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Opel Corsa 2012 Review

Ride comfort is good from the strut front and torsion beam suspension but the rear drum brakes were a bit of a shock.

Opel is pitching itself as a "premium" brand, but you don't have to be very old to remember earlier Opel products sold here as 'garden variety' Holdens; Barina and Astra. So what changed between then and now. Not much really if you look at the Opel Corsa.


We got hold of a Corsa Enjoy five door auto last week and it's pretty much like all the other cars in the segment, a little behind the times in some areas, a bit bigger in some areas, a little different. 

Premium? We think not. Our car had wind up rear windows, something we thought had been consigned into car history. It misses out on a centre console arm rest, has an overwhelmingly hard plastic dash and a four-speed auto.


The Enjoy model brings with it plenty of kit including climate control, trip computer, piano black dash trim, steering wheel controls, cruise, keyless entry, seven speaker audio and other goodies.

Our car had the $2000 tech pack that included adaptive headlights, rear park assist, auto dim rear view mirror and auto lights and wipers all what you'd consider premium features. The striking light blue metallic paint costs an extra $600 on the Enjoy auto's ticket price of $20,990.


The Corsa’s engine is a twin cam 1.4-litre petrol four cylinder with variable valve timing lifted from the Cruze (without the turbo) Barina and other GM products and is good for 74kW/130Nm. The best fuel economy we saw was 7.4-litres/100km. It passes Euro 5 emissions regulations.


It looks cheeky with a pert rear end and eagle-eye headlights -- in this case fitted with the optional adaptive see-around-corners system. The interior is roomy for the light class and there's a decent load space with a cunning two-tier floor for hiding stuff. The seats were comfortable with some side bolster support for fast cornering and the handling itself isn't too bad to a point.


It gets a five star crash rating with six air bags and stability control among safety features.


Initial steering turn-in is sharp with a sporty feel but push harder and the Corsa struggles. It loads up the front outside wheel and lifts the inside rear so the limits are clearly defined. Ride comfort is good from the strut front and torsion beam suspension but the rear drum brakes were a bit of a shock.

We found the four-speed auto annoying particularly on highway uphills where it hunts from third to fourth to maintain a given speed. Performance can best be described as adequate. It might be different in the manual. We drove the Corsa for about 600km on the highway and urban roads and found it pleasant enough. The ride is comfortable but the trip computer and other electronic controls such as the air conditioning are difficult to master. It has a space saver spare.


Corsa is in against a swag of really good light cars: Ford's Fiesta, Holden Barina, Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio to name a few. Against competition such as this, the more than four-year-old Corsa struggles a bit.

Opel Corsa

Price: from $18,990 (manual) and $20,990 (auto)
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Resale: N/A
Engine: 1.4-litre four cylinder, 74kW/130Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-speed auto; FWD
Safety: Six airbags, ABS, ESC, TC
Crash rating: Five stars
Body: 3999mm (L), 1944mm (W), 1488mm (H)
Weight: 1092kg (manual) 1077kg (auto)
Thirst: 5.8L/100km, 136g/km CO2 (manual; 6.3L/100m 145g/km CO2 (auto)

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Range and Specs

(base) 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,290 – 6,270 2012 Opel Corsa 2012 (base) Pricing and Specs
Colour 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,840 – 7,040 2012 Opel Corsa 2012 Colour Pricing and Specs
Enjoy 1.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,720 – 8,030 2012 Opel Corsa 2012 Enjoy Pricing and Specs