Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
General Motors Corsa
- United Kingdom: Vauxhall Corsa
- Continental Europe: Opel Corsa
- Latin America: Chevrolet Corsa
- Middle East: Chevrolet Barina
- Australasia: Holden Barina
- China: Buick Sail
- Japan: Opel Vita (Toyota already had a model using the Corsa name)
Opel Corsa A
The front wheel drive Corsa was first launched in 1983 to replace the Vauxhall Chevette. Built in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door versions arriving two years later. It was known in the UK as the Vauxhall Nova (as it was considered that Corsa sounded too much like coarser), and became best known as a popular choice of car driving schools. Although many young British 'boy-racers' and 'Chavs' customised or 'souped up' their models (and continue to do so to this day), the Nova was usually seen as dull. Power came from 1.0 L, 1.2 L, 1.3 L, and 1.4 L petrol engines which were short on performance but strong on economy. The engines and most of the mechanical components were derived from those used in the Astra/Kadett.
A 1.6 L fuel injected engine with 100 hp (74 kW) and capable of 115 mph (186 Km/h) was later added to the Corsa/Nova range, giving better performance and being badged as a GSi or GTE. But the car's handling was still criticized as uninvolving and the styling called dull inside and out. There were also reports of a significant number of roll-over accidents not involving any other vehicles, that called the handling into question.
Opel Corsa B
In 1993, a curvier, more attractive, Corsa was unveiled, and in the UK Vauxhall dropped the Nova name, the car now being known as the Corsa in the UK. The next year, it was launched by Holden in Australia, as the Barina replacing a version of the Suzuki Swift sold under that name. This proved a success, and was the first Spanish-built car to be sold in significant volumes on the Australian market.
Power came from 1.2 L, 1.4 L and 1.6 L petrol engines as well as an economical 1.5 L turbo-diesel. Unlike the previous model, there was no sedan version, but one was designed in Brazil for the Latin American market, as sedans were much preferred to hatchbacks. This was also introduced in South Africa and India. A station wagon and pick-up truck were also introduced. The wagon version was sold in some European markets, including Italy, badged as an Opel.
A 1.0 L 3-cylinder economy version was launched in 1996, and a Lotus-tuned suspension was added as well as an exterior refresh. Strong competition came from new models like the Peugeot 206, Fiat Punto and Skoda Fabia.
The sedan model is still built and sold in Brazil as the Chevrolet Corsa Classic, renamed to Chevrolet Classic for the 2005 model year. A budget version, the Chevrolet Celta , has bodywork resembling the third-generation Corsa but in fact rests on second-generation underpinnings. In India, the hatchabck and wagon versions are still sold, as the Corsa Sail and Corsa Swing respectively.
Opel Corsa C
The current model Corsa was introduced in 2001, with distinctive styling for the three-door and five-door hatchbacks. General Motors dubbed the new chassis Gamma and intended to use it in a number of other models. A sedan version is also offered in Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East. The Brazilian version of the Corsa sold in those countries has a distinctive front end, more conservative than its European counterpart. Brazil also offers a four-door and pick-up truck version of the Corsa (the latter named Chevrolet Montana), which is exported in Completely Knocked-Down (CKD) kit to South Africa for local assembly.
The 1.0 L, 1.2 L and 1.4 L petrol engines were carry overs from the previous range, but the 1.7 L Circle L turbo-Diesel and 1.8 L petrol engines were both new. In 2002, the Corsa chassis spawned a mini-MPV called the Meriva, development of which began under Opel in Rüsselsheim but finished by Chevrolet do Brasil.
A new version of the Gamma platform is currently being codeveloped by Fiat and Opel. It will be shared across 2005 Fiat Punto, 2006 Opel Corsa and future versions of Lancia Ypsilon and Fiat Idea. A variant of it may be employed by GM Daewoo for use in its sub-compact cars.
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