Motorcheck Used Car Guide: Opel Corsa

Years built: 2006 to 2014
Bodystyles: three-and-five-door hatchback

Opel Corsa - What is it?

It seems appropriate that in the week when Opel is launching its new Corsa to the European press that we take a look at buying the outgoing model – one of the most successful cars in Opel’s history with nearly three-million sales since it was launched in 2006.
When it was launched, the Corsa was seen as a major leap forward over its somewhat crude and unrefined predecessor. An all-new platform (developed in co-operation with Fiat) made it feel bigger and more grown up and space in the cabin was almost always a step or two ahead of its major rivals.
Slick looking and good to drive, it was also a well-built car with few major reliability worries, so there are very few Corsa engine problems. It’s equally an ideal starter car for those with a provisional licence or, with some specced-up versions around, perfect for those looking to downsize without giving up too much in the way of comfort.

Which one should I buy?

Opel Corsa 2011One major tip – whichever engine you decide to go for, make sure you get a Corsa with air conditioning. The ventilation in the cabin was never a strong point, and on hot days, a Corsa’s cabin can become unbearable so make sure it has aircon.
The 1.2 petrol was always the best selling model and it’s an engine that does a fine job of mixing reasonable performance punch with decent economy. If you do any long journeys, it’s worth tracking down the rare 1.3 CDTI diesel version, which has the torque to keep up with the big boys on the motorway and which can easily crack 60mpg on a run. Avoid anything with the Easytronic automated manual though – it’s a dreadful gearbox and makes progress lurch and irritating.
Oh, and don’t forget, although they’re identical mechanically, the three and five door models are very different in looks. The five-door is upright and practical, the three-door rather lower and sportier.
How much should I spend? Around €9,000 for a 1.2 SC five-door.
Here’s one we found:
2010 Opel Corsa 1.2i 16v SC five-door, SIMI registered Opel main dealer, 59,000km, one owner, €9,950.

What goes wrong?

Noise is a bit of an issue – listen for squeaking or graunching noises coming from the brakes. It’s a common problem and while it doesn’t seem to affect the actual braking performance, it is very annoying. Likewise listen for clunking or knocking noises from the rear suspension which could indicate that the dampers are on the way out.
The central locking and dead-lock system can give bother, so check to see if all the doors pop open and lock again when you press the key, and this problem seems to work its way through to the ignition too – some Corsas won’t turn over when you first try; take the key out of the ignition and have a second go.
Finally, Corsas were recalled to correct a steering system fault that can result in total steering failure. Most should have had the work done but check the service record to make sure.

Anything else?

We often use this section to talk about the high-performance variant and the Corsa’s is a real cracker – the Corsa OPC. Powered by a 190hp 1.6-litre turbo engine, the OPC is fast, furious and lots of fun, but without sacrificing the car’s inherent practicality. Perched on big, gorgeous Recaro bucket seats, you’ll find the OPC as at home on the race track as on the road. A proper performance car and massively underrated.
And when you’ve found your perfect Corsa, don’t forget to get its history checked out by