, there’s a little engine and wind noise but considering its standing, Corsa is remarkably well insulated. The pedal box feels typically German, offering excellent modulation and weighting, especially from the brake pedal. Its control over the meaty disc/drum stoppers is a standout.

The gearshift, too, is well weighted and suitably mechanical of feel, though we did occasionally strike an issue selecting first and reverse if the car was not at a complete stop for more than a few seconds.

The same cannot be said for the steering, however, which is rather light and quite devoid of feel. A shame considering that the car’s dynamism and ride/handling compromise is up there with the best in the biz and could be better exploited were the steering feel up to the task.

With a package that’s as well equipped and attractive as Corsa we can’t help but feels its lack of pep and relatively steep pricing is not going to do it any favours in this bustling segment. As tested the Corsa Enjoy we sampled was $20,835! And that’s before on-road costs and insurance.

If, however, you’re not fussed with performance and fuel savings, and prefer the solid build quality and comfort not usually found in this segment, Corsa could just be the ticket.

Read the latest Carsales Network news and reviews on your mobile, iPhone or PDA at the carsales mobile site Published. Tuesday, 31 July 2012

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