The Corsa, Vauxhall's second best-selling model after the Astra, and a near-permanent fixture in the UK's top-three best sellers' list, has now adopted many of the premium styling cues from other recently launched Vauxhalls, such as the Insignia, Astra and Meriva.
Styled by Niels Loeb, Vauxhall/Opel's Chief Exterior Designer working in Brit, Mark Adams' design team, the new Corsa features a signature chrome bar, carrying the new Griffin badge, stretching across the front grille, while a re-styled front bumper with a more prominent, wider lower grille gives the Vauxhall Corsa a smiling appearance.
Framing the Vauxhall Corsa's new face are 'Eagle-Eye' headlamps, which have also made an appearance on the recently launched Meriva. The units have a chrome finish and include daytime running lights as standard across the range. New chrome-finished fog lamps and housings complete the picture at the front of the car.
Complementing the Vauxhall Corsa's fresh look are five new exterior colours in the range. Lime Green pearlescent and Chilli Orange metallic enhance the car's new look, with Guacamole - a solid hue - completing the pallet of all-new Vauxhall colours. Sunny Melon (a bright yellow) makes a welcome return to the Vauxhall Corsa range, while Pepperdust metallic is carried across from the new Meriva range.
Vibrant new colours also dominate the Vauxhall Corsa's cabin, with seat trims such as Steel Blue and Tabasco Orange brightening the interior, accompanied by a range of different coloured door trims, centre consoles, air vent rings and door handles.
Also inside, is Vauxhall's new optional Touch & Connect multi-media system, which replaces the existing CD60 unit. Touch & Connect uses a five-inch touch screen display featuring both 2D and 3D maps for the navigation system, as well as a CD/tuner, aux-in, USB and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity.
Outside, the new Vauxhall Corsa benefits from new 16-inch alloy wheels on both SE and SXi models, while the 192PS VXR receives the option of a new 18-inch alloy wheel, modelled on the design of the optional 20-inch wheel worn by the Insignia VXR.
Vauxhall Corsa's new appearance complements recent upgrades to chassis and powertrain
With its fresh new look, the Vauxhall Corsa is now a very different car to the one on sale a year ago. Before the latest exterior and interior design changes were made, the Corsa had already benefited from a long list of significant upgrades to its chassis and powertrains. For example, certain ecoFLEX engines now feature Vauxhall's Start/Stop technology, which has reduced emissions on the 1.3 CDTi (95PS) ecoFLEX model to just 94g/km, combined with fuel consumption of 91.1mpg on the government's extra urban cycle (78.5mpg combined).
To maintain its success in the small-car class, Vauxhall's engineers also made important revisions to the car's steering and suspension set-ups. Softer springs were employed in the front suspension, mated to an anti-roll bar with new bushes and an increased diameter, improving ride and control characteristics.
Complementing this were revised damper settings all round, an optional re-tuned ESP system and enhanced steering geometry, ensuring that the Vauxhall Corsa remained as pleasurable to drive as it was economical to own.
The new Vauxhall Corsa range starts at Â£9995, based on 2011's 20 per cent VAT rate. However, setting aside the 2.5 per cent VAT increase, which will apply to all cars from January 4, 2011, new Corsa prices have only risen by between Â£60 and Â£75, depending upon model and, reflecting the exterior and cabin enhancements on all models in the range. A full current price list, based on 20 per cent VAT, is attached.
To achieve the sporty new stance both upper and lower grilles have been re-proportioned. The lower grille has been made wider and taller visually adding width, while the upper grille has been revamped to incorporate a three-dimensional mesh design similar to that used on the Astra. The Griffin now appears encased within a chrome signature bar replacing the previous 'V' grille design, giving the car a more modern feel, bringing it into line with the rest of the Vauxhall family.
