Vauxhall’s eagerly-awaited New Corsa is gearing up to inject a healthy dose of style and driving fun into the supermini market. Built in two unique body styles – a sporty, low-slung three-door and a stylish yet practical five-door, the new model is set to usher in new levels of quality, style and driving dynamics when it arrives in showrooms this autumn.
Wider, longer and more muscular looking than the current Corsa, the new model has been designed with individual style very much at the core of its appeal. The 3-dr model has a coupe-like roofline and a high shoulder line, giving it the look of a sporty car rather than an ordinary hatchback - a look already successfully achieved by Vauxhall with the much-lauded Astra Sport Hatch.
Large, dominant headlamps enhance the car’s sporty, powerful character, while the steeply inclined A-pillar manages to shorten the look of the bonnet, while at the same time lowering the roof height.
At the rear, butch wheelarches and a distinctive tapered rear window give New Corsa
3-dr an even more striking look.
New Corsa 5-dr is distinctly different. It shares the 3-dr model’s front wings, bonnet and bumper, but is completely different from the scuttle panel backward. The rear window descends at a much steeper angle, making the best use of interior and luggage space. Yet although it was designed with practicality in mind, the 5-dr retains a stylish, harmonious profile.
Bryan Nesbitt, GM Europe’s Executive Director of Design, said: “The new Corsa builds on our commitment to offer dynamic vehicles regardless of segment. The fashion-conscious exterior, coupled to a refreshingly innovative interior hope to exceed the target customer’s expectations.”
The stylish design continues inside the cabin, with neat touches including a piano-black lacquer effect on selected models, as well as translucent backlit dials for both major and minor controls.
Overall quality marks a significant step forward for Corsa, especially inside, where the consistently high grade materials give a luxurious, upmarket feel. A range of vibrant interior colours and door trims, coupled to a large glass area give the cabin a bright, modern and airy feel.
Practicality is important to all supermini drivers, and it’s another area where Corsa scores highly. The steering wheel is adjustable for both height and reach, while the clearly laid-out dash and wide choice of storage compartments and cubby holes offer plenty of space for small and large items.
There’s more space than before, too, with greater legroom, shoulder room and headroom front and rear, and ergonomically designed seats which have been created to offer the best in comfort and support.
New Corsa also promises to have one of the quietest cabins in its class, with reduced NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) thanks to specially designed engine mounts, which damp most of the movement from the engine bay to stop it transmitting into the cabin.
At launch, New Corsa will be offered in five trim levels – Expression, Life, Club, SXi and Design. Further models, including a hot VXR, will follow.
All will benefit from GM’s innovative technology features, with highlights including halogen AFL curve lighting, follow-me-home lighting and translucent interior dials.
On selected models, New Corsa will feature unique settings, which can be stored in the key. The car’s sophisticated electronics and infotainment system can allow up to five different drivers to programme the car to their preferences, saving individual choices for favoured radio station and climate control.
The infotainment system itself can rival many home living room systems, with an output of up to 150-watts and a choice of MP3-compatible CD players, DAB Digital Radio and navigation systems, as well as a Bluetooth compatible mobile phone interface with voice control.
Of course, it’s not just technological features that add to the appeal of a car, so the higher models in the Corsa line-up also get some traditional enhancements, including matt chrome-effect rims around the dials, leather-trimmed steering wheel, dark-tinted lamps and chrome exhaust tailpipes, all helping mark the car out to be as individual as its owner.
New Corsa introduces two new features to the market, the likes of which have not been seen before.
The first is a DualFloor boot, which offers a double load floor. In normal form, the boot is level with the lip of the rear bumper, making the luggage bay especially easy to load and unload. Alternatively, the DualFloor can be lowered to the bottom of the boot to allow larger items to be carried.
What’s more, the rear parcel shelf has been designed to allow easy stowage if you need to use the full height of the load bay. Instead of unclipping and leaving you nowhere to put it, it can be stowed vertically on special clips, against the back of the seat, meaning it is never in the way and unlikely to sustain damage.
Perhaps the most significant flexible feature of New Corsa though, is its innovative Flex-Fix system – an integrated rear carrier, which stows neatly away into the back bumper. When pulled out, Flex-Fix can carry up to two bicycles, while the additional rear lights required to use it are stowed away with the system itself and simply clip into place when needed.
We believe Flex-Fix sets new standards for on-board functionality, much in the same way as Zafira’s Flex7 seating did when it took the MPV market by storm in 1999.
