Indications are that GM will pluck the Corsa from the Opel line and make it Saturn’s future entry-level car. While the Saturn Astra, nearly identical to the Vauxhall VRX and GM’s previous attempt at transplanting a European brand in the U.S. has been less than a barn burner for sales, analysts in Detroit think the timing is right for the diminuitive Corsa to cross the pond.
Those that have had an opportunity to drive the Opel are impressed by its exceptional handling and ride quality for such a small car. It is, however, not exactly fleet of foot. The 1.4 liter engine takes a sloth-like 12.6 seconds to achieve 60 mph. It is possible, and not altogether unlikely that GM might swap in a different and more substantial powerplant. The Corsa GSi, as one possiblity, has a 1.6 liter Ecotec turbocharged engine that produces 150 horsepower reaches 60 mph in 8.1 sec and is capable of a top speed of 131 mph, while still maintaining a combined 30 mpg.
As far as small hatchbacks go, the design of the Corsa is either non-objectionable or even sporty depending on your feelings about small cars. The GSi has several sport package options over other entry level Corsa’s including a front and rear spoiler lip, chrome tailpipe and 17 inch olloy wheels. Inside, the interior has a degree of sportiness as well with an extensive list of standard comfort and safety elements. This list includes front and rear head curtain airbags, active head restraints in front, air conditioning, tinted heat-absorbing glass, radio remote control door locks, power heated exterior mirrors, power windows, a host of mp3 and music options with steering wheel remote control, height-adjustable driver’s seat, height and reach-adjustable steering wheel and a double luggage compartment floor. Whether all of these extras would be able to make the trip to Saturn is doubtful given the biggest hurdle for the Corsa being successful in America; the cost. Analysts believe that for it to be competitive, prices would need to start at about $13,000, roughly $7000 less than the equivalent price in Europe when factoring in the dollar’s weak currency value in the world. Fans of the Corsa can take heart, however, in the recent fuel efficiency legislation and loans from Congress that are meant to help Detroit do exactly what it will take to produce more cars like the Corsa in the U.S.; retool.