Framing the Corsa's fresh new face are 'Eagle Eye' chrome encrusted headlights which feature Vauxhall's signature wing-shaped daytime lamps. Add new vertically stacked fog lamp units with integrated chrome blade and the Corsa's new face becomes more premium and expressive
Further enhancements to the exterior come with the addition of five new and exciting exterior colours. Metallic newcomers Chilli Orange and Pepperdust are offered alongside the pearlescent Lime Green and solid Guacamole and Sunny Melon. When coupled with expressive new interior trim choices the Corsa's youthful character is evident for all to see.
Inside, the layout of the dashboard has been retained, but the surface treatments have been the subject of noticeable upgrades in quality and appearance. The introduction of a variety of finishes, fabrics, and colours in both seat trim, centre console and surrounds offer customers the opportunity to personalise their space. With the exception of the Expression and S models, all Corsas now have the option of "Touch & Connect", a multi-media touch screen unit which combines a state of the art navigation system with full IPOD, USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Available on the mid-range Exclusiv model, the all new Reflection cloth can be chosen in either classic charcoal, bold Steel Blue or vibrant Tabasco Orange with centre consoles being offered in either matt chrome or striking pearl white. Colour co-ordinated instrument panels, door handles and air vent rings complete the look.
The up-market improvements continue with the introduction of new alloy wheels. The SE and SXi models benefit from a new 16-inch multi-spoke item, while the high performance VXR receives a newly designed 18-inch alloy modeled on the 20-inch wheel currently worn by the Insignia VXR
Complementing the new Vauxhall Corsa range is the Limited Edition model, which is now available in Sunny Melon/Black Sapphire and Flame Red/Black Sapphire, as well as the Glacier White/Black Sapphire found on the outgoing model. Limited Edition cars benefit from a VXR styling kit, which includes front lower spoiler and side sills, rear roof spoiler and lower side skirts, and black, 17-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels. The Limited Edition model is available with either the 1.2-litre petrol or 1.3-litre CDTi diesel engine.
EQUIPMENT & TECHNOLOGY
Complementing the Corsa's new up-market image is the introduction of an optional state of the art multimedia infotainment system with seven 4x20 watt loudspeakers. The "Touch & Connect" system features a five-inch colour touch screen, full navigation coverage for 28 European countries, Bluetooth, iPod and USB connections. It is universally connectible, simple to use and gives a fresh new look to the centre section of the Corsa's dashboard. This new system replaces the two navigation packages offered previously (CD 60 and DVD 100). Available for just Â£750 Touch and Connect offers a DVD based system that covers most of Europe at a lower price than the previous CD 60 system.
The Touch & Connect navigation system is easy to use and intuitive. Its five-inch touch screen display features both 2-D and 3-D (bird's eye view) maps and SD navigation card. Another feature is an option to choose the most ecological route, helping to save fuel and the environment. Points of interest can also be downloaded by the user and traffic problems can be monitored by the TMC information system.
Bluetooth connectivity allows for safe, hands-free calling conveniently displaying address books on the screen. The system is also fully compatible with the IPhone and iPODs allowing users to scroll through their music collection with titles appearing on screen.
Small car showcases big ideas
True to Vauxhall's forward thinking, the Corsa also features innovative technologies at an affordable price. These include halogen Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL), a heated steering wheel, Hill Start Assist, and an integrated FlexFix bicycle carrier which is unique to Vauxhall.
Adaptive Forward Lighting offers more safety with dynamic curve and static cornering light. Dynamic curve light ensures improved illumination around bends by swiveling the headlamps up to 15 degrees right and left of the vehicle into the oncoming curve. Static cornering light illuminates an area to the right or left of the vehicle up to a 90 degree angle, a big help when manoeuvering in poorly lit areas. The Corsa's AFL system also comes with parking lights in the rear and darkly tinted headlamps.
A unique feature in this class is optional steering wheel heating, which quickly warms drivers' hands. The temperature reaches approximately 34Â° C to provide ideal steering wheel warmth on cold days.
