Opel Corsa

Opel Corsa

The Opel Corsa is a supermini that has been produced by General Motors' European subsidiary Opel since 1982 and has also been sold under a variety of other brands (most notably Vauxhall, Chevrolet and Holden), and also spawned various derivatives in different markets, all of which are listed in appropriate sections below.

Despite its global presence, it has never been sold in the United States or Canada.

The Corsa is built at Zaragoza in Spain, and also in countries like Germany (Eisenach), Argentina (Rosario), Brazil (São Caetano do Sul and São José dos Campos), Colombia (Bogotá), Mexico (Ramos Arizpe), South Africa (Port Elizabeth), India (Halol), and China (Shanghai).

Opel Corsa A

The front-wheel drive Corsa was first launched in April 1983 to replace the Opel Kadett C City. 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. The basic model was called just the Corsa, which was followed by the Corsa Luxus, Corsa Berlina and the sporty Corsa SR. Six years later, the Corsa received a facelift, which included a new front fascia and some other minor changes. The models were called LS, GL, GLS and GT. The Corsa was known in the UK market as the Vauxhall Nova.

Power came from 1.0 L, 1.2 L, 1.3 L and 1.4 L petroleum engines which were short on performance but strong on economy. There was also a 1.5 L diesel engine available, which was also used in the Isuzu Gemini at around the same time. All of these engines (with the exception of the 1.5 L diesel engine and 1.0 L engine, which were based on the OHV unit from the Kadett C) were based on well proven GM Family II designs. The engines and most of the mechanical components were derived from those used in the Astra/Kadett.

A 1.6 L multi-point fuel injected engine with and capable of was later added to the Corsa/Nova, giving decent performance and being badged as a GSi (GTE in pre-facelift models in the UK, later models were all called GSi). A model with an 1.4 L multi-point fuel injected engine also became available as the SRi, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi.

The design was freshened in 1990 with new bumpers, headlights, grille and interior, but the car was showing its age against strong competition such as the Renault Clio and Peugeot 106.

Vauxhall Nova

The Vauxhall Nova was produced by General Motors between 1983 and 1993. It replaced the Vauxhall Chevette and Opel Kadett City. All Nova and Vauxhall Corsa models were made in Spain, with the first British customers taking delivery of their cars in April 1983. It gave Vauxhall a much-needed modern competitor in the UK supermini market, as the Chevette was older than the majority of its competitors, namely the Ford Fiesta and Austin Metro.

Sales in the UK were strong right up to the end, but by the time the last Nova was made in early 1993, it was looking very dated in comparison to more modern rivals like the Peugeot 106 and Renault Clio. Its successor was the Corsa; the first Vauxhall to adopt the same model name as the Opel version. By 1996, the whole Vauxhall and Opel ranges were identically named.

Names and markets

  • Opel Corsa - Europe (except for UK)
  • Vauxhall Nova - United Kingdom

Opel Corsa B

The Corsa was seen for the first time in it's pre-production stage back in 1992, but In 1993 the Corsa B was finally unveiled, and in the UK, Vauxhall dropped the Nova name, with the car now being known as the Corsa. The following year, it was launched by Holden in Australia, as the Barina, replacing a version of the Suzuki Swift sold under that name. This proved a success, and was the first Spanish-built car to be sold in significant volumes in the Australian market.

Power came from 1.2 L Family 0, 1.4 L and 1.6 L Family 1 petrol engines, as well as an economical 1.5 L turbodiesel engine. Unlike the previous model, there was no saloon version, but one was designed in Brazil for the Latin American market, as saloons were much preferred to hatchbacks. This was also introduced in South Africa and India. A station wagon, panel van and pick-up truck were also introduced. The wagon version was sold in some European markets (including Italy), badged as an Opel. The Corsa also spawned a small coupé called Opel Tigra. A 1.0 L 3-cylinder Family 0 economy version was launched in 1996, and a Lotus-tuned suspension was added as well as an exterior refresh. Strong competition came from new models like the Peugeot 206, Fiat Punto and Škoda Fabia.

The sedan model is still built and sold in Argentina and Brazil as Chevrolet Corsa Classic and also sold in Chile. A budget version, the Chevrolet Celta, has bodywork resembling the late 1990s Vectra and Astra. The Celta is sold in Argentina as the Suzuki Fun.

