by Seán Creedon

You may have heard Opel’s new radio ads for their brand new Corsa. They are clearly trying to remind prospective customers to hark back to their carefree younger days when they may have driven an older version of the car.

The ad is certainly very catchy and hopefully for Opel’s sake it should help them get a few more sales in what is a very competitive Irish car market right now.

Opel in Ireland was recently taken over by the Gowan Group, whose headquarters are in Bluebell and there are some clever marketing people located in Gowan House.

Recently I drove the new version of the Corsa, which was a favourite back in the eighties and nineties. The Corsa was launched in 1982 and I bought a skinny looking version around 1988. 

Now the designers have managed to make this new model look bigger, despite the dimensions being much the same as the previous version.

Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door versions arriving in 1984. This latest version is only available as a four-door as Opel simplify their product range.

The sixth generation of the nameplate is longer, lower, and has a longer wheelbase than its predecessor and is 108kg lighter than the previous version.

This is the first new Opel produced since the marque was taken over by the PSA Group. It’s built on the same platform at the DS3 Crossback and the new Peugeot 208.

My test car was white with a black roof and looking at the exterior it certainly is very attractive. Inside there was a nice touch of red and white stitching on the seats and the dash had a touch of red and grey which looked very tasty. Those touches of colour are needed in the interior as the roof is very dark.

I found the car very sturdy and there was very little road noise. The digital instrument cluster is well placed to ensure that you only have to take your eyes off the road ahead for a second or two to check your speed.

There is room in the back for back seat for three people, but leg room is a bit tight. The boot is average, but the good news is that you get a proper spare wheel. It’s neat, easy to handle and comfortable to travel in. Rear parking sensors, but no reversing camera.

Meanwhile the electric Corsa-e is due here in April and will have a range of around 330km. Along with the recently renewed Astra and the Corsa, a new Grandland X hybrid is also due here in April and it will be followed by a facelifted Crossland and a new generation Mokka in December. So it’s certainly all systems go for Opel right now.

For the new Corsa there will be three trims SC, SRi and Elite with entry prices starting at €17,975 for the 1.2-litre petrol; also available in 1.5-litre diesel. All come with LED headlights and auto-dip as standard. Road tax is €180.

The new Corsa faces stiff competition in the supermini class from the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and its stablemate in Bluebell the Peugeot 208. But I think this new version of the car should help Opel climb the sales charts in Ireland once again.