The first-ever electric Corsa, the new Corsa-e. It might not be as head-turning as its close relation, the Peugeot e-208, but this five-door hatchback is by far the best looking Corsa there has been. Other than some discreet ‘e’ badges it looks identical to the other models in the range and the same applies to the inside where there is no difference in passenger space, despite the 50kWh battery being fitted into the floor. There’s a useful 267 litres of boot space (expandable to 1,042 litres with the rear seat backs folded) and the interior features a digital instrument cluster and a choice of 7- or 10-inch touchscreen infotainment displays. A wireless charging pad is a handy addition and the rest of the interior has a good quality finish to it.
How is it to drive?
One of the best aspects of the Corsa-e is how completely normal it is to drive. That’s no veiled insult either. It is quiet on the move and, thanks to a single-speed automatic transmission, it’s very smooth. With a 136hp electric motor driving the front wheels there is a sufficient amount of power for a car of this size. It zips away from the traffic lights and easily maintains higher motorway cruising speeds, too.
The Corsa weighs more on account of its battery, but Opel’s engineers have done a fairly decent job of compensating for this with the suspension setup. Aside from being very firm over more acute speed humps the Corsa-e rides comfortably, though we’d consider the smaller size wheels a better option for comfort. Three selectable drive modes alter the characteristic of the car’s performance and steering, while there are two stages of energy recovery available. The stronger version of that energy recovery doubles the braking effect when you lift off the accelerator pedal, with the electric motor doing most of the initial braking.
When is it coming to Ireland?
The Opel Corsa-e will be on sale in time for the summer and, while exact prices have yet to be confirmed, it is expected to cost approximately €27,000 inclusive of government grants. That will leave it closely priced to its nearest rival, the Peugeot e-208.
Any juicy technology?
One of the best and most useful bits of tech on the Corsa-e is its battery and fast-charging system. The 50kWh battery is one of the largest in the segment, matching the Peugeot e-208 and offering more than the MINI Electric and Honda e; only the Renault Zoe offers more with its 52kWh battery. The ability to use DC chargers at up to 100kW means that owners could plug in and add 100 kilometres of driving range in 12 minutes, while recharging to 80 per cent will take 30 minutes. Charging at home using a wallbox takes about five and half hours. Opel will also make its advanced IntelliLux LED matrix headlights available as an option, in addition to adaptive cruise control — two features not typically found in cars in this segment of the market.
Aside from an occasionally firm ride there’s plenty to like about Opel Corsa-e. Its stylish looks and pleasant interior matched with no compromise in passenger space make it a good package. The Opel’s 50kWh battery should be more than enough for the average user too, and the fast-charging capability is a further bonus.