I’ve been looking forward to getting my first test car for RunRideDive, so it was with high expectations that I greeted the arrival of the Magma Red Opel Corsa Enjoy 1,0T. I’ve always had a bit of a weakness for red cars, so this was a good start and would probably be my choice of the fourteen colours on offer for the range.
The new Corsa looks stylish and manages to stand out from the crowd, with a wide, distinctive front grille featuring a bold Opel logo. The Enjoy comes equipped with front fog-lamps and neat 16” alloy rims as standard, and the overall look is modern and fun. The Mirrors and door handles are colour coded, and the doors and rear hatch all close with a satisfying “thunk”. I do think the rear view of most of the small hatchbacks looks rather generic, though, and here the Corsa is no exception.
The interior has a pleasing level of quality finishes, far better than some of the hard plastic I’ve seen in affordable hatches. The cloth seats come in a practical black or black, and the driver’s seat has enough adjustability for even tall drivers to make themselves comfy. Shorties are equally well accommodated, due to the steering wheel adjusting for tilt and distance. Impressively, there is some leg room for the average rear passenger, too.
The Enjoy is well equipped with creature comforts. Air con is standard, as are one touch front electric windows, Bluetooth, a decent sound system with six speakers and the usual USB/MP3 inputs. The luggage capacity of 285 litres is sufficient for a weekly grocery shop or weekend bags for two, and if you need to make some extra space you can fold down both the rear seats in a 60/40 configuration.
It’s been a while since I’ve driven an entry level hatch, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the Corsa. First and foremost, the3 cylinder, 1,0 litre turbo engine is a gem – with 85kW and 170Nm this motor delivers in every way. With virtually no lag, the Corsa is responsive and keen from the get go, and maintains highway speeds with ease. It’s easy and great fun to drive in town, with a slick six speed gearbox, and getting in and out of narrow parking spaces is a cinch with the speed sensitive power steering and optional front and rear park assist. There’s even a City steering mode if you’ve overdone arm night at the gym and feel you need some extra assistance…
Although I felt the steering was a little floaty at speed, handling is good and cornering is precise. With discs all round, braking was up to the job and all the essential safety boxes are ticked: ESP, airbags all round and ABS are standard. I also really liked the optional Side Blind Zone Alert, which warns the driver when another vehicle is in the blind spot, and the standard Stop/Start Engine Control which, when activated, will cut the engine while at a stand-still to help save fuel.
We’ve had a number of Opels in our fleet, ranging from a 1993 2,0 litre Rekord that still runs every day and travels annually from Joburg to Aliwal North and back (it carries a sticker reading “Never Die”), to a diesel Astra GTC that protected our son from injury in a major accident. Although Opel seemed to have lost its style mojo for a while, I think it’s safe to say they are back on track with the Corsa and other new models. It’s also a good bet that if you buy an Opel, it’ll be a car with a degree of reliability and solid, countrywide backup.
The Corsa Enjoy 1,0T should definitely be on your short list if you’re looking for a great motor in a quality, small hatch. Fuel consumption is competitive – I managed around 6,5l/100km on an almost exclusively urban cycle – and the Corsa has a five star EuroNCAP safety rating, essential on our SA roads. With pricing starting at R216,200.00, it’s not the cheapest option in its class, but the Enjoy is a great package offering an above average driving experience. The warranty covers 5 years/120,000 kms and the standard service plan gives you peace of mind for 3 years/60,000 kms.