Tag Archives: Opel Corsa

2019 Opel Corsa GSi – Irish New Car Review

This week, a family friend but also who I would have considered an inspiration passed away. This was Declan O’Byrne. Declan wrote for the Irish Independent and, more recently, the Roscommon Champion. Declan was a good friend of my father’s throughout school but I remember him as Declan – the motoring journalist. I have fond memories of him pulling up to my house in a brand new press car as I “ooh-ed” and “ah-ed” over his job. I wanted to follow suit so he pointed me in the right direction on how to do so. I don’t think I could have achieved what I have as a motoring journalist without Declan. So here’s to do you Declan, gone but never forgotten. I bid you farewell with a review, that of the 2019 Opel Corsa GSi.

The 2019 Opel Corsa GSi plays the part of being Opel’s hot hatch, until they figure what to do with the OPC name plate. It is apparent from my review of the 2016 Opel Corsa OPC that it was good but far from perfect. The GSi takes what was good about the regular Corsa city hatchback and adds a  bit of spice. It aims to take on the Ford Fiesta ST and the 2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI.From the outside, the Corsa GSi hasn’t changed much at all. It has kept the OPC’s aero body kit and faux-air intake on the bonnet. The optional 18-inch Titan diamond cut alloys (€750) set off the Lava Red (€155) paintwork nicely. The front grill’s “mustache” and wing mirror housing are carbon effect, standard for the GSi. The overall package is unique and reassuring knowing that they haven’t just shrunk the Astra. Out of the Corsa’s close competitors, it definitely looks the best.

Inside, it also remains the same as the OPC. The optional Recaro leather seats (€1,450) are the talking point of this warm hatch. Although they hug you in the tight, country back lane twisties, they weren’t made for comfort. A two hour motorway journey had me thinking twice if they are worth the extra cash over the standard seats. They also add extra inconvenience trying to access the rear seats. You had to slam and tug the whole seat forward before the seat will release and move forward in its rails. And even then, the rear seats aren’t easily accessible.The infotainment system is easy to use. It hooks up to your phone, through Bluetooth, without any hassle. Something Opel can do very well, are easy to use, no nonsense infotainment systems.

The Corsa GSi’s interior is seriously let down by the ergonomics. The infotainment is presented flat on the centre console so you must move your left arm if you want to check the time, see what song is playing, etc. This could be fixed by re-positioning the Navi 4.0 Intellilink 7-inch screen. I didn’t realise the Corsa had one-touch auto windows because you have to hold your finger on the window button for about 2 or 3 seconds before they go up or down automatically.The worst, and most inconvenient part, were the doors. They feel absolutely massive for the size of the car. The whole car measures in at just over 4 metres. I noticed the door size when I was getting in and out of the car in a car park. Even with enough room between me and the next car, I had to squeeze out of the small gap. Otherwise, I may have bumped the door off the car next to me. The climate control could also be revised. I could never get the car the right temperature without the windows fogging up.I can finally sing the 2019 Corsa GSi’s praises out on the open road. It’s reminiscent of my time with the Opel Adam S. The 1.4 petrol’s turbo engine only puts out 150hp and 220Nm but this is all the GSi needs to have fun. The steering’s lightness is weighten up once you leave the city so the 1,200kg car can really let it’s hair down. The gear change is nicely notchy too. Opel have been criticised in the past for this but I feel it works here. You can feel the gears engaging and makes you want to practice your heel-toeing technique.

The OPC’s major setback was the value for money, mainly the running costs. It cost €750 per year to tax and got 10.5l/100km. The GSi is more reasonable. The warm hatch puts out 147g/km of CO2 meaning it’s €390 to tax. Based off the couple of motorway runs and mainly backroad spirited driving I was doing, I averaged 8.3l/100km over 681km. With extras the GSi costs €29,465 with the base price being €24,895. This optioned up price puts it €3,000 less than the OPC was and, I believe, you get a lot more for your money.The 2019 Opel Corsa GSi certainly ticks the right boxes. It’s 150hp is usable on Irish roads, it looks much better than the Volkswagen Polo GTI and all for an, arguably, reasonable price. If you can overlook the interior’s niggles then the Corsa GSi is the perfect city car-cum-backroad hooner for you.