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New Opel Corsa
Monday, 17 July 2006

Opel expects its innovative new Corsa’s career to be as spectacular as its first appearance in Old Billingsgate, near Tower Bridge on the banks of the Thames. The eagerly anticipated fourth-generation Corsa makes its world debut in London at the British International Motor Show (July 20 – 30). Over 9.4 million units of the popular Opel’s predecessor models have been sold in Europe since 1982. The new edition will be available at dealerships in October 2006 and is expected to again reach the top of its segment. It has everything it needs to get there: exciting design with sporty, athletic contours, a newly-developed chassis for safe and agile cornering, new high-tech features in this class, a new high-quality interior, generous space and a host of clever innovations such as the flexible integrated carrier system “Flex-Fix”, which makes its world premiere on a production car. 

Following the same philosophy Opel successfully realized with the Astra and Astra GTC, the distinctively different three and five-door Corsa models are tailor-made for different types of customers. The new Corsa rolls off the production lines in Eisenach/Germany and Zaragoza/Spain. Both plants were extensively modernized prior to the start of production in July, also to meet Opel’s high manufacturing quality standards.


Living in Style: A Stunning Design to Fall in Love With

The sporty three-door Corsa’s body is stretched tautly over its technology like a muscle shirt on a bodybuilder, with athletic contours, muscular shoulders and a roof line reminiscent of a coupé. In the family-friendly five-door model, the long roof line and generous window surfaces indicate additional headroom and visibility for the rear passengers.
The new Corsa’s body was developed from the inside out. While both body versions have the same length and height (3999 / 1488mm), there is a small difference in their width (3-door: 1713 mm, 5-door: 1737 mm). The H-point and roof line are 40 millimeters higher than the previous model, enabling easier entry and better visibility. Thanks to the long wheelbase (2511 mm) and wide track (front/rear: 1485 / 1478 mm), both Corsa versions have distinctively sporty proportions. The up to 17-inch wheels are placed at the body corners leaving a very short rear overhang. Thanks to the designers’ skills, the front overhang has a remarkably short appearance despite elaborate pedestrian safety measures.

Large, iconic headlamps mimic the Corsa´s suave, energetic personality, further enhanced by the design of the lower front bumper which articulates a friendly smile. The steeply raked A-pillars are extended forward, optically shortening the front hood and concentrating the bulk of the body between the axles. The exterior mirrors mounted on the body shoulder come with power adjustment as standard, enabling an additional small, triangular window in front that improves forward visibility.

The three-door Corsa only shares the five-door’s two front fenders, hood, bumper and headlamps. Its rear window inclines at a significantly steeper angle, coupled with an almost coupé-style roof line. This look is emphasized by the side-window graphics reminiscent of the Astra GTC, forming a large, stretched arch from the A-pillar to the rear. Pronounced fenders over the rear wheels highlight the Corsa’s powerful, sporty stance, while the rear window tapers downwards accentuating the characteristic V-shaped rear theme, a typical trademark of the Opel form language. The five-door Corsa´s window line resembles that of the five-door Astra, but has a unique C-pillar transition to the rear window.

The stylish interior design with high-quality materials and clever new features creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Turn buttons for climate control, radio and lighting are backlit. Piano-lacquer finish used in selected equipment variants on the center console with a matching finish on the steering wheel spokes and air-conditioning vent rings is of a much higher quality than normal in this class. And the new Corsa’s high-quality interior does not just look great right down to the last detail, it is also very practical. The steering column is reach and height-adjustable, the angled center console is optimized for reach and visibility, and the many storage compartments offer plenty of space for small and large items.

“That’s the one I want!”

Two models with strong characters have set out to capture European customers’ hearts. Stylish and sporty, with a roof line like a coupé, the three-door Corsa particularly appeals to customers that marketing experts call “progressive modern mainstream”: young adults up to their late twenties, with no children yet but with ambitious career plans – well educated, they want to move up the career ladder while living life to the fullest with plenty of sporty adventures.

