Opel Corsa E, which is actually a Vauxhall Corsa D with many improvements. You might say that the French wine will spoil the American supermini, but here’s how much better it can get.

 You’d think an American car taken over by the French couldn’t possibly turn out well. But here’s the thing about the Opel Corsa E: things take a turn for the better.

It still remains a city supermini that sits somewhere in the middle. Whether it’s the purchase price, quality, comfort or performance. Opel Corsa E, that shawarma kebab you eat at a mediocre but fair fast food place. It doesn’t impress you, but you don’t get absolutely horrified and you avoid catching salmonella poisoning and then you get a thrill in the hospital corridors.

Fortunately, the Opel Corsa E has escaped the French tyranny that has begun to balloon Opel car prices and remains a cheap car to buy. It’s somewhere halfway between an entry-level supermini like the Hyundai i20 or Suzuki Swift and a premium supermini like the Polo. I’ve raved a lot in many articles, but here you really don’t have much to write about. It’s as difficult to write as the ASX review. They are well-executed cars but that’s about it. There’s nothing special about them, nothing wrong with them. That probably also comes from the fact that this Vauxhall Corsa is a facelift of the old Opel Corsa D, where if you knew which engines to choose, it was a cheaper car to run than walking. Yes, the Americans still aren’t good at small turbocharged petrols, but otherwise, you’ve got an old tech wheelbarrow brought up to Euro 6 standards. If you’ve ever driven a Corsa C, you’ll feel right at home in the Vauxhall Corsa E. If you’ve had a Samsung Galaxy all your life, you’ll be familiar with the latest models too. That’s how it is with the Vauxhall Corsa. Or with inflatable dolls.


Opel Corsa E Engines


  • 1.0 Turbo SIDI of 90 and 115 horsepower – Withdrawn from the market in 2018 due to numerous concerns related to Low-Speed Pre-Ignition Detonation. Essentially it’s a phenomenon that happens to small petrol engines that have a turbo attached to them. The moment you crank it up from low speeds it creates immense pressure on the cylinders and from this, you can deduce the following. Most manufacturers have optimised engines and this issue is rarer than the positive news on the TV. Most. Not Opel.
  • 1.2 MPI of 70 horsepower – An engine carried over from the Corsa C to the Corsa D and then dragged onto the Vauxhall Corsa E. An engine older than Betty White, needs occasional coil packs and occasional timing chain check as the chain can stretch. This is the engine cheaper than walking.
  • 1.4 MPI of 75, 90 and 100 horsepower – Coming from the same family as the 1.2 MPI, the 1.4 naturally aspirated petrol comes with the same issues. What’s different about this engine is that it’s the cheapest petrol that comes with an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, for that money, you only get an automatic with a torque converter. If you’ve never driven one before, you should know that it’s a much slower reacting transmission than modern automatics, but it’s much more reliable. Plus it doesn’t have a flywheel so you’ve saved serious money here alone. There was also a version with Easytronic, the semi-automatic gearbox, but that’s just another failure by another manufacturer trying that. Isn’t that Dacia and Fiat?
  • 1.4 Turbo of 100, 140 and 150 horsepower  – The same 1.4 Turbo used in the Mokka, Astra, Insignia and whatever basically, the turbo petrol makes the Vauxhall Corsa E a real torpedo on the streets. But only if you avoid the automatic gearbox that gets along with the engine like the citizen gets along with the state. Like the relationship between ass and poo.
  • 1.6 Turbo of 207 horsepower – now we’re talking fun! Throw logic and money into the Opel Corsa E OPC. It’s not a bad engine, but unfortunately, you have to buy the body as well. I say that because this engine only comes in the 3-door version. But, if you have such exclusive and quirky tastes to get a Corsa OPC in 3 doors, you don’t have friends or kids anyway, so it doesn’t matter about the lack of rear doors.


1.3 CDTI of 75 and 95 horsepower – The classic 1.3 CDTI stole..borrowe…licensed from Fiat, this Multijet has proven to be an incredibly reliable engine. That’s if you keep it out of town, where it starts to have serious EGR and particle filter issues.


Opel Corsa E General Issues

  • The Easytronic semi-automatic gearbox is far from being the most reliable or high-performance transmission so I recommend avoiding it. Plus you save about 1000 euros, which in this segment of cars makes a huge difference. Just as in the man’s world a few centimetres can make the difference between winning and pulling up your trousers and walking away in SHAME.
  • The infotainment system sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. That is if you can afford or find one with infotainment. Or if you’re interested in infotainment in a car in this class. The kind of person who buys something like this usually prefers to use their smartphone only.
  • Here it’s somewhat debatable whether it’s an issue or not, but a lot of people complain about the much too light steering. The advantage is that it’s very easy to drive around town. The disadvantage is that it’s dangerous on long journeys. It’s as if someone’s going for a long drive in a Corsa.



Opel Corsa E Verdict

It remains a cheap car to buy and maintain. However, it doesn’t come with anything to convince you and take your eyes or money. Moreover, for small, cheap and good-looking city cars there is a big contender right in Opel’s garden – the Opel Adam. It looks like the kind of car you only buy if you’ve found it at a very good price, with an “Special Offer” sticker slashed across the windscreen. It has nothing to show off to impress, so if you don’t want to be impressed by a car and just want something cheap to haul your ass around town, it’s probably worth taking a look at the Opel Corsa E.

Which engines do you recommend? For the city, I recommend the 1.4 MPI naturally aspirated petrol with manual transmission. And for diesel, you’ll never guess which engine I recommend.