Opel’s onslaught on the local car market is made up of three New Germans and I’ve just completed my stint with the 3rd one, the all-new 5th generation Opel Corsa. The version on test was the one sold as the Cosmo, and Cosmo seems to be code for “very well spec’d.” It’s mad to think that the Corsa used to be the entry-level option when buying into the Opel brand. I guess it still is but when you compare the 2015 model to all the previous ones they’re miles apart. Besides the looks of course, the car features goodies and gadgets once reserved for purely for range-toppers. For a laugh I parked it next to the Corsa B sedan that my kid drives and pointed out the similarities. Sure, it’s a good ten years older, but so far the only things in common are that it has a wheel in each corner, windows all round, it uses petrol and shares a name badge. Progress is amazing. It’s a good-looking car, the wheels have a new, unique style but are still not big enough, but that’s my usual bugbear with a lot of the new, smaller cars. The exterior trim is gives it an upmarket feel, that prominent Opel badge up front looks just right. The B-Xenon headlights on this model are a must-have and the extra cornering light control is convenient too. One thing the Corsa range is not short of is colour options - the tester was in Shiny Grey – a bit of an understated colour for my choice, luckily there are thirteen more to choose from. I’m a fan of the Magma Red, Grasshopper and Sunny Melon.
The tag line for this Opel Cosmo is “Upper-class comfort downsized for the city” and that’s an apt description. The seating position is good, and as with the Mokka that had really good seats, this one does too. The layout between all three new Germans is pretty similar, everything is within reach and things that aren’t are easily accessible via the steering controls. All the usual things I like to monitor are seen on the dash through the on board displays, there are a few less screens to scroll through than with the Adam and Mokka, but there certainly wasn’t anything that I felt was missing. The one thing I did like to see was the temperature gauge, so many new cars don’t have one and coming from a history of cars that needed the heat monitoring thanks to dodgy thermostats, it’s good to have in place. The blind spot warning lights that are incorporated into the side mirrors is a favourite feature as I mentioned with the Adam - all cars should have this. One thing to look out for with it though… Early one morning on a quiet, nameless stretch of road I was going a little faster than usual and I couldn’t for the life of me get rid of an annoying car in the next lane that was hanging back in my blind spot, so I slowed down for him to pass and he promptly disappeared. I tried remembering which roads had stories of ghost cars attached to them until I eventually realised that at 140km/h, the blind spot warning lights stay lit. There you go, extra safety for free.
The fit and finish of the interior is also very good on this Cosmo model. The leather steering wheel is good quality with fat stitching that’s sure to stand the test of time. The dash and door cards are also good quality; they’re plastic without looking too plastic if that makes any sense. The strip through the middle of the dash (running from left to right) is colour-coded to the exterior paint and looks good, classy even. The entertainment system is once again the Intellilink system with a 7-inch touchscreen that has a host of ways to connect to it. It also features the Stitcher and TuneIn apps pre-loaded as well as the BringGo navigation app. There’s also the usual park distance sensors to make sure you keep the exterior spotless, something I quite like, especially for reversing thanks to when I once reversed in to the a dealer principle’s brand new car at a dealership – at speed. Everything can be set to auto for the lighting and wipers, there’s cruise control and the very handy Advanced Parking Assist 2 that pretty much parks the car for you if you have the balls to let go of the steering wheel. The video from Opel that shows it off isn't too great, but here it is for you. The Vauhxall version for the Adam is much better, so that's also featured. The system is the same though.
APA-2 in the New Corsa
APA-2 in the new Adam
The Corsa Cosmo is properly nippy and spirited driving will see easily see love letters from Metro appear in your mailbox. 85kW and 170Nm from the 1.0 turbo is a treat and with some great gearing in the 6-speed manual ‘box the power curve is in the right spot; there’s no need for too much cog swapping. Even in 6th the small motor doesn’t need to be given a different gear when hitting an incline on the highway. It’s the same setup as in the Adam but doesn’t feel quite as aggressive which I’m putting down to the size of the car itself. During my stint I headed out to Pretoria and also to the East Rand with lots of back roads in between and I ended up using 6.8l/100km, which is pretty good going. The compact hatchback segment is hotly contested right now and I think the Corsa has a good chance to be a top competitor and when the OPC version comes out later this year it’s going to upset the cart too.
The Opel Corsa Cosmo kicks off at R236 300 and will go up if you spec more add-ons. Lower in the range the Essentia starts at R185 500 and the Enjoy starts at R216 200. All these new Opel Corsa derivatives are sold as standard with Opel’s 5-year/ 120 000km warranty and a 3-year/ 60 000km service plan. For more info point your browser to head on over to www.opel.co.za. Once again, huge thanks to main man Lunga Ntsendwana for hooking me up for the review.