Opel Corsa E (2014-2019): used car check

Many a small car has outgrown its caste over the generations. The Opel Corsa E is not one of them. The competition is often less handy, much more complex and more expensive than the small Opel. Anyone looking for a sober, good "means to an end car" should read more carefully now.

So you are interested in a used Opel Corsa. Let's assume that the car should serve less for enthusiasm (if it does, see the OPC section) and more for the fulfillment of its purpose. Is that correct? Then we can congratulate you and say: Everything has been done right up to this point!

The Corsa E is something like the cheese sandwich among used cars. Nobody looks at him because everyone knows him. It's not the first choice for gourmets, but everyone likes it - even after years. Only: how does he do it?

This mixture of the tried and tested and the familiar is no coincidence. In fact, the Corsa E is just a very extensive facelift of its predecessor, which in turn was developed on a common platform with the Fiat (Grande) Punto . That was in 2006. The slightly rubber ball-like driving experience and the peculiar, synthetic electromechanical power steering have remained.

As a basic recipe, the decision was made to use a rounded small car body that was deliberately to remain under four meters. Conversely, wide roof bars and the high waistline make for a solid impression, which is already manifested in the basic model with an unladen weight of almost 1,200 kilograms. So it's not a lightweight. When switching from D to E, Opel exceeded the four-meter mark by a finger's breadth, giving the Corsa a fresher look all round and a newly tuned, less jerky chassis with more precision.

Body: in a nutshell

On the body side, for the sake of order, we note that the five-door has almost two centimeters more interior width in the rear and also loads up to 30 liters more luggage. But getting started with the long three-door doors is easier.

Despite its sometimes cost-saving design, the sheet metal parts are consistently good durability. Rust occurs almost exclusively in an unproblematic form on chassis parts and screw connections. The exhaust system is also solid (especially in small cars that suffer over short distances). Fine!

Less glorious is the processing of attachments. It doesn't matter whether the car comes from Eisenach or Zaragoza, the E-Corsa has always had problems with the final inspection. In practice, this means that bumpers, the rear spoiler lip or even the third brake light are often mounted so carelessly that they either show noticeable gaps or rub against painted sheet metal parts, which in extreme cases can lead to rusting.After all: Most new car owners were picky enough here and complained, so that many problem areas have been reworked. If your Corsa candidate doesn't make you look good, it could be because the headlights become milky and dull relatively quickly. They can be polished up again without any problems, but this is forbidden.

But if the Corsa is standing there with even gaps and clear headlights, we have the following recommendation: The cars are still young and the underbody can also be cleaned well with high pressure. Take the time and invest a few bucks in spray wax to preserve undercarriage parts and bolts. In this way, the Corsa will remain fresh for decades to come. This horse could also be bridled from behind for bargain hunters: buy a worn-out looking Corsa cheaply from the nursing service and give it new life with little effort.

Interior: Small but mostly nice

A Polo looks a bit more airy, spacious, high-quality and also modern in the interior. That should be said to prospective buyers, but it doesn't mean that the small Opel doesn't offer a usable interior. On the contrary: the plastics feel high-quality and are durable, except for the door areas that are sensitive to foot traffic. Even tall people sit comfortably, although the space concept is noticeably designed for a more upright driving position. Four medium-sized Central Europeans can travel quite comfortably. If the appropriate extras have been selected, the two front passengers can even be pampered with a little luxury. It is not uncommon to come across a well-equipped Corsa or one with the popular comfort package with heated seats and steering wheel. A chrome frame here and a painted decorative panel there are also on board, as are extremely mannerly seats on which no one has to shy away from long journeys.

Where there is light, there is also shadow. Because the Corsa E took over the bad habit of the strong interior smell from its predecessor. It cannot be compared to the normal smell of a new car and it does not go away over time. It comes from the bonding of the headliner, which sometimes even penetrates to the surface in spots.

Engines: Always trying

The Corsa E's drive range consists of combustion engines and is distributed homogeneously between 1.0 to 1.4 liter three- and four-cylinder petrol engines. A marginal part is accounted for by the powerful 1.6-liter OPC and the snarlingly economical 1.3 CDTI, a holdover from the joint venture with Fiat. Except for the latter, no drive is suitable for real savings records, but vice versa, none goes too far either. With a moderate driving style, expect a low consumption of five liters for all engines. The same applies to the busy one-liter direct injection. They might have what it takes to be a piggy bank, but they struggle too hard with their meager starting torque on the heavy Corsa.Since the four-cylinder even as a sucker in city traffic have more staying power and consume less. Anyone who likes to drive fast can afford the 1.4 Turbo with 100 or 150 hp, which turns the otherwise rather buttoned-up drive character from boring into funny.

