Led by British exterior design chief Mark Adams, the new Vauxhall/Opel look has been pushed to its most extreme, stylish interpretation to date, say insiders. Whereas the MkII was merely a bigger update of the original, the MkIII takes a different approach.
With its big, swept back lamps, exaggerated grille and vents galore, it looks as aggressive as the new Astra. Not only were the designers pushed on by a brief for a radical Corsa, they were also thrown into competition with ItalDesign.
Giugiaro pitching in with a proposal was understandable, because he designed the new Fiat Punto –the MkIII Corsa’s twin. The two superminis were paired, and it’s ironic that the first united model is emerging after GM and Fiat have split. “The two cars share components but look very different,” says a GM high-up.
The blueprint is conventional: three- and five-door bodystyles, transverse engines, front-drive and the wheels pushed out as close to the corners as possible to free up more cabin space. Expect a high Euro NCAP rating – Saab has helped engineer the passive safety systems. Sources also say it’s a lot sharper to drive, and more refined, too.
Vauxhall will offer the usual array of four-cylinder engines. The flagship VXR is tipped to get a 1.6-litre turbo engine, good for a Fiesta ST-humbling 180bhp, as previewed in the original Meriva concept. The 1.3 and 1.7-litre CDTi diesels, salvaged in the Fiat bust up, will also be offered.
Inside, today’s dowdy dash is replaced by higher quality, soft touch plastics. And the Corsa MkIII is to get a big injection of gadgets. The infotainment system is designed by Saab and is said to include limousine options like DAB digital radio, internet access and wireless mobile phone compatibility. Voice recognition and keyless entry round off the thoroughly enticing package.
With big lamps, sharp body creases and sculpted surfaces, new Corsa is a radical design concept.
Wide range of petrol and diesels, including the 1.3-litre CDTi from Fiat and 180bhp turbo 1.6 petrol.
Higher quality materials, comfier seats and a huge injection of tech including keyless entry and internet access.