Boasting all-new body panels, engines, gearboxes, chassis and interior, the new fourth-generation Corsa is similar in size to the current car (indeed, is derived from the current car rather than a ground-up new design) but, insists Vauxhall, warrants the ‘New Corsa’ tag.
The new Corsa will debut at the Paris Motor Show in October before going on sale in the UK in early 2015.
New Vauxhall Corsa: design
British designer Mark Adams has had input into the Corsa for the first time (despite joining Opel as head of design in 2002, he didn’t work on the 2006 Corsa, which was a joint venture with Fiat – incidentally, the Punto joint venture sister car remains on sale…). The blades on the lower door sections are Adams’ signature, says Vauxhall.
The new Corsa has sharper body panels and more creases and featurelines, while the front end is more striking and features bold new headlights. Three-door models have an Adam-style ‘kick’ feature at the base of the rear window. But the shared glasshouse does still clearly link it to today’s eight-year old model, weakening Vauxhall’s claim that it’s a genuinely ‘new’ car. Appearances are deceptive, argues Vauxhall…
New Vauxhall Corsa: chassis
Every suspension component is new: highlights include a stiffer front subframe and new suspension geometry that delivers “more taut and precise handling… understeer has been reined in and friction dialled out”. A 5mm lower centre of gravity will help here. New speed-sensitive power steering has an ultra-light city mode and a UK-specific setup.
There are two suspension tunes, Comfort and Sport, which Vauxhall says are “raising the bar for ride comfort and rolling refinement” within the class. Redesigned rear suspension enhances stability both on straights and corners. An interesting salvo to the Fiesta’s critically-acclaimed class-leading handling and driver involvement.
New electronics bring hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring and auto-parking. They also add active safety features such as blindspot alert, lane departure warning, bi-xenon lights and a reversing camera.
New Vauxhall Corsa: engines
Star of the engine range is a brand new 1.0-litre three-cylinder ECOTEC direct injection turbo: take that, Fiesta EcoBoost, says Vauxhall. It has 90hp or 115hp (both put out a grunty 125lb ft from 1800rpm) and will achieve “exceptionally low” CO2 and fuel consumption. Bank on under 100g/km and over 65mpg for both.
Detail fact: Vauxhall says the 1.0-litre is the only three-cylinder engine on the market with a refinement-enhancing balancer shaft
It sits above updated versions of the current 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre motors, while the 1.4-litre turbo has been upgraded with 100hp and 147lb ft of torque. The 1.3-litre CDTi diesel is now Euro 6.
The current Corsa has baulky, notchy and unappealing gearboxes; Vauxhall has replaced two of them, with new six-speed manual and automatic options, but hopefully it’s improved the five-speed too.
New Vauxhall Corsa: interior
Even Vauxhall admits the basic dimensions of the new Corsa’s interior remain the same as today’s car, and that “almost everything” (rather than ‘everything’) has been redesigned.
The Adam-style instrument panel is all new, and incorporates Vauxhall’s 7-inch touchscreen IntelliLink system for the first time. This has voice control, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free and both Apple and Android compatibility. It’s app-heavy, including one called BringGo for low-cost sat nav.
The current Corsa has the option of heated seats and steering wheel: this one adds heated windscreen plus ambient lighting and a full-size panoramic sunroof.
New Vauxhall Corsa: sales potential
The Vauxhall Corsa has traditionally been Britain’s second best-selling car (and Europe’s second-favourite car too). It’s slipped in recent years, but still remains popular in Scotland and Northern Ireland – indeed, it’s been Scotland’s best-selling car for the past five years. It outsells the entire range of makers such as Citroen, Renault, SEAT and Skoda. It outsells every other Vauxhall as well.
The UK is also the biggest market for the Corsa by car: last year, we took 83,000 cars: the next biggest, Germany, took 50,000. Vauxhall’s aim for this one? Break the six-figure sales barrier and go after the Ford Fiesta. It will likely be disappointed if this isn’t the UK’s best-selling car next year.
“Corsa remains the best-selling car in Vauxhall’s range, which is testament to the continued appeal of the current model to UK buyers, supported by a raft of innovative sales programmes that make the car even more enticing,” said Tim Tozer, Vauxhall’s chairman and MD.
“So New Corsa has its work cut out – both as a worthy replacement for the existing car later this year, and as a new challenger in a highly competitive class.
“We’re confident that it will jump both hurdles with ease.”
All eyes will be on pricing and positioning. More details will be released later in the year, probably around the time of its Paris Motor Show debut in September, before it reaches dealers in early 2015.
What do you think about the new Vauxhall Corsa? Is it ‘new’ enough? Do share your thoughts with us below…