The popular hatchback segment in South Africa has received a new contender in the form of the 6th-generation Opel Corsa.
The new Corsa has seen a big change from its predecessor and differentiates itself clearly in terms of looks, features, and performance.
It is aimed squarely at one of the hottest segments in the country and goes up against the hatch king – the VW Polo.
The two cars trade blows in terms of features, they have a comparable price, and both are pleasing to look at – making this quite the even matchup.
Currently, only the Opel Corsa Edition 1.2N is available in South Africa – and future models with different specifications will be added to the lineup later on.
At this point in 2021, the Polo is about three years older than the Corsa and has enjoyed a longer time on the market – garnering a multitude of best-seller awards.
The design still looks fresh, and sometimes it’s still called the “new Polo.”
The new Corsa, however, aims to take the Polo off its throne and has been treated to a lot of new features and specs that were fitted as standard in order to achieve this.
Starting with the design, it has been modernized and now features a lower roofline and steeper windscreen – giving it a sportier stance on the road.
Additionally, every Corsa Edition will receive front and rear fog lamps and daytime running lights with automatic functionalities, fitted as standard.
The Polo – unchanged since 2018 -only gets LED daytime running lights.
Furthermore, the Corsa Edition on offer gets 16-inch alloy wheels – compared to the 14-inch wheels fitted to the VW as standard.
Moving to the inside, both cars have cloth interiors and a touchscreen infotainment system on the dash.
The Opel pulls ahead, however, as all its windows and mirrors are electrically adjustable – whereas only the Polo’s two front windows have this ability.
The screen installed in the Corsa is a 7-inch IntelliLink infotainment system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
It offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and can be controlled through voice, and touch inputs. This is then connected to a six-speaker sound system.
The Polo has the VW Composition media system, which features a slightly smaller 6.5-inch display that only accepts touch inputs, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and has a mobile phone interface for iPhone/iPod.
It also has two fewer speakers.
Another notable feature for the Corsa – which isn’t available on the baseline Polo – is a 180-degree rear view camera which fills up the infotainment screen when the reverse gear is selected.
In addition, both cars get a second, smaller screen within the instrument cluster where information about your vehicle will be displayed as you scroll through it.
The Polo, at 2cm shorter than the Corsa, boasts slightly larger boot capacity at 350 litres – compared to the 309 litres available from the Opel.
Neither manufacturers decided to skimp out on safety – as we’ve come to expect in 2021 – and features including front and rear airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist are shared.
However, the Corsa pulls ahead again as emergency braking assist, park assist, and cruise control with speed limiter and speed limit adaptation have been fitted as standard – whereas these are optional features in the Polo lineup.
Price and performance
The Opel Corsa has been fitted with a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated engine, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, and has a vehicle weight of 980kg.
This motor produces 55kW and 118Nm of torque, and allows the small hatch to achieve a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.8l/100km.
The combination of these features leads to a starting price of R289,900 for the Opel Corsa Edition 1.2N.
With this you will also receive a 3-year/120,000km warranty, and a 3-year/45,000km service plan.
The VW Polo has been fitted with a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, also connected to a 5-speed manual gearbox, and it weighs in at 1,035kg.
Despite the smaller displacement and extra weight, the output of the Polo is noticeably higher at 70kW of power and 175Nm of torque, and it also achieves a lower claimed 4.5l/100km combined fuel consumption.
The Polo’s starting price is R284,900 and gets you a 3-year/120,000km warranty along with a 3-year/45,000km service plan.