To every petrolhead there is an enormous sense of satisfaction when the chosen steed rears up off the line – not necessarily dragster style, but certainly not with that lethargic ‘tomorrow is another day’ kind of attitude.
On that score, the Opel Corsa 1.2 Turbo satisfies. It is a feisty little ‘un and, even in automatic guise, will quicken the pulse and happy to flip the bird at others in its class if a streetfight challenge is accepted.
On the local market the fifth generation Opel Corsa debuted with the base model, The Edition, in January of this year with Corsa and Elegance following fairly shortly afterwards with both featuring the much-revised 1,2-litre engine in naturally aspirated or turbo format.
While the new Corsa Elegance with 96 kW reaches a maximum speed of 208 km/h, its predecessor needed 15% more power (110 kW) to get to 207 km/h. With zero to 100 km/h acceleration in 8,7 seconds, the new model is 0,2s quicker than its predecessor.
The powertrains offer significant advantages such as lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions than previously – 6,3 l/100 km and 143 g/km respectively. What aids the fuel consumption is the fact its GVM of 1 650 kg is beaten only by the Nissan Micra Acenta Plus.
The Opel Corsa is also one of the most aerodynamically optimised vehicles in its class – this was achieved after Opel Engineers and Designers took the vehicle through rigorous testing and fine-tuning at the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines in the wind tunnel of Stuttgart University.
The results are a drag coefficient of just 0,29 and a reduced frontal area of just 2,13m2, meaning the Opel Corsa experiences less air resistance while in motion.
To further improve the aerodynamics of Opel Corsa, flat underbody panelling is used from the engine compartment to rear of the vehicle,reducing airflow turbulence underneath the vehicle while in motion.
The light-weight design was created using the latest virtual development methods. The specific use of various steel grades and connection methods enabled the Corsa’s significant weight reduction. This includes the consistent use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, as well as the optimisation of load paths, connections, structure and form.
Opel engineers left no stone unturned to achieve the up to 108 kg weight loss. Contributors included body-in-white (40 kg lighter), all-aluminium engines (15 kg lighter), front seats (5,5 kg lighter), rear seats (4,5 kg lighter) and aluminium bonnet (2,4 kg lighter).
The Corsa also bristles with technology including 180 degree view reverse camera, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, forward collision alert, front pedestrian detection and collision mitigation braking.
Inside it features a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, heated front seats, LED headlamps and high beam assist.
The seats may be lighter but that does not imply less supportive comfort and the Corsa is more than up for keeping the driver fresh over long distances, which it is happy to cover with or without the cruise control activated.
It does, however, look like a car that desires to be driven and relishes in the opportunity to show off a little being pressed through the twisties. Even under hard braking and cornering, the Corsa feels solid and planted on the road.
There is a little initial understeer, quickly adjusted via the throttle but, importantly, no bad manners even at the limits of adhesion – so, yes, it is a fun car to drive, and drive hard, when the opportunity presents itself.
It has come a long way from the Spartan little thing it used to be as the ‘cheapie’ entry model to the Opel family.