Opel Corsa 1.2 GS petrol (2024) review
The updated Opel Corsa is available with a nippy petrol engine under the bonnet, too.
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

Published on December 2, 2023

With profit margins for small vehicles evaporating in the modern day, many city cars and superminis are either vanishing from view or switching to all-electric power as manufacturers look to rationalise their product portfolios - so it's getting a bit harder to find just a plain petrol-fuelled runaround. Thankfully, Opel still provides that in the shape of the usefully updated Corsa, here tested in 1.2-litre turbocharged format.

In the metal

Opel is careful not to visually differentiate the petrol and electric models of the revised Corsa range to any significant degree, save for a small 'e' badge on the boot of the latter, and so the only way you'll discern that this is the 1.2-litre model which you're looking at is if a) you can hear its engine is running, or b) you see it filling up at a fuel station and not an electric car charging point. Otherwise, what you have here is the same crisp, neat styling of the current-gen Opel Corsa, updated with the distinctive 'Vizor' grille - the supermini is the last model in the German manufacturer's catalogue to receive this corporate 'face', which slots a smooth panel between all-LED headlights denoted by daytime running lamps with a strong horizontal line motif.

It makes the car look good and, more to the point, fresh, so it should remain competitive for showroom appeal when ranged up against some of its stylish rivals, such as the Renault Clio, the Toyota Yaris and, of course, the Peugeot 208 - to which the Corsa is related.

Inside, the Opel now has a larger 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system across the board (save for on the base-spec 75hp petrol car) courtesy of a set-up powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip (that seeming gobbledegook means the software is superfast, is all) along with a new design of steering wheel, a smattering of additional trim finish and upholstery choices, and the ability to specify wireless smartphone charging, along with wireless connection of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

These are useful alterations and there's certainly no inherent problem with the Corsa's cabin, apart from a lack of visual razzamatazz. While everything is bolted together nicely and laid out fairly intuitively, the design of the dashboard and surroundings for the front-seat passengers is rather staid. It feels somewhat at odds with the exterior, which is youthful and interesting, so it's a shame there isn't a touch more aesthetic sparkle inside the Corsa.

At least, as this petrol model, you get the biggest boot available to the car, measuring 309 litres with all seats in place and rising to 1,118 litres with the second row folded away. The Corsa Electric is about 30-40 litres behind these numbers, thanks to the placement of its battery pack.

Driving it

There are three petrol powertrains to choose from in the updated Corsa family, but here we'll just get two of them in Ireland for now - the 75hp, non-turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder in all three specifications (see 'What you get for your money', below), and then a turbocharged version with 100hp, which will be sold as a GS only. The lower-output car has a five-speed manual gearbox, whereas the 100hp turbo gains an eight-speed automatic, and all versions drive the front wheels.

Now, in one of those moments that American journalists like to call 'full disclosure', we actually drove a 100hp facelifted Corsa with a manual gearbox, which is not a specification we will get over here. However, unavailable engine/transmission combo aside, it's clear to see the Corsa is a competent performer. Its main forte is as something comfortable and easy-to-use, rather than having any notable edge to its chassis, so the first thing you notice is that the tyre noise is pretty well subdued. It's not totally absent, naturally, and you get a degree of cavitation around the back of the (empty) passenger compartment if you're travelling one-up on rougher road surfaces, but in general you don't hear a huge amount of what the wheels are up to.

This is reinforced by the minimal rustling of wind around the car's glasshouse making its way into the passenger compartment, while even on the sporty-looking GS you get supple and forgiving suspension for a smooth ride. So when you add all of this up, the Corsa covers ground in an effortless and amenable fashion, which makes it absolutely ideal for the sort of pottering about a 100hp supermini is likely to get up to in the hands of its owners.

On the flip side, it's not much fun to drive, but it's also not without its merits. The relative lack of mass compared to the Corsa Electric is a major boon here - the petrol car is a considerable 341kg lighter than the zero-emissions model - as it makes the Opel far lighter on its feet. It therefore requires less braking to get itself turned neatly into corners, while it can carry more speed once you're in the curve as well.

The 100hp engine is a willing, if not rapid powertrain, with the same off-beat note of all three-cylinder petrol engines and a useful 205Nm of torque giving the car admirable mid-range response; it is for this output alone that we would recommend seeking out the 100hp car over the 75hp, which may only be 25 horsepower down but it also lacks for a huge 87Nm, making it far more demanding to drive in a day-to-day scenario than the (admittedly more expensive) turbocharged model here.

Yet, if you tot up all these dynamic contributors, you're not left with a particularly memorable experience at the wheel of the petrol Corsa. The Electric version, despite its foibles, is the one with more 'wow' factor for most, thanks to the eerie near-silence and linear torque delivery of its eco-friendly powertrain. The 1.2-litre car, meanwhile, is quiet, capable and composed, and that's about it.

What you get for your money

All petrol Corsas, including this 100hp variant, are less than €30,000 to buy in Ireland and Opel has a policy of offering very few options at the moment, save mainly for wheel, paint and tyre choices. That makes these Corsas less expensive than the Electric models with the promise of greater range (to a tank of fuel versus a full battery) too, although the running costs will obviously be higher with the petrol engine.

The 100hp's CO2 output mean it'll cost €80 a year more to tax than the Corsa Electric, while the automatic gearbox not only makes it nearly a second slower from 0-100km/h than the equivalent manual, but it also increases fuel consumption from 5.1 litres/100km to 5.4 litres/100km. Still, as we say, you can't get a manual 100hp car here, so maybe it's not worth worrying about these particular details.

As we touched upon earlier, the 75hp car - which isn't much better on fuel economy and CO2 emissions than the 100hp automatic, by the way - is sold in all three specifications of SC, Elegance and GS, but the turbocharged version is only offered as a GS for €29,595. This makes it €3,000 more expensive than the equivalent 75hp petrol Corsa, but usefully still cheaper to buy than even the 'old' Electric model that will continue alongside the new car (with its bigger battery) for the foreseeable future, and there is at least a generous amount of equipment in the GS for the cash - including, but not limited to, the ten-inch infotainment system, the seven-inch digital driver's cluster, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, climate control, cruise control, auto lights and wipers with auto high beam, and a black-painted contrast roof.


The updated Opel Corsa 1.2-litre petrol has gained sharper front-end styling and an interior with quicker-responding, better-presented infotainment. But in terms of the way it drives, nothing much has changed. That means if you want a perfectly pleasant and accomplished urban runaround, and you aren't yet ready to make the transition to full electric power, the 100hp Corsa is a fine choice for you to consider in an ever-narrowing niche of the market.


Tech Specs

Model testedOpel Corsa 1.2 100 GS (Vauxhall version pictured)
Irish pricingCorsa from €23,995, 1.2 100 GS from €29,595
Powertrainpetrol engine - 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - eight-speed, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat hatchback
CO2 emissions124g/km
Irish motor tax€200
Fuel consumption5.4 litres/100km (52.3mpg)
Top speed192km/h
0-100km/h10.8 seconds
Max power100hp
Max torque205Nm
Boot space309 litres rear seats up, 1,118 litres rear seats down
Rivals to the Corsa 1.2 GS petrol (2024)