The Corsa's Hill Start Assist holds the vehicle on grades of three per cent or steeper for 1.5 seconds after the brake pedal is released. This technology essentially eliminates "roll-back" on hills.
In line with Vauxhall's commitment to offering integrated flexibility, the Corsa is available with the FlexFix carrier system - the optimal transport solution for bicycles. Vauxhall is the only manufacturer to offer the innovative FlexFix system which requires no installation or removal - it simply pulls out of the rear bumper like a drawer. The FlexFix bike carrier, which features additional rear lights, can carry up to two bicycles with wheel sizes from 18 to 28 inches. The maximum weight capacity is 40 kg, with each bike weighing up to 20 kg. For optimal safety, warning sound engages when the car is in reverse.
At the start of 2010 Vauxhall's engineers fine-tuned the Corsa's chassis and steering to deliver improved ride comfort, enhanced steering feel and greater directional stability, without comprising the car's agility or general driveability.
Dampers, springs, anti-roll bars, the rear axle, steering gear and the Electric Power Steering's software were all revised for greater refinement, giving the new Vauxhall Corsa a more grown-up and sophisticated feel.
Changes applied to S, Exlusiv, SE and SXi models, while the SRi and ecoFLEX benefited from improvements to the rear axle and steering. VXR models adopted changes to the steering gear only.
Advanced chassis set-up improves comfort and driveabilty.
The compound crank, or torsion beam, rear suspension were further developed and now deliver excellent stability for drivers in the event of a sudden steering input while travelling at speed - such as a lane change manoeuvre.
To reduce the tendency for oversteer, Vauxhall's engineers re-positioned the rear beam, rotating it (in profile) through 20 degrees so that the open section is even more downward facing. This position increases the lateral stiffness of the beam, helping the rear end stay in line with the front as much as possible.
Both front and rear dampers now offer a more digressive setting as a result of changes to the piston and bottom valving. At lower speeds, they offer improved body control on rough roads while at higher speeds, when load frequencies increase, the damping rate decreases slightly for greater ride comfort.
On diesel Corsas, the springs have been softened in the front by around eight per cent to improve ride comfort. In addition, the front suspension's bump stops are slightly softer to reduce any jarring inside the cabin under maximum compression loads. EcoFlex models, which come with sports springs as standard, also gained softer bump stops at the rear, and the softer damping at the front and rear from the base diesel chassis.
To ensure that the Corsa's agility and excellent body control was unaffected by the slightly softer set-up, the thickness of the anti-roll bar was increased by 1mm (from 18 to 19mm for 1.0- and 1.2-litre models, and from 19 to 20mm for 1.4-litre and all diesel variants).
Greater steering precision and feel
Vauxhall's engineers also improved the Corsa's Electric Power Steering (EPS) to give the driver more precise control. The yoke carrying the steering rack was lined with a low-friction material which offered more feel and precision for inputs around the on-centre postion, while also delivering a smoother self-centering action.
The software controlling the steering's electric motor was also re-mapped, providing slightly more power assistance for small steering inputs and better torque build-up at larger steering wheel angles.
In combination with the greater stability offered by the stiffer rear axle, the steering improvements give the driver better feedback overall, while also minimising the need for corrective action following sudden changes in direction.
POWERTRAIN - HIGHLIGHT START/STOP
Complementing the Corsa's range of engines that was comprehensively improved and revised last year, is Start/Stop technology, enabling the Euro 5-compliant 1.3 CDTi (95PS) models to achieve 80.7mpg on the combined cycle.
The principle of Start/Stop is simple: instead of the engine idling at traffic lights or at a level crossing, the engine will automatically stop when the driver engages neutral and releases the clutch pedal. When the traffic lights turn green, the driver simply presses the clutch pedal to re-start the engine, engage first and move away. Naturally, the car's ventilation, power steering and braking system performance is maintained while the engine is temporarily off.