2020 Opel Corsa
The Opel Corsa is one of the German manufacturer’s best selling models, and now there’s an all-new sixth-generation model out, based around the same platform as the 2019 Peugeot 208. The two cars are mechanically very similar, but what they propose are two distinct visual packages - the 2020 Opel Corsa is the more sober and restrained of the two, so it’s probably pretty attractive to you if you prefer to be more low-key and not stand out as much as you would in, say, the flashier Peugeot 208.
Aside from it sharing its underpinnings with other PSA products, the new Corsa also being offered in all-electric form for the first time. That model is called the Corsa-e and is motivated by a powertrain that is also shared with the new e-208). However, its platform sharing doesn’t affect the way it looks, and the 2020 Corsa looks like a current Opel model both inside and out. You can’t really spot the relation unless you know of it beforehand.
The 2020 Opel Corsa’s new platform also helps it shed significant weight over its GM-Fiat underpinned predecessor and, in doing so, it has become quicker, more efficient, and better at going around corners too. Sitting inside, you’ll notice the much lower and sportier driving position as well as the feeling of being cocooned in the cabin - a feeling akin to that you get from a sports car. It even feels a bit sportier inside than its Peugeot-badged cousin.
2020 Opel Corsa
Opel engineers have clearly worked hard to hide the PSA connection, and they’ve done a pretty good job overall. The car is handsome from all angles, it sits well on the road, and it does not look like the 208 with different front and rear light clusters. Its design certainly has personality and, while it’s not as striking as the 2019 Peugeot 208, it is still very good.
For its front fascia, Opel designers integrated and adapted the current corporate look, and I must admit that on this Corsa, it probably looks the best out of the entire range.
It just works with the car’s proportions and dimensions - there’s nothing dramatic or anything in particular that is worth mentioning. The Corsa just looks like a handsome, planted car from the front, no doubt helped by the wide, wrap-around headlights and the bumper-mounted fog lights that are placed at the corners of the bumper to emphasize its width.
Again, the work of Opel’s designers has to be commended.
From the side, you do not notice the Peugeot 208 connection.
Yes, the shape of the greenhouse looks like it’s pretty much the same, but with the black contrasting paint finish and the extra bit of plastic trim on the C-pillar, it’s actually hard to tell. Not much else can be said of its side profile, really, other than the fact that it has one crease that runs just above the door handles and another concave design element in the lower part of the doors - both of these are here to give depth to the side, and they do the job without making the design look fussy.
The new Corsa has a 48 millimeter (1.9-inch) lower roofline compared to that of its predecessor and not only is it lower, but it’s also very coupe-like - it slopes down quite dramatically towards the rear.
However, Opel says seats are mounted sufficiently low in the car, and that space in general and headroom, in particular, won’t be an issue.
The rear is clean, simple, and pleasant - just like the front. The main thing you’re probably going to notice is just how far forward the C-pillar is slanted. This means the rear window is quite horizontal, giving the car a bit of a fastback look. It’s from the rear that you really see what Opel designers tried to do with that extra piece of black trim on the C-pillar.
It continues with the black finish of the roof to the lower edge of the glass, creating a nice floating roof effect.
Many cars have this design trick nowadays, but this one just pulls it off better than most.
The 220 Opel Corsa will most certainly not look as hot in lower trim levels, with hubcaps and no contrasting bits (they’re probably all optional on the very base car). It will also make do without the snazzy IntelliLux LED matrix headlights with tasteful daytime running lights, and the front bumper may also have a different design for lower grade models. So far, Opel has only shown what the top of the range model looks like, and in that spec, it looks really rather good.
Just as with the exterior, when you’re inside the sixth-generation Opel Corsa, you’re not going to start screaming out that it’s a faux Peugeot. It looks nothing like the 2019 Peugeot 208, even if the basic dash architecture has to be the same. Yet Opel designers have worked wonders to give the Corsa its own unique design and I think that while it looks less futuristic and avant-garde than what you get in the Peugeot, it is the sportier looking of the two (plus it also looks more old school, and I mean that in a good way in this context).
It’s less pretentious than what you get in the 208, even though it can be had with a fully-digital gauge cluster and a big central infotainment screen that dominates the interior.
Only a few parts betray its PSA roots, like the gear selector on examples equipped with an automatic gearbox, as well as some buttons and switches. But these do not dominate the cabin, and it still feels closer to the inside of an Astra than it does to that of something from the Peugeot lineup. The infotainment itself no longer runs GM’s MyLink operating system, but a version of PSA’s new infotainment.
The steering wheel is lifted straight from other Opel models, and the sportier version of it with a flat bottom is actually a pretty nice helm to hold. I tried in the current Astra hatch and really enjoyed gripping it while throwing the car around tight corners - the same stands true for the Corsa as well.
The 2020 Corsa comes with a 7-inch central infotainment screen as standard, while the 10-inch display is also available at extra cost if the Multimedia Navi Pro option box is ticked.
It can also be had with an electronic parking brake, dual zone climate control and selectable driving modes that range from fuel-saving to sporty.
Space for passengers is better for any seat occupant, especially those in the back who have more legroom than in the previous Corsa. It’s not only the car’s slightly larger overall footprint but the clever use of packaging that helps in this respect.