The saloon and wagon versions were produced in China by Shanghai GM as Buick Sail and Buick Sail S-RV, respectively, until 2005. That year they became known as the Chevrolet Sail and SRV. In September 2006, Chile became the first country outside China to receive the Chinese-assembled Sail; it is called the Chevrolet Corsa Plus, available as a four-door sedan with a 1.6 L engine. The Corsa Plus includes dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, electric windows and central locking as standard equipment.

In India, the hatchback, saloon and wagon versions were sold as the Corsa Sail, Corsa (or Corsa Joy) and Corsa Swing respectively until the end of 2005. The hatchback model is also still produced, and extensively marketed in South Africa as the Corsa Lite under the Opel branding.


In 1994, General Motors de México first marketed the Corsa B as the Chevy, which would quickly replace Volkswagen's Sedán as the people's favorite. For 2004 (after the Corsa C was introduced), a Mexican designed and produced version of the hatchback and sedan, known as the Chevy C2, was released, which is also sold in Colombia. All Mexican previous versions were known as the Chevy, with the names Monza used on the sedan, and Swing (5-door) and Joy (3-door) for the hatchbacks. The latter 2004 and 2008 redesigns were simply named Chevy and Chevy Sedán. The Chevy remains a favorite among taxicab drivers and one of the best selling cars in the country.

Names and markets

  • Opel Corsa - Europe (except for UK)
  • Vauxhall Corsa - United Kingdom
  • Holden Barina - Australia, New Zealand (has just been replaced by Daewoo Kalos)
  • Chevrolet Corsa - Latin America
  • Chevrolet Corsa Classic/Classic - South America (after the launch of new Corsa)
  • Chevrolet Corsa Plus - Chinese-assembled Corsa sold in Chile
  • Opel Corsa Lite - South Africa (after the launch of new Corsa)
  • Opel Swing - South African station wagon
  • Buick Sail - China, until 2005
  • Chevrolet Sail - China, since 2005
  • Opel Vita - Japan (Toyota already registered the Corsa name for one of their domestic models, the Toyota Tercel)
  • Chevrolet Chevy/Chevy C2 - Mexico (C2 after 2004 facelift, dropped in 2008 as New Chevy)
  • Chevrolet Monza - Mexico (4 door version until 2004)
  • Opel Corsa "Classic" - South African sedan
  • Opel Sail - India
  • Chevrolet Small- taxi version

Opel Corsa C

The Corsa C was introduced in 2000. General Motors dubbed the new chassis Gamma and intended to use it in a number of other models.

A sedan version is also offered in Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East. The Brazilian version of the Corsa sold in those countries features a more conservative front end than its European counterpart. Brazil also offers a pickup truck version of the Corsa named the Chevrolet Montana (sold in some markets as the Tornado), which, as well as the sedan, is exported in completely knocked down form to South Africa for local assembly. GM South Africa markets the hatchback simply as The New Corsa, and the pickup version as the Utility. Since 2007, the Corsa C saloon has been discontinued in South Africa.

The Corsa C was introduced with a 1.7 L DTI Ecotec turbodiesel engine supplied by Isuzu (Circle L) with 75 hp (55 kW). This was later joined by the 1.7 L DI Ecotec turbodiesel engine also supplied by Isuzu. The 1.7 L DI Ecotec didn't include an intercooler and this reduced power to . From 2003 a new 1.3 L CDTI Ecotec turbodiesel engine was supplied by Fiat (MultiJet) which produced and a 1.7 L CDTI Ecotec turbodiesel was supplied by Isuzu which produced . This new 1.7 L CDTI Ecotec featured a variable geometry turbocharger.

The 1.0 L and 1.2 L Ecotec Family 0 engines are carry-overs from the Corsa B; but the 1.4 L Family 1 engine was replaced with a new Family 0 model of the same displacement. The 1.8 L Family 1 engine is an upgrade for the previous 1.6 L 16-valve engine and produces and of torque. The edition with the 1.8 L engine was named Corsa GSi and was the predecessor of the new Corsa OPC. In 2003, Opel introduced updated versions of these engines with TwinPort technology, and the 1.2 L engine gained another , giving it .