At launch, three petrol and two diesel engines will be on offer. Petrol choices will be a 1.0-litre three-cylinder, developing 60PS; a 1.2-litre four-cylinder with 80PS is next up, while the leading petrol unit will be a 90PS 1.4-litre.
Diesel engines will initially both be 1.3-litre CDTis, in either 75PS or 90PS guise. Soon after launch, an all-new 1.7-litre CDTi will appear, with an impressive 125PS and 280Nm of torque.
All of the units are efficient, with the petrol engines taking advantage of GM’s celebrated TWINPORT technology to allow minimum fuel use with no compromise to performance. The diesels are especially fuel efficient, with the 1.3 CDTi 75PS returning upwards of 70mpg on an extra-urban cycle.
A choice of transmissions is available, with six-speed manual gearboxes fitted as standard to 1.3 CDTi 90 and 1.7-litre CDTi models, and optional Easytronic transmission on 1.2-litre TWINPORT versions. A conventional automatic is offered on 1.4-litre TWINPORT models.
Excellent driving dynamics and outstanding handling were very much the key factors behind the development on New Corsa.
Extensive development on the car was carried out on British roads and at the Vauxhall Engineering Centre in Millbrook, Beds, as well as Opel’s dedicated proving ground at Dudenhofen, Germany, to ensure it offered the best combination of sharp handling responses and ride comfort.
The car’s body is significantly stiffer than before, while the platform was developed from the ground-up as an all-new design. It has a new short front subframe, allowing for optimum chassis geometry, and a torsion-beam rear axle with three roll-rate levels.
Depending on which engine is used, these provide an ideal alignment to the different front axle loads, ensuring the car remains level and stable at all times.
Other chassis features include a V-shaped positioning of the rear trailing arms, damping at the front axle and low-friction suspension joints, all helping deliver the best in ride quality.
An enhanced steering system also makes its debut in the new model. The height and reach-adjustable wheel controls a speed-dependent Electronic Power Steering system, which on sportier models has a variable ratio, making it easy to manoeuvre in town, but delivering a much meatier feel on faster stretches of road or when cruising at speed.
Optional ESP and Hill Start Assist further add to New Corsa’s dynamic capabilities, while it also comes with Straight Line Stability Control (SLS), which works in line with the Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) to help prevent the car from skidding under heavy braking, especially useful on uneven or badly cambered roads.
As well as the many active safety features demonstrated by its dynamic chassis design, New Corsa has been designed to offer the best levels of protection in even the most extreme circumstances.
The car is made from the highest quality steel, and assembled under strict quality controlled conditions at two plants – Zaragoza in Spain and Eisenach in Germany.
Under heavy braking, when the ABS is activated, the brake lights flash five times per second to warn following motorists, while if airbags or seatbelt pre-tensioners are activated in an accident, the car’s safety system will automatically switch on the hazard warning lights.
Should an accident occur, New Corsa has been designed to offer the best protection for its occupants. Two-stage front airbags, side airbags for both front passengers and head curtain airbags along the entire length of the cabin help cushion any impact, while the passenger airbag can be deactivated if using a rear-facing baby carrier via a button on the instrument panel.
Seatbelt pre-tensioners secure the seatbelts to hold passengers in position, while GM’s patented Pedal Release System automatically drops the pedals away from the driver’s feet in the event of a heavy frontal collision.
New Corsa has also been designed to meet the latest stringent passenger safety test criteria.
The Vauxhall Corsa has always been synonymous with great value for money, and the all-new model successfully continues that well-garnered reputation.
Prices will start at just £7,495 for the 1.0-litre 3-dr Expression, rising to £13,795 for the flagship 5-dr Design 1.7 CDTi. That makes the entry-level car exceptionally competitive in its class – both better equipped and less expensive than the outgoing base model Corsa!
Equipment levels are generous, with even the Expression getting a CD player, electric door mirrors, dual front airbags and a folding ignition key.
Moving up the range, the Life gets welcome lighting, remote central locking and power front windows.
Club trim adds side and curtain airbags, an MP3 compatible audio system, the Dual Load floor, body-coloured door handles and side mouldings and steering wheel audio controls.
SXi variants get heated door mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, sports front seats, a leather-covered steering wheel, sports suspension, fog lights, a visible chrome tailpipe and dark-style headlamps, while plush Design models come with automatic lighting control, rain sensing wipers, air-conditioning and chrome-edged dials.