We’ll have no shouting here…
Despite life returning to a semblance of normality around these parts over recent months, the sighting of 2020-registered cars remain something of a novelty. Of course cars have been registered – some having even been sold – but in a country where new car sales had already been in state of contraction before the pandemic swept all before it, the current situation facing the Irish retail sales trade must be sobering indeed.
One of the more superficial downsides to this is that sightings of new models, while normally a relatively frequent prospect, have been sporadic at best. Amongst the more recent arrivals to these shores is Opel’s current generation Corsa (none of your Vauxhalls in these parts), but to be honest, and in contrast to the (closely-related) Peugeot 208 which preceded it to market, it has been a comparatively rare sight.
During my twice-daily dog walking duties I recently happened upon a stationary 2020 Corsa. Previously lacking the opportunity, this encounter permitted a slightly more searching gaze. What it didn’t permit however, was any photographic images to be taken – the hounds simply wouldn’t hear of it – (and there are two of them). Hence, the images appended here are courtesy of our Hamburg correspondent. (To whom I extend my grateful thanks).
As we all know, the Corsa was developed (with remarkable speed it appears) on the PSA group platform upon which both Peugeot’s 208 and Citroen’s C3 are based, and while the styling of all three differs markedly, one can readily discern the bone structure beneath. Not that this is altogether a bad thing – the 208 after all is a rather arresting looking thing, even if, in three dimensions, it doesn’t quite hang together – there being just a little too much going on – at least for my taste. The Corsa, while architecturally similar, is a little calmer, more considered, both in design detail and graphic flourishes.
There is, would you not agree, a notable whiff of eau de hire car about the styling of most B-segment hatchbacks nowadays, a niggling undercurrent suggesting that carmakers would much rather you forked out a bit more on the monthly stipend for their related CUV equivalent, which model for model, will be far more aggressively and seductively styled, and increasingly, a good deal less practical. Because despite being in stylistic terms the diametric opposite of the term, these models have become the modern-day coupé – and are (tacitly) marketed as such.
But for all that, the Corsa is a surprisingly pleasant looking car, more resolved than either of its French cousins – the Peugeot a bit shouty, and the Citroën (like pretty much all Citroëns of current stripe) a jumbled mess of styling cues and graphics, seemingly flung at abstract. But it’s the comparison with its putative German contemporaries, (Polo/ Audi A1) that places matters into sharpest relief – because viewed alongside, the Opel’s styling puts either to shame.
Nevertheless, I don’t necessarily expect the Corsa to be a particularly populous sight on Irish roads. Opel’s fortunes here (like that of Ford’s, incidentally) are in retreat, and what action there is will likely be concentrated upon the upcoming Mokka CUV, which is scheduled to make landfall (C-19 notwithstanding), sometime early next year.
A self-fulfilling prophecy then? Because if it looks like rental fodder, surely it must inevitably become rental fodder. But at first glance at least, perhaps Rüsselsheim’s junior offering deserves a more generous reception?