The acclaimed Vauxhall Astra GTC will inspire the look of Opel-Vauxhall’s fifth-generation Corsa, insiders have revealed. The new supermini, scheduled to go into production in April 2014, will also feature a range of efficient new engines and could weigh less than a tonne in entry-level form as part of a weight-saving campaign.
Key to the Corsa’s success could be its Astra GTC-derived styling. The current Corsa’s looks have been a hit, and switching to a more dramatic and rakish style, while maintaining the current ‘grown-up’ dynamics, could prove to be a successful formula in evolving the car and maintaining its success.
The three-door model, depicted here in our artist’s rendering, will be a more daring design than the five-door with an almost coupé-like profile, although the two cars will share the same GTC-inspired front end with large headlights and a slim chrome grille. Vauxhall’s familiar ‘blade’ surfacing in the doors is also tipped to feature.
Underpinning the new Corsa, known internally as ‘Corsa E’, will be GM’s global Gamma II platform for small cars. It has already been seen beneath the latest Chevrolet Aveo and will also be used for Vauxhall’s upcoming Mokka compact SUV.
The platform is adaptable to various lengths and widths, but the Corsa is unlikely to grow too much from its current 3999mm length, 1737mm width and 1488mm height in its current five-door guise.
The steel platform, understood to be around 50kg lighter than the current Corsa’s underpinnings thanks to weight-saving features including tailored blanks, has been designed by GM’s fast-expanding Korean arm. But insiders have confirmed that much of the engineering for the next Corsa will take place in Germany to ensure it is suited to European tastes.
It is understood some early design work also took place in Korea, but the final look will be credited to Vauxhall’s European design team, which is currently without a leader following Mark Adams’ recent move to Cadillac and Buick and the sudden departure of his successor, David Lyons, just days before he was due to start.
The suspension set-up will be MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear, while the steering will be electro-mechanical.
The staple petrol engines for the Corsa E will come from Vauxhall’s new Small Gasoline Engine (SGE) range. The three-cylinder and four-cylinder SGE units range in size from 1.0 litre to 1.4 litres. The turbocharged three-pot engine should allow the lightest Corsa to weigh under 1000kg.
A new 1.6-litre diesel engine is also in line for the Corsa. This engine is being developed as part of Vauxhall’s new Mid-Size Diesel family and is targeting more power and greater refinement than equivalent Volkswagen and Ford engines.
Stop-start will be standard on all Corsas, while a six-speed manual is expected to be the default gearbox option to replace the current five-speeder. Opel-Vauxhall also has a new seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox in development, but it is not yet clear whether it will be offered on the Corsa.
Opel-Vauxhall is targeting worldwide Corsa sales of half a million units per year, around 400,000 of which are expected to come from Europe.
Greg Kable/Mark Tisshaw