Although hardly breaking news, the latest Opel Corsa has arrived in the showrooms and examples are arriving on my street. I saw one. Is it really a Corsa at all, I asked myself.
If we get in our time-machine and spin and spiral back to 1982 we would be confronted by the first Corsa which Opel sold until 1993 (hard to believe). Looking at the bold, boxy 1982 shape with its flared wheel-arches and the 2019 version , one could argue that the new PSA Corsa represents a mere return to form. You could also argue that PSA merely wanted to get Opel’s designers to apply Opel design cues to the most appropriate PSA platform available, the Peugeot 208 Common Modular Platform. That happened in 2017 after initial work using the GM G2XX platform was ditched.
Let’s look at the dimensions of the new Opel. The wheelbase is 2,538 mm; the length is 4,060 mm; width is 1,765 mm and height is 1,435 mm. And let’s gander now at the Peugeot 208’s stats. The 208s’s wheelbase is 2,538 mm (the same, pretty much). The length is 5 mm shorter (nothing); the width is 1,745 (smaller, by a tad) and the height is lower than the Opel by 5 stupendous millimetres.
The figures speak for themselves. The new Corsa is a208 in Opel drag rather than being a development of Corsa themes.
Of course, the elephant in the shoe-box is that the last Corsa (below) from 2014 was merely a re-skin of the 2006 car and was past its best. That says more about GM’s maltreatment of Opel than anything about Opel. I am sure the design team were depressed at the prospect of trying to do a make-over of a 2006 design instead of developing something more substantial.
Alas, history repeated itself with the Corsa F. At some point there arrived in Ruesselsheim’s servers a data dump of the CAD files for the CMP which included the hard-points below which the Corsa could not go. I am thinking here of the blue-foam armature used for clay-modelling. Clay is layered over this and the thickness of the clay is probably equivalent to the amount of expected relief of the surface.
Presumably the modellers had only about 15 mm of room to play with over most of the key dimensions. Hence the striking similarity of the cars’ profiles. Slightly mystifying is the fact that PSA are masters of the shared platform. The Xantia and 406 were sisters under the skin and you’d not really guess. The 508 and C5 are also pairs and, again, the re-use of hard-points is not very obvious (it isn’t obvious). So one has to wonder why in this instance PSA kept Opel on such a tight leash.
One thing they could have done was go for a more raked tailgate and so keep some reference to the delightful arced roof of previous Corsas. Instead they sprayed Opel cues over the 208 and gave us a car that doesn’t really say Corsa so much as 2016 Mokka or 2017 Grandland.