This is the new Opel or if you live in Britain, the Vauxhall Corsa supermini and it was officially unveiled today prior to a world premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October. GM's European subsidiary calls the Corsa E a brand new car, and for the most part, it is, as all exterior body panels, the interior and even the engine range has been renewed, but why does it look so familiar then?
For that, you can blame the use of the outgoing model's basic cabin architecture and packaging and perhaps, Opel's reluctance to reimagine the exterior from scratch.
That's not to say that the fifth-gen Corsa doesn't look modern, because it does, especially with the Adam-style pointier front end that adopts Opel's latest hallmark design cues, and the car's sides that are more sculptured and include a ‘blade’ running across the lower door-sections. The rear end is less fancy, but it ties up with the rest of the car neatly.
There are two body styles, with the three-door model continuing to offer a differentiated, sportier styling for the greenhouse and a more rakish tailgate than the five-door version.
Since the platform has been carried over, the new Corsa is near-identical in length (+3mm) to the current model and as such, it will offer more or less the same space, both for passengers, and their luggage (285 liter boot).
However, everything else inside has changed with Opel's designers gifting the Corsa E with a more stylish and sophisticated interior that draws inspiration from the Adam. On the center console of most editions, you'll find Opel's Intellilink touchscreen infotainment set-up that operates through a 7-inch color display, and can be controlled via apps such as BringGo (for navigation), Stitcher and TuneIn.
Other available features include heated front seats, steering wheel and windscreen, along with soft-tone ambient lighting and a full-size panoramic roof, while on the safety front, buyers will be able to choose from a list including Side Blindspot Alert, High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, bi-xenon lights and a rear-view camera.
While the basic chassis architecture is borrowed from the fourth-gen model, Opel revised it with new suspension components and geometry, a reinforced, stiffer front sub-frame, and a new speed-sensitive electric power steering with a City mode for low-speed maneuvering and parking. There will be two chassis set-ups on offer, the standard Comfort and the lowered and stiffer Sport.
Along with the revised hardware, the Corsa gains a new electrical architecture that supports a number of driver safety systems such as Hill Start Assist, Automatic Park Assist (the car will self-steer into a parking place), and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
The biggest news under the bonnet is the introduction of GM's new 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo petrol offered with 90PS (89hp) or 115PS (113hp) outputs, both achieving a peak torque of 170Nm (125 lb-ft) at 1,800 rpm. Opel isn’t ready yet to share consumption figures, but it said that "when combined with a Start/Stop system, emissions and fuel consumption are expected to be exceptionally low for a petrol engine".
The petrol engine range kicks off with a revised 69hp 1.2-liter, and continues with an updated 1.4-liter naturally-aspirated four delivering 89hp and a turbocharged 1.4-liter with 99hp. The only diesel mentioned is an improved version of the current model's 1.3-liter CDTI with 74hp or 94hp that meets Euro 6 emissions standards.
There will be two new available transmissions, a manual and an automatic, both with six-speeds.
Pricing and other details about the Corsa will be released later in the year.
By John Halas