The Opel Corsa is a supermini car engineered and produced by the German automobile manufacturer Opel since 1982. It has been sold under a variety of other brands (most notably Vauxhall, Chevrolet, and Holden) and also spawned various other derivatives.
Corsa A (1982–1993)
The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982. It went on sale first in France, Italy, and Spain - markets where small cars represented from 34 to 43 percent of sales. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door versions arriving in 1984. In certain markets commercial "van" models were also sold, with or without rear windows depending on local requirements. In mainland Europe, the saloon versions were known as the "Corsa TR" until May 1985 and received an eggcrate grille rather than the four slits used on hatchbacks. The saloons were intended to appeal to customers of the Opel Kadett C and its sister the Vauxhall Chevette who still desired a traditional 3-box sedan shape - but it did not sell particularly well in most of Europe but were popular in Spain and Portugal, among other markets. While only taking ten per cent of French Corsa sales during the car's first half year, the TR represented half of all Corsas sold in Spain.
The basic trim level was called just the Corsa, which was followed by the Corsa Luxus, Corsa Berlina and the sporty Corsa SR. The SR receives a spoiler which surrounds the rear window, alloy wheels, checkered sport seats, and a somewhat more powerful 70 PS (51 kW) engine. Six years later, the Corsa received a facelift, which included a new front fascia and some other minor changes. The models were called LS, GL, GLS and GT.
The Corsa A was known in the United Kingdom market as the Vauxhall Nova (as it was considered that Corsa sounded too much like "coarser"), where it was launched in April 1983, following a seven month long union dispute due to British workers being angry about the car not being built there whilst British-built cars were subject to huge import tariffs in Spain prior to its entry into the European Community.
Power first came from 1.0 L 45 hp, 1.2 L 55 hp, and 1.3 L 70 hp petrol engines. (The first engines were all equipped with carburetors; fuel injection came later, but never for the 1.0.) The engines were based on the well proven Family II design, except for the 1.0 L and early 1.2 L engines, which were based on the OHV unit from the Kadett C.
There was also an Isuzu-built, 67 PS (49 kW) 1.5 L turbo diesel engine available, which was also used in the Isuzu Gemini at around the same time. The diesel joined the line up in May 1987, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, along with the sporty GSi. The engines and most of the mechanical componentry were derived from those used in the Astra/Kadett. In September 1987 the Corsa received a light facelift, with a new grille that was now the same on hatchbacks and sedans, an updated interior, and other slight changes. For the 1989 model year the 1.3 was bored out to 1.4 liters. Power remained the same, although torque increased.
A rare "Sport" model was produced in 1985 to homologate for the sub 1,300 cc class of Group A for the British Rally Championship. These sport models were white and came with unique vinyl decals, a 13SB engine with twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, an optional bespoke camshaft, a replacement rear silencer, and few luxuries. This gave 93 hp and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) with a 0–60 mph time of 8.9 seconds. These are by far the rarest models (500 produced) and thus acquire a high market price if one does become available.
A 1.6 L multi point fuel-injected engine with 101 PS (74 kW) at 5600 rpm (98 PS or 72 kW in the catalysed version) and capable of 186 km/h (116 mph) was added to the Corsa/Nova at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show, giving decent performance and being badged as a GSi ("Nova GTE" in pre-facelift models in the United Kingdom, later models were all called GSi).
The GSi's engine mapping had been carried out by Opel tuning specialists Irmscher. A model with the 82 PS (60 kW) 1.4 L multi point fuel injected engine, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi, also became available as the Nova SRi in the United Kingdom. In January 1988, a turbocharged version of the Isuzu diesel engine was introduced, with power increased to 67 PS (49 kW).
The design was freshened in September 1990, with new bumpers, headlights, grille and interior, but it was clearly recognisable as a gentle makeover of an early 1980s design, when it had to compete with the latest two all new superminis in Europe – the Peugeot 106 and the Renault Clio.
Corsa B (1993–2000)
In April 1993, the Corsa B was unveiled and in the United Kingdom Vauxhall dropped the Nova name, with the car from now being known as the Corsa. In May 1994, it was launched by Holden in Australia, as the Barina, replacing a version of the Suzuki Swift sold under that name. This proved a success, and was the first Spanish built car to be sold in significant volumes in the Australian market.
