Vauxhall retains style independence but not drivetrain in new Corsa

The Peugeot-fication of Vauxhall is well underway, highlights Iain Robertson, as he reviews the first snippets of information made available for the comprehensively redeveloped Corsa line-up but it is great news on the design front.

Ever since the French PSA Group, aided by its Chinese partner’s funding, was able to acquire the assets of both Vauxhall in the UK and Opel in Germany, a fear existed that it would weigh-in heavily and remove some of the better aspects of the former General Motors’ products. While that has occurred with the running gear for the new Corsa, which includes the French firm’s platform engineering, the Vauxhall brand has been allowed to retain its design independence, which is great news for Mark Adams and his team based at Russelsheim, Opel’s headquarters.

Mark has been responsible for much of Vauxhall’s strong styling strategy for the past few years and his design language is abundantly clear in the profile of the all-new Corsa model, which will carry both Vauxhall and Opel badges. The brand is registering new model interest at this stage, with first UK deliveries expected to take place this autumn.

Vauxhall’s fifth generation Corsa has achieved a significant weight reduction, with the new model weighing in from just 980kg, a saving of around 108kgs from the outgoing version. The benefits are myriad and every Corsa will feature improved performance and handling agility, while also gaining from increased efficiency, whether the model is powered by an electric motor, which is central to the new Corsa range’s impact, or a conventional internal combustion engine. Despite losing around 10% of its kerbweight, the Corsa retains similar dimensions to the outgoing version at 4.06m length, with five doors as standard.

The light-weight design was created using the latest virtual development methods. The specific use of different steel grades and both welding and gluing methods enabled the Corsa’s significant weight reduction. This includes the consistent use of high and ultra-high-strength steels, as well as the optimisation of load paths, connections, structure and form. It is a major achievement.

The new Corsa will be the first car in its class to feature adaptive, glare-free, full-LED headlights. Previously seen on both Astra and Insignia, Vauxhall’s pioneering glare-free lighting, which is known as IntelliLux LED Matrix, is technology previously found only in higher value cars. The glare-free matrix headlights, which are just visible in the teaser picture, adapt their illumination output automatically and continuously to the prevailing traffic conditions, switching elements on and off according to requirements. Both approaching traffic and vehicles being followed are simply eliminated from the lit area, glare is reduced significantly and drivers of the new Corsa will be able to enjoy the maximum nocturnal visibility.

Beneath the bonnet, PSA Group’s existing 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engines that develop either 72bhp with a 5-speed manual gearbox, or 97bhp with the choice of either 6-speed manual, or 8-speed fully automatic transmissions, power the Corsa. A 1.5-litre 97bhp turbodiesel will also be available.

MSG Summary

Promising both enhanced refinement and zestier performance, the new Vauxhall Corsa is an evolutionary delight, benefiting from significant weight reduction and vast improvements to interior décor. We shall have some first drive information imminently.

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