Hatchbacks are my thang, I've always loved them, I much prefer the shapes available out there compared to sedans (even though I own a sedan now, but that's another story). You do of course, get some that are better than others, and in some situations you'll find a car that's really, really good but it gets overlooked in favour of the usual options out there. Take this Opel Corsa Sport for example. This thing is a cracker of a car, but at all the aftermarket events I attend, I'm yet to see one that's been given the usual treatment of wheels, a slam and some engine fiddlings, and I cannot figure out why? Yeah, I know most people in the scene opt for VW products thanks to the huge availability of parts, spares and tuning options, but there's just as much potential with this rival German hatch.
The Opel Corsa Sport actually arrived in SA in a while back, to differentiate the model from the rest of the range, the Sport can be had with an OPC Line kit made up of front and rear bumper extensions, side rocker mouldings, and carbon fibre mirror covers. There's a meaner looking exhaust tip too, but the 17-inch dark titanium wheels are what make me smile. The exterior looks are good, the Corsa Sport certainly holds its own against the rest of the cars in this segment. To give buyers a better sense of individuality, the little hatchback can be had in a choice of 15 exterior colours of which five are flat and ten are metallic.
Inside the cabin of the Opel Corsa Sport things are pretty damn good too. There's a chunky leather-bound multifunction steering wheel with that sporty (I have no idea why it makes it sporty, it just does) flat bottom. Interior trim matches too, with a black leather gear gaitor, some Piano black finishings, sport-like alloy pedals and a handbrake lever and gear knob from the Corsa OPC parts bin. Moonray Sports seats are in play and they're great too; high bolsters to keep you in place during hard cornering and they have a cool crosshatch pattern - they're not officially available in leather, but if you buy from the right dealership, it can usually be added for an extra fee. As with all new Ooepls there,s that really good and easy to use Intellilink infotainment headed up by 7-inch touchscreen. On the driver aid and safety front you'll find all the usual acronyms in play like ABS, BAS, PDC, ESC, TC and SLS. Convenience features also include auto lighting, auto wipers, cruise control, cornering lamps and also Advanced Parking Assist 2 that will scan a row of cars and identify one that the car will fit it and it will then park for you. It's not perfect though, there are a few thing smissing that I'd like to have in a Sports model, like the ability to turn the traction control off, along with the ESC so that track days can be more in the control of the driver than the car. I'm sure there will be aftermarket workaround by now though. Also, on this white model I just had, on the driver information screen in the speedo cluster there was no readout of the average or the live fuel consumption. This isn't a make or break feature, but I do like to know what my dead dinosaur to distance ratio is. Oddly, the last time I had one of these on test, it did have the necessary screen and was constantly in the mid 9s, a little higher than the claimed 7.4-litres/100km - but boooooost!
With a Sport badge on the car, it would need to have some decent power on tap, and while the car does only feature a 1400cc lump, said lump is turbocharged and so produces a rather healthy 110kW with 220Nm of torque. That's Mk4 GTi power in a car half the size. This power can get the Corsa Sport from 0-100km/h in 9.6-seconds, which isn't bad at all, but I can put my wotsits on a block and bet that if you could disable that TC, the time would drop a bit. This small capacity motor is paired up with a brilliant 6-speed manual transmission that's great fun to flip through the gears. Foot flat through the gears until there's no more left and you'll find yourself 4km/h past the 200 mark. The chassis and suspension are up to the task too, you can chuck this little thing around like the proverbial red-headed stepchild and it will stick to the tarmac rather well. Lift-off oversteer is possible and you can still maintain control, although this is not really recommended for Jo'burg streets. At least, not when there are any witnesses.
There really is no reason that more of these aren't out there, the overall package ticks so many of the blocks that determine what a cool, fun and quick hatchback should be. It kicks off at R297 995 and that includes a 5-year / 120 000km warranty & roadside assistance, a 5-year unlimited anti-corrosion warranty and a 3-year / 60 000km service plan.
Opel Corsa Sport Spec Sheet