Nimble Corsa packs a punch – Car Review

Hot on the heels of the Corsa’s launch, the OPC is expected to debut later this year

The new Opel Corsa packs a mean punch for a car that houses a nimble 1 000 cc under its hood. This week, the Economist took Opel’s latest vehicle through its paces at the Tony Rust Track situated 5 kilometres east of Windhoek.

A rarity amongst cars in its segment, the Corsa packs a powerful 85 kilowatts and a 170 Nm of torque, add to that a 6-speed manual and automatic gearbox setting it miles apart from its fellow competitors.
The Corsa was eager to give more when floored and eased into the corners when brought to halt. The Khomas Hochland altititude did not deter the Corsa from accelerating and its turbo was quick to give it momentum on the straights.
Easy on the eye, its front end seamlessly flows over giving the Corsa a clean look. Its 16 inch alloys add a sporty element to the overall look and feel, with its complementary sharp end and roof spoiler.
The test vehicle, the Opel Corsa Cosmo which also happens to be the top of the range within the Corsa family, comes standard with Bi-xenon cornering light control, a leather clad steering wheel, a chrome strip on its door handles, a chrome exhaust tip and chrome beltline and fog lamp housing which re-affirm its sporting ambitions. Only time will tell whether Opel will include a sportier derivative to compete against Ford’s Fiesta ST model.
The Cosmo was ergonomically appealing at first sight, and includes a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel which adjusts to City Mode at the swift touch of a button and has a speed sensitive power steering, which came into action along the race track.
The addition of cruise control and a speed limiter control on the Cosmo compliments the overall driving experience. The test model was equipped with an optional 7 inch Opel Intellink infotainment system while driving aides such as handsfree parking and side blind zone alert are optional, undoubtedly setting apart from its closest competitor in the convenience stakes.
Measured against its closest competitors, the Ford Fiesta shows its age while the class leading Volkswagen Polo is in dire need of a facelift. To its own disadvantage, the Corsa is only available in hatch while the Polo and Fiesta are available in sedan variations. Additionally, the Corsa lacks a diesel engine while the Fiesta sports a tried and tested TDCI diesel derivative under its hood. Whether the additional kW sets it apart from the bunch will set apart is a question for another day.
Buyers will pay just under a N$190,000 for the entry-level Corsa Essentia model while the flagship Corsa Cosmo retails for N$240,673. The Corsa is well specified and includes a full-sized sparewheel, front and rear brake discs on the Cosmo and anti-lock brake system throughout the range.
All models come with a service plan of 3 years or 15 000 kilometres.