Opel Corsa


Debut: 2014
Maker: Opel
Predecessor: Corsa (2006)



 Published on 23 Oct 2014 All rights reserved. 


8 long years have passed since the 4th generation Opel Corsa was introduced, yet what substitutes it is merely a facelift. Well, Opel calls it the 5th generation Corsa, saying all the body panels, interior packaging and underpinnings are new, but from the same body profile as well as the same wheelbase we are sure it is only a mid-life overhaul rather than an all-new development. In other words, this is the Volkswagen way of “new generation”.

Undoubtedly, the basic monocoque chassis is kept unchanged, although Rüsselsheim attempted to “Adamize” it with a prominent front grille, sloping bonnet and new headlights and taillights. It is better looking, of course, but since all hard points and glasses are unaltered it is impossible to deliver the cuteness of Adam or the classy feel of Peugeot 208. In 5-door form it still looks a bit bulky beside a Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio. This means you still won’t buy it for style.



Thanks to its generous 2510 mm wheelbase, which is nearly the longest in the class, its cabin continues to shine in terms of accommodation. Two adults up to 6 feet tall can sit quite comfortably behind front occupants of the same size, something you can’t say to Fiesta or even Polo. As expected, the all-new dashboard is more stylish and made of higher grade plastics. Material quality still falls short of the standards set by Polo and 208, but it is perfectly decent for the class. There are some gloss panels and an Adam-style console (with touchscreen) to lift the ambience, although part of the effect is offset by the cheap switch knobs located underneath. The Corsa is a bread-and-butter car, so don’t expect class-leading build quality.



Most engines are carried over from the old car, but fortunately there is an all-new 1.0-liter 3-cylinder direct-injection turbo – Opel finally responds to the excellent Ford 1.0 Ecoboost! Like the recent 1.6 SIDI engine found on Astra, it is packed with modern technology, such as an all-aluminum construction, direct injection, dual-continuous VVT, roller finger followers and cylinder head-integrated exhaust manifolds. The latter shortens the path from combustion chambers to the small turbocharger thus quickens spool up. It has two states of tune, i.e. 90 hp or 115 hp, each is 10 hp less than the equivalent Ford engine, but the peak torque is comparable at 125 lbft from 1800 to 4700 rpm.

On the road, the 115 hp engine offers surprising amount of punch from low rpm and sustains well to high rev. It is also remarkably quiet and smooth, thanks to acoustic seals as well as a counter-rotating balancer shaft running in the oil sump. Compared to the Ford engine, which has none of these features, it is noticeably more refined. Not just by the standards of three-pot engines, it is even more refined than most four-cylinder engines in the class. No wonder Opel sells it as the premium choice.

The 1.0 Ecotec turbo mates with a new 6-speed manual transmission. Even so, its fuel economy and emission are not as good as the equivalent Fiesta with 5-speed gearbox. The gearshift is also a little notchy.


In the chassis, Opel said the front suspensions adopt new knuckles, modified geometry and are mounted on a stiffer subframe. The rear torsion-beam axle has been retuned to improve directional and cornering stability. The dampers are not adaptive, but you have a choice of softer or stiffer dampers. The electrical power steering is now speed-sensitive, and it offers a lighter City mode to ease parking. Having said that, in terms of driving thrills the new Corsa still trails Fiesta by quite a margin. Its body control is less good, pitching more noticeably and the damping fails to calm down the motions. The steering is too light for the taste of keen drivers and it doesn’t deliver a lot of messages. The ride is generally good, but then the car is nowhere as relaxing to drive as a Polo. In other words, it fails to delight either worlds.

The end result is a disappointment. It seems that Opel has lost the last 8 years in fighting losses rather than equipping itself for rebound. When the market recovered, it found its cars are outdated thus it rushed to introduce some quick and cheap updates. Corsa is the first unfortunate victim. I guess Astra could be the next.
Verdict: 
 Published on 17 Apr 2015
All rights reserved. 
Corsa OPC


A couple of decades ago most small hot hatches offered just over 100 horsepower. Twice that number would make a decent coupe or GT. Today, 200 horsepower becomes a reality for B-segment hot hatches. Renault Clio RS has 200. Peugeot 208 GTi is recently upgraded to 208. Mini JCW and Audi S1 have even more, although their high prices actually put them out of the reach of boy racers. Speaking of boy racers, Opel Corsa OPC has long been a favourable choice to them, especially the Nurburgring edition launched in 2011. It offered not only 210 horsepower from its 1.6 turbo motor but also goodies like limited slip differential, beefier tires, stronger brakes, stiffer suspensions etc. Following the renewal of the Corsa line, the OPC model is also updated.