All the sixth-gen Corsa’s engines will be shared with the Peugeot 208 and other models from the PSA stable. The 1.2-liter PureTech three-cylinder gasoline burning engine will be available in three states of tune: a 75 horsepower non-turbo hooked up to a five-speed manual, a 100 horsepower turbocharged variant with a six-speed stick and the most powerful will be a 130 horsepower version that will only be sold mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
One diesel will be offered, the PSA group’s new 1.5-liter with just one power output: 100 horsepower and only a standard six-speed stick; no automatic will be available for the Corsa diesel.
The big news, however, has to be the new 2020 Opel Corsa-e, the first fully-electric Corsa ever.
It runs the same electric motor as the e-208, which puts out 136 horsepower and 260 Nm (191 pound-feet) of torque. It draws juice from a big battery pack for the car’s size, 50 kWh, and so it has an impressive range rating - 330 km (205 miles) on one charge, according to WLTP.
Opel says that putting the Corsa-e in its Eco mode dramatically improves the range, by as much as 40 percent. However, the official blurb doesn’t spare any additional details no how it works, or if this is added on top of the claimed range or if the claimed range is achieved in Eco mode. The car does feature regenerative braking whose strength can be varied, but it can’t account for 40 percent on its own.
It’s actually this all-electric Corsa that’s the quickest version available at launch: Opel says it can sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.1 second, which is definitely brisk for this type of vehicle. But what’s even more impressive is how quickly it reaches 50 km/h (32 mph) from a standstill - Opel claims it requires just 2.8 seconds to do so.
This new Corsa should also be much better around the bends. It is up to 108 kilograms (238 pounds) lighter; it has a lower center of gravity and wider track front and rear too. And according to those who have had a chance to drive, it the difference between old and new Corsa models is vast - the new one feels far sportier and confidence inspiring from behind the wheel compared to the previous model.
|Battery pack||50 kWh|
|Range||330 km (205 miles)|
|0 to 100 km/h (62 mph)||8.1 seconds|
|0 to 50 km/h (32 mph)||2.8 seconds|
Prices for the all-new 2020 Opel Corsa have yet to be announced, and since it is an all-new model that’s very different (and in no way related) to the model it replaces, the current model’s pricing scheme may not apply. Even so, the current fifth-generation Corsa starts from €11,100 (equivalent to $12,380).
Unquestionably one of the 2020 Opel Corsa’s main rivals has to be its 2019 Peugeot 208 cousin. They share a lot of mechanical components, engines, and tech, but are presented radically differently. The 208 is a much more daring and bold shape than the more restrained and conservative Corsa. Hop aboard the new 208 and the same bold, cutting edge design theme continues. The 208 is clearly the more futuristic of the two, so for buyers who appreciate this more obvious design, the Peugeot will be a natural choice. However, both cars will drive pretty much the same, have the same engines, and it will all boil down to cost - as of yet none of the two have received their official pricing information for Europe.
Read our full review on the 2019 Peugeot 208
Renault also launched an all-new version of their acclaimed and very successful subcompact runabout - the new Clio, a car that kind of straddles the line between looking like a traditional, classy city car and a cutting edge, futuristic one with one wheel firmly planted in the future. Its styling is a bit more obvious than that of the Corsa, and to my eyes, it looks a bit better in part thanks to its extra boldness, plus it has a wider range of engines and an upcoming hot hatch version that we already know will be very good. On the other hand, it won’t be available as a fully-electric car, only in electrified hybrid form (not even a plug-in hybrid, just a regular one).
Read our full review on the 2019 Renault Clio
Probably the hardest nut to crack for the Corsa has to be multitalented new Ford Fiesta. It is better in every single conceivable way than the Fiesta it replaces, and it addresses the key concerns people had with that car: interior space, interior materials, and assembly quality and tech. There was nothing wrong with the way it looked and drove, which is why the design is strongly reminiscent of the previous model’s. The Fiesta’s party piece has to be the driving experience - it has the sharpest, most direct and most tactile steering of any car in its class. It is the most agile around corners and the most playful when its systems are turned off. It remains the enthusiast choice in the segment unless the Corsa turns out to be super sporty to drive (which it most likely won’t).
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Fiesta
The 2020 Opel Corsa needs to make an excellent first impression, more so than older generations. This sixth-gen model is revolutionary rather than evolutionary and with it, the new owners of Opel, PSA, want to put their best foot forward if they don’t want Opel to sink into obscurity. It looks great both inside and out; it has a very tempting and capable all-electric version that I’m sure will raise many eyebrows and plenty of tech to keep the modern car buyer entertained.
It also drives better than any Corsa before it, and that will attract new buyers who would not have considered it before. Just remember this is Peugeot that makes it and Peugeot is known for leaving the very best stuff for itself within the PSA group - in other words, the 208 will probably have extras that the Corsa won’t get, even though they could be easily fitted, just because they’d want the 208 to seem like the more fully-featured choice. We’ll have to wait and see what trim and model structure the group has in store for these two related models it’s trying to sell in the same market segment to pretty much the same buyers.
Read our full review on the 2015 Vauxhall Corsa.
Read our full review on the 2019 Peugeot 208.