New images released by Vauxhall show the upcoming fifth-gen Corsa supermini carrying out extreme weather and performance testing.
Camouflaged prototypes are shown being subjected to temperatures of -30 deg celsius in Sweden, carrying out chassis tuning at a test circuit and being analysed by electrical engineers in a laboratory.
The new images come as the Luton-based company wraps up development on its reborn Ford Fiesta rival, with sales set to begin in the coming months.
Vauxhall recently confirmed that the fifth-generation Corsa weighs up to 108kg less than the outgoing model.
According to the manufacturer, depending on specification, the new supermini can weigh as little as 980kg – roughly 130kg less than the lightest Ford Fiesta.
The weight loss comes courtesy of new high-strength steel bodywork, lightweight interior insulation materials and a range of all-aluminium powertrains.
Like the range-topping variant of the current Insignia, the new Corsa will feature an aluminium bonnet weighing 2.4kg less than the steel unit fitted to the current model, as shown in a breakdown of weight savings published by the manufacturer (below).
Previous spy shots of the upcoming Volkswagen Polo rival show a design that shares cues with the recently revealed Peugeot 208, which uses the same underpinnings.
It’s the first mainstream Vauxhall produced entirely under the brand’s new owner, the PSA Group, and is crucial to Vauxhall and Opel’s success given the car’s historic popularity. It will also be both brands’ first model to be sold with a battery-electric variant.
A preview image, released earlier this year, showed the Corsa’s headlights will feature adaptive-beam full LED technology – claimed to be a segment first. Usually the preserve of premium models, the LEDs are able to continuously adapt the full beam pattern to stop it from causing glare to oncoming traffic.
PSA growth plan includes range expansion and new markets
The Corsa will set the tone for a new wave of Vauxhall/Opel models, each of which will be overhauled thanks to access to new platforms, engines and hardware that are also used across the group’s other car brands: Peugeot, Citroën and DS.
The new Corsa has been developed in an unusually fast time. When it is unveiled, less than two years will have elapsed since work began, just as the deal to buy Vauxhall/Opel was being agreed between PSA and General Motors.
The quick turnaround is due to PSA reversing the original decision for the next Corsa to be based on GM’s architecture. Once PSA had taken over Vauxhall/Opel, it would have been required to pay a licensing fee to GM to use the platform, something boss Carlos Tavares is keen to avoid.
Vauxhall/Opel boss Michael Lohscheller has previously told Autocar that the new Corsa will not be compromised in any way.
“It’s true that we had a version ready to go, and you can’t just stretch a design to fit a new platform,” he said, “but the teams have done a fantastic job in record time to ensure that the car is on schedule.”
The new Corsa will be based on PSA’s Common Modular Platform (CMP), a front-wheel-drive architecture. The Corsa will also dip into PSA’s engine line-up and is likely to adopt the turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol unit in a variety of power outputs.
Comment: PSA plans for a better Vauxhall Corsa
Despite the switch to a new platform, the Mk6 Corsa’s dimensions are understood to closely match the outgoing model’s. Vauxhall chose to launch the current Corsa in 2014 with near-identical dimensions to its predecessor, because the company felt it was the ideal size for customers. This strategy is expected to continue. The current Corsa is 4021mm long, 1736mm wide and 1479mm tall, dimensions that make it slightly longer and taller, but narrower, than the existing 208.
The design of the Corsa was set to be evolutionary before the plan for a GM-derived model was axed. Now, to mark a new era for the model under PSA ownership, the styling promises to mark a departure from its traditional look. However, if the Grandland X SUV is anything to go by, its relationship with PSA will result in a design less radical than the new 208.
The three-door Corsa will be axed, reflecting an industry trend to discontinue such bodystyles, which are less popular with buyers. Producing only a five-door Corsa will also help Vauxhall/Opel’s drive for greater efficiency and increased profitability.
Inside, the Corsa will receive PSA’s familiar touchscreen infotainment system, but the overall feel of the interior is expected to be distinct from that of its French siblings. Vauxhall’s new grille and lights design and all-glass fascia panel are expected to be introduced.
Not long after the debut of the standard Corsa this year, an electric version will be launched, named eCorsa. Although the Peugeot 208 will get an electric variant first, it and the Corsa will be among the select few in the supermini segment to adopt electrified powertrains. Key rivals such as the Ford Fiesta are not expected to go electric for many years yet.
The electric range of the eCorsa is likely to be about 210 miles, in line with zero-emissions rivals such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.
The current Corsa was once the UK’s second-best-selling car but is currently fifth in the sales charts, selling less than half of the Fiesta’s sales total each month. The new version will be built at the Zaragoza plant in Spain.
The price of the new Corsa is expected to rise slightly over today’s £13,575 starting point for the five-door model but still undercut the 208.