Like the rest of the range, Corsa OPC is a mild update from the last generation, so its proportion is familiar. Its new nose and headlights add some more character to the design, whereas the twin-exhaust, replacing the old car’s centrally-mounted single-exhaust, appears sportier. The rear spoiler and good-looking 18-inch alloys (which come with Performance pack) add further sporting flavors. It should delight boy racers, if not more matured drivers. Unfortunately, the exterior mods are not mirrored to the cabin, whose dash is ordinary to look and cheap to touch. The optional Recaro bucket seats are the only mentionable upgrade in the cabin.

Although lesser Corsa now runs an advanced 3-cylinder direct injection turbo, the OPC keeps the tried-and-trusted 1.6 Ecotec turbo with cast iron block and port-injection. It sounds outdated, but OPC did a great job to extend its life, giving it modified intake, intercooler, fuel injection and lower back-pressure exhaust. This lifts its output to 207 horsepower, 15 hp up from the old version and very close to the Nurburgring edition. Meanwhile, the torque curve gets flatter, with 181 pound-foot of peak torque spread between 1900 and 5800 rpm. There is also an overboost to 206 lbft for 5 seconds to aid overtaking. 0-60 mph is now accomplished in 6.5 seconds, while top speed is extended to 143 mph. Both figures are near the top of the class. Although the new engine is not the most responsive among rivals, it certainly feels stronger and more flexible than the old one. The power delivery is also more linear. On the downside, the engine refuses to rev high and the exhaust note is uninspiring.



The 6-speed manual gearbox gets revised linkage to give a shorter throw. It’s more satisfying to use, but the gearshift is still not to be described as slick or precise.

The OPC carries over the old car’s brakes, wheels and tires, but the suspension is heavily retuned. Geometry of the torsion-beam rear suspension is revised, while spring rates, bushings and anti-roll bars are new. Most important, the dampers have been upgraded to Koni FSD (Frequency Selective Damper) to adapt to road conditions (stiff for low-frequency bumps and soft for high-frequency motion). This greatly improved the ride comfort on long-distance driving while tightening body control in the twisty. On motorway, while the old car was stiff and bouncy, the new car feels much more composed and refined. It is now one of the best riding cars in the class.

The car still displays more body roll than keen drivers desired. That’s why this time OPC offers an optional Performance pack. For a reasonable £2400 you get a mechanical LSD, larger (330 mm vs 308 mm) Brembo front brakes, 18-inch wheels shod with 225/35VR18 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (vs 215/45VR17s), stiffer springs and dampers (still FSD). Inevitably, the ride quality suffers, though not painfully so, but in return you get fine body control, excellent traction, grip and braking. The LSD enhances front-end grip a lot and aids the car to thread into tight corners heroically, although there is a slight corruption of steering feedback occasionally. At other times, the steering is pretty accurate and faithful, although the strong self-centering feels a bit artificial. Its ride and handling should be rated very high in the class.

Can it beat Ford Fiesta ST? In terms of outright speed and cornering prowess, yes, definitely. In terms of feel, steering response and chassis balance, the Fiesta still enjoys a slim but noticeable advantage. Peugeot 208 GTi 30th edition is also slightly sharper. Other rivals can hardly match its combination of performance, handling and comfort. Most important, this car is fun to drive, something not many OPC models managed to be.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque

Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Corsa 5dr 1.0 Turbo
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4021 / 1746 / 1481 mm
2510 mm
Inline-3
999 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
115 hp
125 lbft

6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R16
1124 kg
121 mph (c)
9.7 (c)
-
Corsa 5dr 1.3 CDTI
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4021 / 1746 / 1481 mm
2510 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1248 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
95 hp
140 lbft

5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
185/65R15
1162 kg
113 mph (c)
11.2 (c)
-
Corsa OPC Performance pack
2015
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4021 / 1746 / 1481 mm
2510 mm
Inline-4
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo
-
207 hp / 5800 rpm
181 lbft / 1900-5800 rpm
(overboost: 206 lbft)
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
Mechanical adaptive damping
225/35VR18
1293 kg
143 mph (c)
6.5 (c)
-




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