The Corsa C arrived in the 2002 model year as a 5 door hatchback and was imported from Europe but for the 2003 model year the Corsa sold in Mexico began coming from Brazil and a sedan version was added. In 2005 the sedan version introduced a semi-automatic transmision called easytronic because it was only offered in a 5 speed manual transmision but the easytronic transmition was rapidly discontinued after the 2007 model year because of poor sales and technical flaws. For 2008 the Corsa was tweaked with a freshened grille, lights and a gold colored Chevrolet logo.The 2008 model year marked the end of the Corsa in Mexico leaving only the older and freshened Chevy (Corsa B); both the 5 door hatchback and sedan were descontinued in June 2008 and were replaced by the Chevrolet Aveo.

In 2002, the Corsa chassis spawned a mini MPV called the Opel Meriva, development of which began under Opel in Rüsselsheim (but finished by Chevrolet in Brazil).

The Corsa C is still manufactured and sold in South America. The production plant that produces this car model is located in Sao Caetano do Sul, Brazil.

Since the 2007 model year, the Latin American Corsa C features the Opel-inspired Chevrolet logo with a golden bowtie instead of a chromed one - the new logo was first introduced in the South American market with the new Chevrolet Vectra.

In Australia, the car was launched to much fanfare from many motor journalists, and went on the win the Wheels 2001 "Car Of The Year" (COTY). Holden also imported the SRi version with the 1.8L Astra motor and uprated sports suspension including traction control, ABS brakes, a better tyre/wheel combination and Irmscher body kit to produce a "baby hot hatch" Barina. The face lifted 2004 model was also imported, however, in December 2005, the Corsa C was dropped from the Australian & New Zealand Holden ranges as a cost-cutting measure by GM to be replaced by the Daewoo Kalos, which is now badged as a Holden Barina. Motoring journalists have been scathing in their criticism of the new model, particularly the bland handling, lackluster engine and below-par safety features.

This Corsa was a huge success for Vauxhall in Britain, being the most popular supermini and second most popular car overall in 2002, 2003 and 2004. It was also Britain's best selling supermini in 2005, achieving third place overall, but in 2006 (the final year of production) it lost top place in the supermini sector after five years, and was overtaken by the Ford Fiesta. Overall, it was Britain's fourth most popular car in 2006.

Names and markets

  • Opel Corsa - Europe (except for United Kingdom), South Africa, Egypt, Hong Kong, India
  • Vauxhall Corsa - United Kingdom
  • Holden Barina - Australia, New Zealand
  • Chevrolet Corsa - Latin America
  • Chevrolet Corsa Evolution - Chile, Colombia
  • Opel Vita - Japan (see Corsa B for explanation)

Opel Corsa D

The Corsa D was created using a new version of the Gamma platform, which was co-developed by Fiat and Opel, and is also employed by the 2006 Fiat Grande Punto. The first official pictures of the Corsa D were released by Opel in May 2006.

The new Corsa is available in both three and five-door versions, and once again marketed as a Vauxhall in the UK. The same engines sizes from the Corsa C were available at launch, although the 1.3 L CDTI and 1.7 L CDTI engines were upgraded, with power ranging from to . The OPC/VXR version went on sale in early 2007, with a 1.6 L turbocharged petrol engine powering the front wheels. The 1.3 CDTI engine was updated in mid-2007 to bring CO2 levels to just 119 g/km, meaning that a full 12 months road fund licence is £35.

It has sold well in Britain, though in 2007 it was unable to regain top spot in the supermini sector from the Ford Fiesta. However, it was Britain's fourth most popular new car for 2007.


Flexfix is an optional integrated bicycle rack. It is essentially a concealed drawer that can be pulled out from the car's rear bumper. On it are two wheel-mount bike racks, rear licence plate incorporated in the system,brake/tail lights, indicators and fog and reverse light alternates in left hand drive and right hand drive cars.

Names and markets

  • Opel Corsa - Europe (except for UK), Singapore, South Africa
  • Vauxhall Corsa - United Kingdom
  • Chevrolet Viva - Brazil

Hybrid version

At the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, Opel unveiled the Opel Corsa Hybrid Concept, a coupe that combines a belt-driven starter and alternator with a lithium-ion battery .

Opel Corsa Super 2000

At the 2008 Cork 20 International Rally Irish Rally Legend Austin Machale debutised the MSD built Opel Corsa Super 2000. The car had been set for a debut on the Rallye Deutschland but no testing work had been carried out therefore it's debut was delaied.


External links

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