This is the first look at the new 2014 Vauxhall Corsa, which has been redesigned from the ground up in the interest of improving driveability, refinement and comfort.
The Corsa supermini is Vauxhall’s best-selling car, and during its 32-year life has clocked up more than 12 million sales across Europe.
However, while this fourth generation is the same length as its previous incarnation, the two cars have very little else in common.
What's new in the 2014 Vauxhall Corsa?
The new Corsa sits on a completely redesigned chassis, with new suspension components and steering.
Under the bonnet (which is new, as is every other exterior panel) there will be new engines and transmissions. Almost all of the interior has changed, including a completely redesigned instrument panel and dashboard.
Reasearch done by Vauxhall highlighted familiarity between Corsa models as a key driver in attracting return customers.
So by changing their fourth generation broom’s head and handle, is Vauxhall in danger of scaring off its regulars? Tim Tozer, Vauxhall chairman and managing director, recognises that the new car ‘has its work cut out’ in juggling the jobs of bringing old customers through the door, while tempting new ones away from Ford or Hyundai.
New Vauxhall Corsa: the design story
The design retains enough of the old model to identify it as a Corsa, despite the new panels. The wraparound lights are still there, as is the stepped section above the rear wheelarch.
The new Corsa has had a facelift, or more accurately a facedrop, with the front grille and badge moved below the line of the headlights. The previous car's face was rounded and mischievous, but the fourth-generation model is more angular and serious. It's very like a Vauxhall Adam's, it has to be noted.
If the old car could be accused of carrying a little weight around its flanks, the fourth-generation Corsa is almost skeletal, with newly revealed cheek bones running between the side indicator and tail-light and along the lower door.
How will the new 2014 Corsa drive?
Looks aside, the Corsa’s new chassis has been redesigned to improve refinement, ride quality, handling and stability, says Vauxhall.
The new Corsa’s centre of gravity has been lowered by 5mm, and benefits from a stiffer front sub-frame and new front suspension geometry to give drivers tauter and more precise handling.
Speed-sensitive electric power steering has been tuned specifically for UK driving and can be switched to a city mode for low-speed manoeuvres.
What engines are available in new Corsa?
Powering the new chassis and spearheading the new Corsa’s assault on the market are a raft of new and redesigned engines. Top of the bill is a brand new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, Ecotec direct-injection turbo petrol, available with either 89bhp or 113bhp, both generating 125lb ft of torque from just 1800rpm.
The new engine is currently the only triple on the market to offer a balancer shaft in order to neutralise the vibration and harshness traditionally associated with a three-pot powerplant, claims Vauxhall.
There will also be a new version of Vauxhall’s 1.4 litre turbo engine, retuned for maximum fuel efficiency and strong mid-range performance. Completing the petrol line-up are two naturally aspirated engines – a 1.2 and a 1.4-litre – as well as an improved 1.3-litre CDTi diesel.
A six-speed gearbox is available in a manual and automatic, both of which are claimed to have improved shift quality and efficiency.
What's it like inside?
Lovers of the third-generation Corsa will find no respite from the winds of change in the new model’s cabin, which has been almost completely redesigned.
Despite looking like Optimus Prime’s sideboard, the Corsa’s high-tech dash is belied by a refreshing lack of buttons. The new ‘driver control centre’ is focussed and uncluttered and the mixture of gloss and matte surfaces add depth to the compact cockpit, judging by these first official pictures.
What gadgets are available on the 2014 Vauxhall Corsa?
The new model features the seven-inch IntelliLink communications screen seen in the Vauxhall Adam, which includes a navigation system as well as being compatible with both Apple and Android smartphones.
Gadgets to warm the front seats, steering wheel and windscreen are available, as is soft-tone ambient lighting and a full-size panoramic roof.
Other options include Side Blindspot Alert, High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, bi-xenon lights and a rear-view camera. Hill Start Assist and Automatic Park Assist can also be optioned.
The new Corsa will build on the old model's success
Vauxhall is hoping the raft of new changes will strengthen the Corsa’s sales from last year. It's just slipped from the number two spot in the best-sellers' list - but has still sold 42,285 units in the first six months of 2014.
UK chief Tozer said the Corsa’s success was ‘testament to the continued appeal of the current model to UK buyers’.
He added: ‘New Corsa has its work cut out – both as a worthy replacement for the existing car later this year, and as a new challenger in a highly competitive class. We’re confident that it will jump both hurdles with ease.’
The new Vauxhall Corsa will be unveiled at the Paris motor show, on 4-19 October 2014. More details about the car will be revealed later in the year.