By: IOL Motoring Staff

The fifth-generation Corsa has just showed its large Adam-like smile to the world for the first time and the little Opel promises to raise the bar in its class when it comes to the driving experience. To that end it comes armed with a brand new chassis and an advanced tri-cylinder turbo engine.

The new Corsa will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in early October and our local contact tells us that it should reach South Africa in early 2015, although exact timing has yet to be confirmed.

ALL-NEW OR FACELIFT?

Opel refers to this as a new generation of Corsa and says that every single body panel is new, but it's also clear that its designers did not have the freedom of starting from a blank sheet. The new Corsa is evidently built around the same basic platform and structure as its predecessor and as a result many of these 'new' body panels were 'modified' rather than completely redesigned.

It presents an odd blend of freshness and familiarity, then.

The big talking point at the front end is its trapezoidal grille, inspired by the Adam's similar 'big mouth' and flanked by new wing-shaped headlights. Though the side profile is where the new Corsa looks most similar to its predecessor, it is distinguished by a new 'blade' lower body signature and the rear end is set apart by a redesigned bumper and taillights that now jump across to the tailgate to give the car a wider look and forge a resemblance to the Astra.

Beneath the new Corsa, a completely redesigned suspension system aims to provide the kind of comfort and precision that you'd normally expect to find in bigger and more expensive cars. As before the chassis is offered in both Comfort and Sport configurations, the latter endowed with stiffer springs and shocks and a sportier steering geometry and calibration.

TINY TURBO MOTOR

The big talking point under the bonnet is Opel's all-new 1-litre three-cylinder direct injection turbopetrol engine, offered with 66kW and 85kW output levels and with 170Nm on command right down at 1800rpm. This three-pot is mated a new six-speed manual gearbox.

The European range also offers normally aspirated 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol options as well as a new 74kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbo and a 1.3-litre CDTI turbodiesel with outputs of between 55kW and 70kW.

GADGET GLUTTONY

The cabin also qualifies as brand-spanking-new as far as its design, materials and content is concerned and the main point of enjoyment will be Opel's IntelliLink infotainment system, operated via a seven-inch touchscreen, and offering internet connectivity and loads of cool apps.

Yet the geek factor is taken to yet another level with the barrage of driver assistance systems available, such as High Beam Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Advanced Park Assist with auto-steering, Lane Departure Warning and Road Sign Recognition among others.