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First look: Holden eyes upgraded Opel Corsa

Supermini: New-look Corsa consumes as little as 3.5L/100km and could go on sale here next year.

Facelifted Corsa emerges as Holden continues to assess Opel brand launch in Oz

25 Nov 2010

THIS is the car that will open the Opel range in Australia as early as next year should GM Holden decide to launch the premium European brand here.

Revealed in Germany this week, the facelifted Opel Corsa would be positioned between next year’s redesigned Holden Barina sedan and hatch and Holden’s locally built Cruze sedan and hatch as a direct rival for Volkswagen’s award-winning Polo in the premium light-car class.

Holden continues to study the viability of introducing the Opel brand in Australia as part of a new global push by the German-based GM brand, but says no decision has yet been made and therefore what models may or may not come also remains uncertain.

However, Opel CEO Nick Reilly told GoAuto at the Paris motor show in October he was “optimistic” the brand would be established with a full line-up of models in Australia as early as late 2011, and GoAuto understands an announcement could be made within two weeks.

The light-sized Corsa hatchback has been the smallest model from GM’s Opel operations - and its UK sister brand Vauxhall - since 1982. Previous-generation SB (1994-2001) and XC (2001-2005) versions were sold here as the Holden Barina until the German-built XC was replaced by the Korean-built Barina based on Daewoo’s Kalos in December 2005.

The current generation Opel Corsa D was launched in Europe in 2006 and is assembled in both three and five-door body styles in Eisenach in Germany, Zaragoza in Spain, Miaoli in China and Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

52 center imageBased on a new version of the Gamma platform co-developed by GM and Fiat, which also forms the basis of the Fiat Punto and Alfa Romeo MiTo, Opel’s front-drive B-segment contender is available in Europe with engines ranging from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder to 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol fours and 1.3 and 1.7-litre diesel fours.

While the current Corsa measures 3999mm long, 1737mm wide, 1488mm high and rides on a 2511mm wheelbase, its successor will be based on the same Gamma II platform that underpins the next Barina (known overseas as the Chevrolet Aveo), which debuted at the Paris show and will do battle here with Toyota’s next-generation Yaris – also due for local release next September.

As we’ve reported, the Gamma II architecture will also form the basis of an all-new compact crossover to sit below the Captiva, which is expected to emerge at the Detroit show in January and could go on sale here by 2012.

The headline act of the facelifted Corsa range is the fitment of idle-stop technology as standard in the 1.3 CDTI turbo-diesel, creating a new Corsa ‘ecoFLEX’ variant that increases power output from 55 to 70kW while reducing CO2 emissions from 98 to 94g/km.

While that’s just 5g/km more than Toyota’s standard-setting Prius hybrid, the most frugal Corsa sets a new fuel-efficiency benchmark of just 3.5L/100km in three-door guise. The five-door Corsa 1.3 CDTI returns 3.6L/100km and emits 95g/km, while also delivering 190Nm of torque from 1750rpm.

The 141kW OPC version continues to top the Corsa range and also receives a new grille and headlights, bringing it in line with the rest of Opel’s model range.

That includes the all-new Astra small-car and mid-size Insignia sedan, hatch and wagon, as well as the GT roadster, the Meriva and Zafira people-movers and the Combo, Vivaro and Movano commercial vans. The Combo is the only Opel model still sold as a Holden in Australia.

Other changes under the skin of the facelifted Corsa, which goes on sale in Europe in January, include a revised chassis and new ‘Touch & Connect’ multimedia infotainment system comprising seven 4x20-Watt speakers, a five-inch colour touch-screen, satellite-navigation Bluetooth, iPod and USB connectivity.

Inside, buyers can choose between charcoal, Tabasco Orange or Steel Blue colour schemes, while exterior paint colours will now include Guacamole off-white, Grasshopper green and Henna red. A new ‘Linea’ option pack features two large stripes stretching across the length of the body with matching coloured 17-inch wheels and exterior mirrors.

Opel says the Corsa continues to come with unique features in its class, including a heated steering wheel and the FlexFix bicycle carrier. Other available equipment includes halogen Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL), Hill Start Assist and a Panorama sunroof.

Accounting for 27 per cent of its overall sales, the Corsa is Opel’s top-selling model in Europe, where it averaged more than 400,000 annual sales over the past three years.

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