Unlike the previous model, there was no saloon version for the European market, but one was designed in Brazil for the Latin American market, as saloons were much preferred to hatchbacks there. This was also introduced in South Africa and India. An estate car, panel van and pickup truck were also introduced, and a convertible version was produced for the Australian market, called the Holden Barina Cabrio.
Italy was the only European country where the Argentinian built wagon version was offered. The Corsa also spawned a small coupé, named the Opel Tigra.
Four cylinder power came from 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 litre Family 1 petrol engines, as well as an economical 1.5 L turbodiesel engine. Most cars received a five speed manual transmission, although a four speed automatic was also available with certain engines. In the first few years, a four speed manual was also available coupled to the smallest 1.2 litre engine.
1.0 L three cylinder and 1.2 L four cylinder Family 0 economy version was launched in 1997, and a Lotus tuned suspension was added as well as an exterior refresh.
The saloon model was built and sold in Latin America as the Chevrolet Corsa Classic until 2010, when it was replaced with the model previously released for China in 2005 as the Buick Sail. A budget version introduced for the Brazilian market, the Chevrolet Celta, has bodywork resembling the end of the 1990s Vectra and Astra. The Celta was sold in Argentina as the Suzuki Fun for a certain period.
In 2011, General Motors stopped representing Suzuki in Argentina, so the Celta reverted to its original name under the Chevrolet brand. Argentinian production began in September 1997, where it was the first locally built Chevrolet passenger car since 1978.
The Latin American Corsa received a small facelift in 1999, with smoother bumpers, and from April 2002 (when the new Corsa II was introduced) the Corsa B began being marketed as the "Corsa Classic" until 2010, where it became the "Classic" when the Corsa B derived Chevrolet Sail and Chevrolet Celta replaced it. Production finally ceased in October 2016.
The saloon and estate car versions were produced in China by Shanghai GM as Buick Sail and Buick Sail S-RV, respectively from June 2001 to February 2005. That year, they received a facelift and became known as the Chevrolet Sail and SRV. In September 2006, Chile became the first country outside China to receive the Chinese assembled Sail; it is called the Chevrolet Corsa Plus there, available as a four-door saloon with a 1.6 L 92 PS (68 kW) engine. The Corsa Plus includes dual front airbags, anti lock brakes, air conditioning, electric windows and central locking as standard equipment.
In India, the hatchback, saloon and estate car versions were sold as the Corsa Sail, Corsa (or Corsa Joy) and Corsa Swing respectively until the end of 2005. The hatchback model was still being produced, and extensively marketed in South Africa as the Corsa Lite under the Opel branding until 2009; at which point it was discontinued.
In Thailand, the Corsa was available as an Opel with a fuel injected 8V 1.4 litre engine and "Joy" and "Swing" variants, both available with three or five door and either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
Corsa C (2000–2006)
The Corsa C was revealed in 1999, and introduced to the European market in October 2000, and the facelift arrived in August 2003. General Motors dubbed the new chassis Gamma, and intended to use it for a number of other models. A saloon version was also offered in Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East.
The Brazilian version of the Corsa sold in those countries featured a more conservative front end than its European counterpart.
Brazil also offered a pickup truck version of the Corsa named the Chevrolet Montana (sold in some markets as the Tornado), which, as well as the saloon, was exported in a completely knocked down form to South Africa for local assembly. GM South Africa marketed the hatchback simply as The New Corsa, and the pickup version as the Corsa Utility.
In 2007, the Corsa C saloon was dropped in South Africa. The Corsa hatchback in South Africa did not have the same front fascia as the European Corsa.
Instead, it had the same front fascia as the Latin American Chevrolet Corsa, possibly due to manufacturing costs. This car was 2001 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.
In Japan, where the car was sold through Yanase as the Opel Vita, production ended in April 2004, due to sluggish sales.
Corsa D (2006–2014)
The Corsa D was created using a new version of the SCCS platform, which was co developed by General Motors/Opel and Fiat, and is also employed by the 2006 Fiat Grande Punto. The first official pictures of the Corsa D, were released by Opel in May 2006. In the United Kingdom, What Car? awarded it 2007 Car of the Year. The Corsa D placed second in the European Car of the Year for 2006, only behind the Ford S-Max.