While the five-door model shares its dynamic twin’s sporty genes, its longer roof line and larger side windows show how the fourth-generation of the Corsa has matured. This mirrors its buyers, who are often family-focused and frequently have children on board. They appreciate all of the Corsa’s practical features, including new innovations such as the flexible integrated carrier system “Flex-Fix”.

Both versions share the common goal of capturing a top position in the European small car segment together. Opel is committed to returning to the top of this segment, the second largest in Europe with over 20 percent of all passenger car sales. Customers can already look forward to equipment lines that not only boast highest quality standards, but also express driving fun and enjoyment with colors and exclusive finishes such as piano-lacquer surfaces.

For instance, the Edition equipment line breaks out of the class’s uniform grey. The fresh colors of the seat upholstery and door panels harmonize perfectly with the instrument panel’s colored surface in exciting red or elegant marine blue. Be it the entry-level Corsa, Edition, Sport or Cosmo – the only car in this class with piano-lacquer interior surfaces – the Corsa range has the perfect combination for every taste and budget. The Corsa can be further individualized thanks to special equipment packages, innovative options and many features that customers can choose from according to their tastes and preferences.  

The Sport model interior features accessories including a matte-chrome console and perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel. The sportiest Corsa exterior boasts details such as dark-tinted headlamps, 195/55 R 16 wheels, and a chrome sports exhaust pipe. Its athletic character is further enhanced by the lower sport chassis, power steering with progressive variable feedback curve – used here for the first time – and shorter gear ratio.


Every Corsa is Unique

Garage rock, lounge music, jazz or classical: musical tastes vary, which makes it all the more practical that the new Opel Corsa can memorize each driver’s favorite radio station. And that’s just one example of how the newcomer can be personalized. Up to five different drivers can save their individual settings for the infotainment system, automatic climate control, and on-board electronics on the car keys. When the car is started, their personal preferences are automatically activated via the CANBUS system. In addition to these personalization features, new comfort options including a heated steering wheel – a first in this class.

The entertainment program rivals home living room systems. The infotainment range encompasses five high-quality audio systems with output up to 150 watts, includes MP3-compatible CD players, twin tuners with excellent radio reception, navigation systems with CD and DVD-ROM, as well as a mobile phone console with voice control and Bluetooth interface.

Fit for Fun

The Corsa is an all-rounder, be it for leisure, sport or family use, and is always a star performer. Thanks to its clever innovations, it can adapt and meet the transport and comfort needs of its owners. Both the three and five-door models offer a novel flexible transport solution with the optional integrated rear carrier system “Flex-Fix”.

The integrated rear carrier, which stows away almost invisibly into the rear bumper, can easily be pulled out as needed and can carry up to two bicycles. Even the additional rear lights are stored in the drawer-like carrier, and can be fitted quickly. “Flex-Fix” sets the standard for flexible exterior cargo transportation solutions, just as the Zafira’s “Flex7” continues to do for interior seating systems. In typical Opel style, the integrated carrier system “Flex-Fix” provides full “on-board” functionality, eliminating the need for cumbersome assembly, dismantling or storage of parts.

Other practical features include the double load floor “DualFloor”, standard with the Edition, Sport and Cosmo equipment lines. Providing a flat load floor at sill height, it facilitates loading and unloading of heavy or bulky items as they can simply be slid into and out of the trunk.

When the load floor is in this upper position, there is additional storage space available underneath it, and with the rear seat back folded down, it creates a completely flat load surface. Alternatively, the “DualFloor” can also be lowered to the bottom of the trunk. The luggage compartment cover is another clever feature. If it is not required, such as when there is oversized luggage in the trunk, it can be fixed vertically behind the rear bench seat. This means the cover is never in the way and always on board to be quickly re-fitted again. Storage volume up to the luggage compartment cover is 285 liters, and 300 liters to the top of the seat backs. If the 60:40-split rear seat back is folded down, storage volume increases to 700 liters and to a considerable 1100 liters if the car is loaded to the roof. The rear bench seat back can also be inclined by 7.5 degrees, which provides exactly the few centimeters of space that are often missing to fit in a bulky piece of luggage, such as a folded-up stroller.

