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Opel Corsa puts on a new front to boost its appeal

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Opel Corsa

Opel Corsa

Opel Corsa interior

Opel Corsa interior

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Opel Corsa

YOU could be forgiven for thinking the 'new' Corsa is just that because they have wrought so many changes.

Strictly speaking they have 'just' changed everything from the front pillars forward.

There is a new front suspension, new steering, new 1-litre engine - and the other powerplants have been heavily revised.).

But they have also heavily re-worked the cabin, equipment, and rear suspension etc.

It's an extensive revamp.

I'm not so sure about the lowering of that grille.

Is it too low?

But I am sure about the job they have done in the cabin.

That's much, much better.

Strange isn't it to hear that people said they didn't want a bigger Corsa (it stays 4.02 metres long)?

Just, I suspect, a better one. There is no doubting the improvement.

I suppose the one thing we noticed most in our frenetic drives, was how quiet it was in the cabin.

And how much we liked the driving position.

The new 1-litre 3-cyl petrol is hush-hush (we drove it in the Adam Rocks some time back) but they also worked on keeping out road, tyre and wind noise to good effect.

There is improved gear-change and they revamped the rear suspension to good effect.

Work on the chassis means there is a 5mm lower centre of gravity.

Expect the big seller to be the 1.4-litre petrol Excite (mid-trim) versions which could account for as many as 80pc of sales.

It develops 90bhp, which is plenty of power in a car of this size, and emits 119g/100km.

That puts in the €200 road tax bracket.

The Corsa will start from €15,895 for the 3dr and €16,495 for the 5dr.

There were quite a few 3dr versions at the international launch and we were struck by how different they looked from the 5drs.

The former is more coupe-like and it looked really smart. However, the 5dr is the one more likely to be bought for the practical, everyday chores of getting around.

At the launch in Frankfurt, Opel made much of the equipment on board - which includes the IntelliLink infotainment system.

This centres around a 7ins touchscreen and apps such as BringGo, Stitcher and TuneIn.

It worked well for us.

This supermini segment is highly competitive with some of the best known cars on the market sloted in there.

Competitors for the Corsa include the likes of the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra and the new Skoda Fabia (reviewed on Page 3).

And like the Fabia, the emphasis with the Corsa is on going after young families, singles etc.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to the 1-litre 3cyl turbo petrol (90bhp and 115bhp).

I think this is one of the finest new engines around at the moment. It is interesting too that this 1-litre 3cyl has a new 6spd gearbox.

The other engines have been, to quote Opel, 'completely overhauled'.

And all except the 1.2-litre petrol have Start/Stop.

They include the excellent 1.3CDTi (75bhp, 95bhp). Emissions start from 85g/km on fuel consumption of 3.2 l/100 km.

The new engines join the existing 1.2i (70bhp) and 1.4i (90bhp) petrols.

There are four trims; entry-level S, new Excite, SE and sporty Limited Edition.

We'll concentrate on the Excite models seeing that they will account for the bulk of sales.

They have Bluetooth, 16ins alloys, front fog lights, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control and LED daytime running lights.

With so many new and revised cars in the supermini segment, the Corsa needed a signifcant lift.

And it got it.

Irish Independent