The Corsa D is available in both three and five door versions, and marketed as the Vauxhall Corsa in the United Kingdom. The same engines sizes from the Corsa C were available at launch, although the 1.3 L CDTI and 1.7 L CDTI engines were upgraded, with power ranging from 75 PS (55 kW) to 125 PS (92 kW).
The 192 PS (141 kW) OPC/VXR version went on sale in the beginning of 2007, with a 1.6 L turbocharged petrol engine powering the front wheels.
The 75 PS (55 kW) 1.3 CDTI engine was updated in the middle of 2007 to bring CO2 levels to just 119 g/km, meaning that twelve months' Vehicle Excise Duty in the United Kingdom costs £30 and is eligible for the Plan 2000E (a rebate of €2000 in the purchase of a new car) in Spain. The car is also used as the villain car in Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The Corsa D was briefly available in Australia under the Opel brand name, rather than as a Holden as the Corsa B and C had previously been, during Opel's short lived foray into the Australian market. Less than a year after launching, Opel Australia announced it was ceasing operations, removing the Corsa from the Australian market.
In addition to not being sold in the United States or Canada, the Corsa D was never available in Japan either, as Yanase had stopped importing the Opel Vita in April 2004, due to declining sales. Opel withdrew altogether from the Japanese market in December 2006, due to low sales the previous year.
At an early stage of the Corsa D's development, a designer was dared to work an image of a shark into the interior. He managed to hide it so well, on the hinge of the glove compartment, that it was never removed, and featured on all production models.
Corsa E (2014–2019)
The Corsa E debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
Interior space stayed the same, as did the 285 litre boot, but the interior was completely new. All of the exterior sheet metal (except the roof) was revised, but the underlying chassis and body structure (especially the glasshouse), as well as some minor parts, were carried over from Corsa D.
Corsa F (2019–present)
The original project of Corsa F was being initially planned to be released in the third quarter of 2017 on a GM platform (reportedly, the G2XX), but the project was cancelled due to acquisition by Groupe PSA. It restarted development after a switch to PSA CMP (EMP1) platform in 2017.
Subsequent to the acquisition of the Opel and Vauxhall marques by Groupe PSA (Peugeot-Citroën) having been announced on 14 February 2019, the 2019 Corsa F is based on the Peugeot 208 Common Modular Platform (CMP) (the first of the Opel/Vauxhall nameplates to be built no longer on a GM platform, but on one from Peugeot/Citroën/DS).
In December 2018, Opel announced the launch of an electric version of the Corsa, called the Corsa-e, to go on sale in 2019, with a price close to €20,000. The main competitors to the Corsa-e were the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe. The electric motor produces 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp) and 260 N⋅m (192 lb⋅ft) of torque, and a 0-100 km/h acceleration takes 8.1 seconds.
The Corsa F supermini marks the arrival of new petrol and diesel engines as well as an all-electric Corsa-e into the range. Two petrol engines and one diesel engine will be available, starting with the 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine that produce 75 bhp and comes with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard. Sitting above is a three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbo PureTech engine which is shared with Peugeot and Citroen models produce 99 bhp and 250 Nm of torque. It comes with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox option. The diesel engine is an BlueHDi 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel, producing 99 bhp and 250 Nm of torque.
The standard Corsa is almost identical to the electric version, with the exception of different alloy wheel designs. The interior will include a touchscreen infotainment system with two set-ups are available; seven-inch Multimedia Navi system or 10-inch Multimedia Navi Pro.
Weight of the car is also improved, with lightweight underpinnings, redesigned bodyshell and new aluminium engines which Opel claims 10 per cent of kerb weight have been reduced across the range and will have a good balance between sportiness and comfort. The body is constructed from a range of high-strength steels, saving a total of 40 kg over the seventh generation model. A new aluminium bonnet will also replace the previous generation's steel unit, saving a further 2.4 kg. However, the Corsa is slightly larger than its predecessor, with a larger body and longer wheelbase to allocate more interior and boot space.
Opel's latest range of aluminium three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will save around 15 kg over the predecessor four-cylinder units. 10 kg has been reduced off the seats, losing 5.5 kg at the front and 4.5 kg at the rear, totalling around 108 kg of weight reduction.
First deliveries will start April 2020, while the pure-electric model will follow after.