In addition to the clever “Flex-Fix” transportation solution, practical “DualFloor” load floor and many storage compartments, the Corsa is also optionally available with a large sunroof. Featuring an opening which is 25 percent larger than its predecessor´s sliding roof, this new sunroof enables Corsa passengers to enjoy open-air driving at the touch of a button. A special dual-space sealing system and wind deflector effectively reduce wind noise, and a sliding blind protects against direct sunlight.


Dynamics and Economy

At its market launch, the Corsa is available with three gasoline and two common-rail turbo-diesel ECOTEC engines, which all feature four-valve technology. They cover an output range of 60 to 90 hp. Soon after the start of sales, a new 125 hp, 1.7 CDTI with diesel particulate filter as standard will follow as the top-of-the-line unit. At 2300 rpm, this engine produces 280 Nm of torque via the five-bearing crankshaft, giving the Corsa impressive propulsion power.

Low fuel consumption is also a trademark of modern Opel diesels. The new Corsa with the 90 hp, 1.3 CDTI engine needs only around 4.6 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (MVEG-mix test cycle). Modern technology in gasoline engines, such as the TWINPORT system that combines variable intake control and high rates of exhaust gas recirculation, also ensures higher fuel efficiency. The Corsa with the 1.2-liter, 80 hp TWINPORT ECOTEC unit and Easytronic transmission needs only 5.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (MVEG-mix test cycle).

In addition to the five and six-speed manual transmissions (combined with the two more powerful diesel engines), and the automated Easytronic manual gearbox (option for the 1.2-liter gasoline unit), the Corsa 1.4 TWINPORT ECOTEC is also available with a four-speed automatic transmission.

Driving Dynamics with High Reserves

Excellent driving dynamics, outstanding handling – it is that easy to describe the goal Opel/GM engineers set when designing the fourth generation of the Corsa. Thanks to a completely new architecture, they were able to create the best conditions for this right from the start. In addition to the stiffer body, the Corsa features a new short front subframe, allowing for optimum chassis geometry, and a torsion-beam rear axle – familiar from the Astra – with three roll-rate levels. Depending on the engine, these provide an ideal alignment to the different front axle loads. Other features include new low-friction stabilizer suspension, V-shaped positioning of the rear trailing arm, and the separation of the load paths for suspension and damping at the front axle.

The engineers also focused on enhancing the steering system for the new Corsa, giving it a considerably stiffer steering column with height and reach-adjustable steering wheel and higher performance, speed-dependent Electronic Power Steering (EPS), which in turn allowed a smaller steering wheel to be fitted. In addition to the steering ratio, which is either linear or variable depending on the engine, Opel chassis experts also developed a segment-first for the sport version of the Corsa: variable progressive power steering. This steering reacts very directly at the straight-ahead position and at low steering angles. But at higher steering angles the reaction is more gradual, to make maneuvering and parking easier.

The combination of driving dynamics and high safety reserves, unusual for this vehicle class, is also highlighted in the design of the braking and electronic driving safety systems. The new two-stage brake booster not only provides much better pedal response, but also functions as a brake assistant during emergency braking, immediately producing full braking power if the brake pedal is pressed especially quickly. The newest generation of ABS and ESP systems boasts additional functions. The Corsa’s ABS system features electronic brake force distribution, Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Straight-Line Stability Control (SLS). When braking in a corner, CBC reduces the braking pressure at the inner-most wheel, delaying the application of ABS and reducing the braking distance. SLS prevents skidding when braking during straight-ahead driving by reducing braking pressure on one side of the car as required, which is especially useful on uneven road surfaces or poorly-maintained streets.

