By Simon Acton, IEVOA Chair, 13th June 2020
The new Opel Corsa-e has just landed on Irish shores. This week, I was kindly invited by Windsor Opel Liffey Valley in Dublin to test drive this exciting new addition to the EV market, in both SC and Elite specifications.
The market for fully electric superminis is really starting to heat up in Ireland. Hot on the heels of the likes of the Renault Zoe ZE50 and Peugeot e-208 already released this year we now have the Opel Corsa-e. Opel is part of the PSA automotive group which means that the Opel Coras-e actually shares the same platform as the Peugeot e-208, and the yet to be released in Ireland DS 3 Crossback E-tense.
Power comes from a 100kW motor (136bhp) and a 50kWh battery pack giving a WLTP driving range of 337km and 0-100km/h in just 8.1 seconds. In real-world driving conditions you can expect closer to 300kms of range, which in reality is more than enough for most people’s needs. Charging is by CCS for DC rapid charging at up to 100kW and by Type 2 for AC slow charging at up 7.4kW. At a100kW capable rapid charger this means an 80% charge in 30 minutes, but in reality you’ll likely charge at home most of the time and a full charge overnight on a 7kW home charger is easily achievable. Opel’s battery warranty is excellent with cover for 8 years / 160,000km guaranteeing a remaining capacity of at least 70%.
First impressions are that this is a handsome car with excellent build quality. The 16” diamond cut alloy wheels on the SC spec car I drive first set it off nicely. Once onboard you sit noticeably lower than in the likes of the Zoe. Whether you like this is personal preference. Personally, I much prefer a lower seating position so I instantly feel at home in this car. Driving the car I quickly get used to the controls which are not unlike many other EVs on the market now. The first few roundabouts also reveal that having the weight of the battery pack down low means that body roll is minimal and the handling feels very sure footed. Instantly the Corsa-e feels quite sporty, yet the ride is good and doesn’t feel stiff or crashy.
On the inside the interior quality is also good. The SC spec car has a cloth interior which on this model is a pleasing black and grey design which feels both comfortable and supportive with simple adjustments. The 7” touch screen is easy to see and use and I particularly like the dashboard which is easily viewed through the steering wheel where I can choose to display all the information I need in front of me. It is particularly good to have the option of viewing the navigation here, similar to the new Zoe.
There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco preserves range by dulling acceleration, limiting the maximum speed and turning down the air conditioning. Normal mode gives brisk acceleration and Sport mode dials this up another notch. Seperate to this is also a B mode on the drive selector for regenerative braking assistance which I generally use most of the time in other EVs and I quickly dial myself into the Corsa with this. The braking effect is strong but progressive when you back off the accelerator, but not brutal as with the likes of the BMW i3. With good anticipation I quickly find I can make single pedal driving work for most situations other than coming to a halt.
On to the motorway and the Corsa-e is eager to get up to speed with great progressive acceleration throughout the range which will be reassuring in overtaking situations. At speed, as with most EVs, there is minimal noise, the cabin a quiet and pleasant place to be.
I stop to take some pictures and videos at Weston Airport near Lucan and take a closer look at some of the other features. The boot is quite small, especially compared to the likes of the Zoe of the Nissan Leaf. However, being a hatchback you do have the option of dropping the back seats if you need that extra luggage capacity.
One small niggle is the charging port location being on the passenger side of the car on the rear quarter panel. This can be problematic at public chargers depending on how these have been set-up, where the parking spaces are and how long the charge cables are. It means you normally will need to get the passenger side of the car adjacent to the charger which isn’t always possible at a busy charger. Central charge port location at the front of the car, as with the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe is far preferable for this reason.
Next I take out the Elite spec car. This looks altogether more sporty with it’s red paint, black roof and 17” wheels which are of a more aero style design than the SC. As for the interior, the obvious additions are the larger 10” touch screen, half leather seats, which are heated, as is the steering wheel. From experience, heated seats and steering wheel are great options to have in any EV on cold days when needing to run in Eco mode to stretch range. This is unlikely to be very often in this car with its 300kms of range, but it’s always nice to preserve some energy if you can.
One observation from driving the SC spec car was that if you push on a bit it starts to feel a little under tyred, but the Elite model, with its larger 17” wheels is a different proposition and doesn’t suffer this problem and it feels altogether more planted. Whether this is just from the wheel and tyre size or from some slight suspension tweeks on the Elite I’m unsure. Performance wise I’m immediately taken back to my 1990s hot hatch hay day, this car is brisk and fun to drive and it puts a big smile on my face, just without all the gear stick stirring that was required back in the day!
In summary, a great little car and a worthy addition to the ever growing EV line-up. Easy and fun to drive with dynamic handling which I would happily use on a daily basis. Slightly compromised on boot space and the charge part location but these are minor niggles. If you need more boot space then go for a Leaf or a Zoe in this price bracket. The charge port location can be a faff, I know this from driving a BMW i3 in the past, but this will only be an issue on an irregular basis and you can generally find a way to work around it. My personal preference with the Coras-e would be towards the Elite model for which you get a good deal of extra kit for under €3k on the list price.
Features over petrol and diesel SC models include:
- Multimedia Navi infotainment system
- 7-inch colour touchscreen
- Rain-sensitive windscreen wipers
- Automatic headlight control
- Automatic anti-dazzle rear-view mirror
- Electric parking brake
- Rear parking distance sensors
- Keyless start
- Remote control security alarm system
- Electrically operated front and rear windows
- 16-inch bi-colour alloy wheels.
Features over Corsa-e SC model include:
- Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment system
- 10-inch colour touchscreen
- 7-inch digital instrument cluster
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Driver’s and front passenger’s seat height adjuster
- Centre armrest with storage
- Fabric/premium leather effect seat trim
- Keyless open and start
- 17-inch bi-colour alloy wheels
- IntelliLux LED® Matrix headlights
- Panoramic rear-view camera
- Front and rear parking distance sensors
- Electrically folding door mirrors
- Black roof and A-pillars
- High gloss black B-pillars and roof spoiler
- Dark-tinted rear windows
- Side blind spot alert and flank guard
- Chrome-effect lower side window trim.
Further details of the Corsa-e can be found in our earlier article here https://www.irishevowners.ie/new-on-the-market-opel-corsa-e/
See also the charging guide from Zap Map here https://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/vauxhall-corsa-e-charging-guide/
With many thanks to Windsor Opel Liffey Valley.