Opel Corsa Lite 1.4 (2004) Review

Run Ride Dive Moto
Opel 2004 _ Small

Before I say anything thing about this Corsa, I need to be honest, and say I’ve driven quiet a few Corsa’s, and never once has any of them driven the same as the other. Some of them feel very loose and twitchy on the road, others feel stiff. I’ve even driven a Corsa that always, and I mean always, sliced my hand open when I used the window winder.

But this review will be done on the Corsa in my garage, bought by my brother brand new in 2004. It came with nitrogen filled eco-tyres, a mp3/cd player, with two speakers (one in each door) and little else. Not even a clock. At the time if I’m not mistaken, it was the cheapest car one could buy new.

“she would squeal like a petrified piglet”

And for what it is, it’s great. Great in the fact that it travels from point A to point B with no issues at all. At the same time, I hate it, since it can do rather alarming things when you push it too far. And it’s not too hard to actually push too far.

When going along De Waal drive, which is most likely my favourite road in CT, on those eco-tyres, she would squeal like a petrified piglet. The car also suffers from under-steer, and going around corners that would be normal and safe in a Tazz for example, often left me with a frown on my face, and passengers, such as my granny, screaming.

A lot of the squealing tyre issue was solved by putting normal tyres onto her. And I feel like I can now get around corners with a fraction more momentum.

“the Corsa is famous for having her rear window spontaneously explode”

Run Ride Dive Moto

The 2004 Opel Corsa Lite 1.4

On a straight road, travelling at a high-speed, making sudden movements, for example, dodging a guinea fowl, will easily have you roll the car. So the Corsa is not in any regard an agile car at speed. In fact, her turning circle isn’t that impressive for a small car either. But with that said, once you know where not to push her, she becomes rather an impressive car to ride and feels firmly stuck to the road.

Of note, I’ve also noticed that off the line at red robots, she is very quick to accelerate. I’ll not go as far to say that she is impressive, but that small engine revving high can provide quick pulses for small seconds, and you feel damn good until everything else speeds past you.

For trips around a town, she is a perfect car. For longer journeys though and on freeways, I always feel like I’m hurting her. 4000RPM to maintain 120Km/h in 5th gear… while she red-lines at 6500. Seems like abuse over a distance. To fair though, she’ll move up to 140km/h by 4500RPM, but you shouldn’t be driving that fast anyway.

“I’ve been told that she wasn’t a female friendly car”

The things that have failed over the years, well, her light switch recently snapped off, and the display of the LG MP3 player no longer lights up. Neither do the lights for the fan/heater and window defrosters. None of that is very important though, and I can still turn the lights on even without the switch. Something slightly more annoying though, is that the driver’s side door speaker no longer works, or only will work when the door is open. This I take down to loosening of the wires from opening and closing the doors throughout the years.

Oddly, the Corsa is famous for having her rear window spontaneously explode when using the rear defroster on cold days. The window will be replaced by GM for no cost (well, at least it used to be, since they messed up on the tempering of the said glass.) and that’s not the odd part. It is that I still can’t even find the rear defrost switch in the Corsa I drive…

I have noticed a lot of Modded Corsas on the road, and I have to also say, that never once has one of them overtaken the basic Corsa Lite. Even the few times when one has pulled up next to me, with large free-flowing exhaust, doof music blaring and revving for a challenge. The basic Corsa Lite has each and every single time out accelerated the modded shit next to me.

So my advice, if you’re looking to buy a Corsa, don’t bother with a modded one with mags, large exhaust and amazing speakers… all its served in doing is making the car heavier and slower. Putting more strain on that already high revving engine. If you come across a Corsa with a rear wing, laugh at the owner before slapping him for being bloody stupid.

One of my biggest issues with the Corsa, is that she requires you to keep your RPM rather high, because she starts giving little jerks in 4th or 5th gear when she feels she’s going too slowly. I’m not too sure what the issue is there, since she has done it all her life, including after getting her coil packs replaced.

From the passenger’s side. I’ve been told that she wasn’t a female friendly car, since she doesn’t have a mirror under the sun visor for make-up. Not an issue in my eyes. If you have people in the back, you do feel the extra weight in the car. She will be noticeably slower, and this is with the 1.4L, so I don’t even want to know what the 1.3L is like with a load.

 

So the break down:

  • Buy this car if you are a town driver.
  • If you want a long-range driver, I advise something else.
  • Don’t bother buying a modified car.
  • Don’t mod your car.
  • Make sure she has real tyres on her.
  • Check to see if all the electronics are working.
  • Stay away from the 1.3 version, unless you like annoying other drivers or you don’t intend carrying passengers.

 

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