If you have the feeling with the four-cylinder engines that the car accelerates for a second longer than your foot commands and otherwise remains sluggish, then it is probably a specimen from mid-2016. Is the responsible update for controlling the throttle valve occurs, a similar error pattern can also be caused by a defective gas pedal sensor, which then also triggers the check engine light. If it lights up when the engine jerks, the ignition coil unit is almost always to blame.

Except for the OPC, a timing chain drives the camshafts in all petrol engines. This is basically a guarantee for longevity. However, the oil pump is also attached to it, which in rare cases, usually combined with poor maintenance history, becomes ailing. Abrasion or even fragments then collect on the oil strainer and limit the flow rate. The pump is subjected to a greater load and also circulates its own wear particles. A progressive failure inevitably follows and is soon announced during a cold start when the hydraulic tappets start ticking or even a warning message of low oil pressure appears. It is high time for a new oil pump, provided the engine has not already been subjected to excessive stress at this stage. This rare scenario would be the only exclusion criterion for a Corsa E.

The one-liter direct injection engine in 1.0 EDIT shows poor response behavior with coked injectors and throttle valves. However, this can be cleaned and repaired quite cheaply. Nevertheless, it is strange that Opel has installed an engine in the small car, which affects short-distance use. The recommendation can be summarized as follows:

Viewed soberly, the good 1.4 sucker is sufficient. It is durable, economical, for sale on every corner and sufficient for the essentials. But only the turbo makes the Corsa as lively as it fits the agile driving impression. With more basic torque, it outperforms the more complex DI three-cylinder engines, especially in city traffic. The extra punch of the 150 hp version is particularly noticeable at higher revs. So the weaker turbo hits the golden mean.

Transmission: agile and durable

The transmissions - never a credit to Opel - can be shifted relatively cleanly, especially the six-speed box (M32) and the five-speed transmission (F17). They're not as shaky as many think, not even in old age. Good thing, because automatic versions with a usable six-speed converter or the automated version of the manual five-speed gearbox are rarely found.

Chassis: erratic but durable

Let's look at the ground contact department from two sides: it's hardly worth mentioning economically, since the chassis parts themselves are hardly susceptible to wear. At most, the strut mounts at the front and the upper shock absorber mounts at the rear can rumble over time, but that's not a financial loss either. Admittedly, many Corsa have not yet reached critical mileage, but by then there should hardly be any play in the links and bearings worth mentioning, unless it was constantly tormented over curbs. On the other hand, there is the driving impression, which can be described as hoppy. Although slightly more springy than its predecessor, the Corsa E always gives the impression of springing via rubber buffers instead of the coil springs that are actually present. So if you don't like tight, bumpy tires, you should actually go for a model with not too generously dimensioned rims and more rubber.

Flaws: Rarely bad

Anyone who has read up to this point will realize that no chronic problems really prevent the purchase of a Corsa. There are small flaws and individual engines that are less recommendable than others. Above all, there is an enormously large offer. So if you are at the dealer and discover some of the little things we have mentioned, you can easily turn the price screw. Have all recalls been completed? Does your candidate look as rust-free as ours? How fresh is the oil on the 1.4? So far everything good? Then take your time and look for signs of wear and tear that everyday small car life brings with it. Are the gap dimensions of bumpers etc. correct? Then strike and put the 200 to 300 euros that were traded out into a simple preparation and conservation measures immediately after the purchase.

Prices: Large offer, changing demand

The fact that there is a Corsa E on every corner is also confirmed by the offer on online portals. In Germany, a good 3,000 units are currently waiting for new owners, half of them with less than 50,000 kilometers. Only 202 of them have diesel engines, the LPG version is only represented in one digit. The automatic quota is also rather low at 230 cars. Flagship models with our motor recommendation are between 7,000 and 9,000 euros. With the exception of the OPC (TK up to 23), all Corsa remain low in tax and insurance, as is customary in their class. Type classes: HP: 13-18, TK: 15-20, VK: 14-16.

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Conclusion

There are definitely reasons why the Corsa E rarely took first place in comparative tests. Other small cars are more practical, sporty or modern. However, there are equally good reasons why it has successfully occupied number two of the best-selling tots for decades. He's honest skin with no insular talents. And thanks to good quality, it stays that way even in old age. get an appetite? Forgive the cheese sandwich allegory and get your hands on it.

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