These are the first images of Vauxhall's Fourth-Generation Corsa, which will reach production in late 2014 and is set to raise the class benchmark for driveability, comfort and practicality in a model which has become a household name for British small-car buyers.
Still one the UK's top-selling and best-loved cars, the current model continues to garner affection from its owners thanks to its perfect combination of compact exterior dimensions and clever use of cabin space - major considerations when the new car was conceived.
As a result, the new, Fourth-Generation Corsa is near-identical in length to the current model and retains its enviable space utilisation for occupants.
But almost every other element of its design and engineering has changed, significantly improving the car's driveability, efficiency, connectivity and overall ownership experience.
All of the car's body panels are new, and provide greater definition between the 'sporty' look of the three-door and the 'premium' five-door models. For the first time on a Corsa the car's striking profile has been overlaid with Brit Mark Adams' sculptural design, including elements such as the 'blade' running across the lower door-sections.
Almost every element of the Corsa's generous cabin is completely new, including a completely re-designed instrument panel and dashboard, and greatly improved levels of functionality, highlighted by Vauxhall's sophisticated IntelliLink system - its first use in a high-volume application.
Under the bonnet, new engines and transmissions will be available from launch. A 1.0-litre, three-cylinder ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo - just one of a raft of new engines from Vauxhall's new powertrain offensive - will headline in the petrol offerings, while a much improved 1.3 CDTi, which meets stringent Euro-6 regulations, will appeal to diesel buyers.
Improved driveability to class-leading standards has been a key goal during the New Corsa's development, and to achieve this it has a completely re-designed chassis, with no carry-over componentry, and an emphasis on exceptional rolling refinement, ride quality, precise handling and stability.
'Corsa remains the best-selling car in Vauxhall's range, which is testament to the continued appeal of the current model to UK buyers, supported by a raft of innovative sales programmes that make the car even more enticing,' said Tim Tozer, Vauxhall's Chairman and Managing Director. 'So New Corsa has its work cut out - both as a worthy replacement for the existing car later this year, and as a new challenger in a highly competitive class. We're confident that it will jump both hurdles with ease.'
Corsa and the UK market
Currently in its third generation, the Corsa has been Vauxhall's best-selling car for many years, generally sitting at number two in the overall passenger car sales charts. However, its popularity in Scotland and Northern Ireland has blossomed over the years, where it tops the overall sales charts, while being Scotland's best-selling car for the last five full years.
And there's no sign that sales are slowing. In its last full year, Vauxhall sold 83,000 Corsas in the UK, outstripping total full-range sales of manufacturers like SEAT, Skoda, Renault and Citroen. Such is its popularity, that the UK is now the lead market for Corsa by a large margin (Germany was the second biggest market in 2013 with around 50,000 sales).
Taking Europe as a whole, Corsa is the second most popular nameplate across the continent after 32 years in the market. During that time, over 12 million have been sold, or an average of 370,000 cars each year.
Research conducted by Vauxhall has found that the following qualities repeatedly lead buyers to current Corsa:
Compact 4m length, for ease of manoeuvring
New Corsa = New Chassis
A completely re-designed chassis underpins every New Corsa, with no carry-over components from the current model, and all-new suspension components.
The new car has a 5mm lower centre of gravity, aiding stability and roll characteristics, while a reinforced, stiffer front sub-frame and new front suspension geometry, including new knuckle joints, give drivers more taught and precise handling.
New speed-sensitive electric power steering - which incorporates a City mode for low-speed manoeuvring and parking - receives a specific UK tune to cater for our unique and challenging topography. Understeer has been reined in and friction dialled out of the system, allowing drivers a smoother, yet more precise command of the car's steering.
Improvements have also been made to damper characteristics, for both Comfort and Sport set ups, raising the bar for ride comfort and rolling refinement within the Corsa's class. The new car's rear suspension has also been re-tuned to allow better straight-line and cornering stability.
Complementing New Corsa's chassis hardware, are a plethora of driver safety systems made possible by a new electrical architecture. These include: Hill Start Assist, Automatic Park Assist (the car will self-steer into a parking place), and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.
Powertrains - new engines and transmissions for greater efficiency and driveability
The highlight of the New Corsa's engine line-up will be the fresh-to-market 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo petrol. Part of Vauxhall's major powertrain offensive, which is rapidly gaining traction within the market, the compact 'triple' is the only production three-cylinder engine on the market with a balancer shaft, making it especially smooth and resonance-free and a class benchmark for reduced NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness).
Meeting the latest stringent Euro 6 emissions regulations, the ECOTEC will be available with either 90PS or 115PS outputs, each of which achieves 170Nm of torque from just 1,800rpm. While final fuel consumption data will be announced later this year, when combined with a Start/Stop system, emissions and fuel consumption are expected to be exceptionally low for a petrol engine.
A new version of Vauxhall's 1.4 turbo engine will also launch with New Corsa. Designed for maximum fuel efficiency, but with strong mid-range performance, the new unit produces 100PS and 200Nm of torque. Two naturally aspirated petrol engines - a 1.2- and a 1.4-litre - have been revised and adapted to suit the new car. Significant improvements to the current Corsa's 1.3 CDTi diesel engine have been made to bring it up to Euro 6 emissions standards for the new model.
Two new six-speed gearboxes - a manual and an automatic - are available with New Corsa, with improved shift quality and providing greater overall efficiency.
New cabin design combines new levels of quality, functionality and connectivity
While the basic dimensions of the New Corsa's cabin remain largely the same, almost everything that sits in it has been re-designed.
A new driver control centre takes pride of place within the newly-designed instrument panel, which is themed around horizontal lines. The New Corsa is also the first high-volume Vauxhall to be available with IntelliLink, the innovative communications system which has already been seen in the ADAM model.
IntelliLink operates through a 7-inch colour touchscreen, and can be controlled via apps such as BringGo (for navigation), Stitcher and TuneIn (for global radio channels and internet podcasts). The system is compatible with both Apple and Android 'phones, and incorporates additional features, such as voice command, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free and FlexDock, an area for locating/charging your mobile phone.
In its fifth generation, Corsa has never been so well served for driver comfort and safety. The new model will be available with heated front seats, steering wheel and windscreen, as well as soft-tone ambient lighting and a full-size panoramic roof, taking the car's equipment levels into the premium segment of its class.
New safety systems also proliferate. Buyers can choose from a list including Side Blindspot Alert, High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, bi-xenon lights and a rear-view camera.