The ESP system was tuned so that it firstly gives complete control to the driver, even at very high cornering speeds, and only gradually takes over when there is danger of losing safe control of the car. The Corsa features especially dynamic performance at its cornering stability limit thanks to Enhanced Understeering Control (EUC), an ESP function: ESP controls braking individually at up to four wheels if necessary. Other new ESP functions include Deflation Detection System (DDS), and Hill Start Assist (HSA). This system prevents the car from rolling backwards when driving off on a slope without having to use the handbrake.


Safe on the Road

Opel has an integral approach to safety. All active and passive safety systems that contribute to reducing dangers when driving are categorized under one heading: “SAFETEC”. This includes assisting the driver with innovative features such as Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL), avoiding accidents due to advanced chassis and highly-developed support functions such as ABS and ESP, reducing the effects of an accident with extensive restraint systems, and protecting other road-users with features such as adaptive brake lights.

In keeping with its philosophy of making sophisticated technology available to as many motorists as possible, Opel offers adaptive curve light in the new Corsa, making it the sixth model line with such a system after the Vectra, Signum, Astra, Zafira and Meriva. The curve and cornering light in the Corsa is a first in this vehicle class. The Corsa’s AFL system is combined with a halogen light to keep the price as low as possible while retaining all functions. The dynamic curve light reacts to the steering angle and speed of the car, swiveling the high or low beam headlamps up to 15 degrees outward and eight degrees inward. At speeds below 40 km/h, the static cornering light is activated. Depending on turn signal and steering wheel position, it illuminates intersections and garage driveways to the right or left with the help of an additional reflector. This function is also activated when reversing.

Other lighting innovations in the Corsa include Automatic Lighting Control (ALC), whose sensors automatically activate the headlamps. This system can recognize an approaching tunnel for example, and differentiate it from an underpass.

Another feature is adaptive brake lights, a system which warns following drivers by blinking all three brake lights five times per second in case of ABS braking when traveling more than 30 km/h. If airbags or belt tensioners are activated because of a collision, the hazard warning lights are automatically switched on.

In the event of an accident, Corsa passengers are protected by an extensive restraint system, including two two-stage front airbags, side airbags for driver and front passenger, and – from Edition – head curtain airbags which fold down like curtains to cover the entire length of the interior. When transporting a baby in a carrier, the front passenger airbag can easily be deactivated by a button on the instrument panel. The ISOFIX system ensures optimal anchorage of baby carriers and child seats, and is enhanced in the rear bench seat to include a special safety harness to secure the upper part of the seat.

Opel/GM engineers also took special care when enhancing the safety belts. In the event of a front or rear impact, the shoulder belt is held tightly by a pyrotechnic seat-belt tensioner fitted to the seat, keeping the driver and front passenger in position. From Edition, another seat-belt tensioner secured to the car’s body pulls the lap belt tight and, together with ramps integrated into the seats, prevents passengers from sliding forwards. At the same time, a belt-force limiter in the belt reel prevents the safety-belt force from exceeding acceptable levels. Front safety belts are height-adjustable for optimum comfort; visual and acoustic warning signals remind driver and front passenger that seat belts should be fastened.

From Edition, the restraint system is complemented by active head restraints in front. In the event of a rear-end collision, they automatically move up and forward simultaneously, reducing the risk of whiplash. The Pedal Release System (PRS) decouples the pedals from their mountings in a severe frontal impact to protect the driver's feet.

Not just the occupants, but also pedestrians are protected by a range of up-to-date safety measures. Features include a special low-density foam material in front of the bumper crossmember to lessen the intensity of lower-body impact, and a stiffening of the bumper’s lower section spreads out the load over a larger area, thus limiting force to the knees. The hood’s especially thin sheeting reduces the severity of head impact, and the generous space between the hood and the engine provides adequate deformation distance. The fenders’ slotted fittings also deform on impact. 

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