After a long absence, Opel arrived back in New Zealand late last year with two models; the Mokka and Corsa.

We’ve already reviewed the Mokka-e, a full EV in a small SUV body, and enjoyed that car. This time we’re in the Corsa SRi, a small, 5-door hatchback that is a ‘normal’ front-wheel drive, petrol-engined car.

With the world’s love affair with SUVs and utes, is there still a place for an all-new hatchback? We drive the Corsa SRi for 900km and give it our honest rating.

What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 Opel Corsa SRi

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Ride quality
Engine noise
Performance overall
Sporty looks
Sporty interior
Tyre noise on coarse-chip seal
A little tight inside
No adaptive cruise
Audio reverts to radio
Can be a little jerky at low speeds

What’s In The 2022 Opel Corsa Range?

There are just two Corsa models available in New Zealand, and the choices are pretty simple: petrol (Corsa SRi) or full electric (Corsa-e SRi).

Both are top-spec SRi models, with the Corsa SRi priced at $36,990 and the Corsa-e SRi at $59,990. That means a hefty $23,000 premium for the fully electric model.

The petrol model runs a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol motor, mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. It manages 96kW of power and 230Nm of torque. In a car weighing just 1,158Kg, that’s a good amount of torque. Fuel economy is listed at 5.2L/100Km.

The EV version of the Corsa has a 100kW/260Nm electric engine, with a 50kWh battery pack. It should have about 383km of range, according to the WLTP rating.

2022 Opel Corsa Standard Equipment Highlights

  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Cruise control
  • Speed limiter
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • LED Matrix headlamps
  • Automatic high beams
  • LED DRLs
  • LED fog lights
  • LED rear lights
  • Automatic headlights
  • Automatic wipers
  • Welcome Me and Follow Me Home lighting
  • Diamond black roof
  • Twin exhaust pipe extensions
  • 17” alloy wheels
  • 7” digital mutli-colour instrumuent cluster
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Alloy pedals
  • Heated front seats
  • Climate AC
  • Heated and electric folding exterior mirrors
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • All windows auto up/down
  • Keyless entry and start
  • 7” centre touchscreen
  • SatNav
  • DAB audio
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality

The Corsa-e SRi adds:

  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Active Emergency Braking with night function, pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Alarm system
  • 17” two-tone alloy wheels
  • Lane Positioning Assist
  • Heated steering wheel

Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment

  • Hot Red paint  – $550

A panoramic glass roof with a blind is an option at $1,990.

Including the optional Hot Red paint on our review car, its retail price is $37,540.

There are 6 colours to choose from for your Corsa, with only Power Orange at no cost, and the others at an extra $550.

  • Voltaic Blue
  • Hot Red
  • Diamond Black
  • Quartz Grey
  • Jade White

For a full list of specs and options available for the Opel Corsa SRi, head on over to the Opel New Zealand website.

How Does The 2022 Opel Corsa SRi Compare To Its Competition?

All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme.

Make/ ModelEnginePower/
(excl CCP)
Honda Civic Sport Sensing1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol127/22056.0414$40,990
Peygeot 208 GT1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol96/23056.3311$37,990
Opel Corsa SRi1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol96/23055.2309$36,990
Mazda2 Limited1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol82/14452505.3$30,895
Suzuki Swift Sport1.4-litre, 4-cylinder petrol turbo103/23052656.1$30,500
Toyota Yaris ZR Hatch1.5-litre, 3-cylinder petrol85/14552704.9$29,990
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbo petrol81/20053304.8$29,990

First Impressions Of The 2022 Opel Corsa SRi

Opel tells us that are aiming at the younger market, the 20-somethings that don’t want your ten-year-old Axela and instead want something fresh and funky. 

They’ve pretty much nailed that with the Corsa – it looks very smart, and certainly modern and current as well as a bit of funk thrown in. Finished in Hot Red, our test car looked excellent and drew looks from people as I drove past.

The Corsa and Mokka are both based on the Peugeot 208 and that is a fantastic-looking car, so any concerns that Opel wouldn’t pull it off have disappeared.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Opel Corsa SRi?

The younger market is targeted again in the cabin of the Corsa SRi, with some racy-looking pieces of red trim across the dash, and red stripes down the seats. There is also some silver trim on the dash and doors. It all adds up to something a little different, and definitely not boring. Modern? Very much.

As as well the racy red-striped seats, there is a small and sporty flat-bottom leather steering wheel, and it feels great to the touch. 

Because Millenials, there is no normal gear lever, instead a gear selector is in its place. Like the Peugeot it’s based on, this is a small toggle to allow you to choose from Drive or Reverse. To the right of this are some (too small) buttons for Park and M for manual mode. That little gear selector is quite low down and while that makes for a more open cabin, it is quite a reach. Sometimes when driving and trying to select Drive after doing some reversing, I’d have to hit the selector a second time to get it into Drive. Not a fault of the transmission, more me not pulling down hard enough on the selector.

Above the gear selector in the normal place are the air conditioning controls, and like the Mokka-e we recently tested, they are simple to operate. You can press a button in the centre of one knob to bring up an AC menu, but nearly everything you want to do to control AC is via physical knobs and buttons. That’s fine with us! Using a touchscreen to adjust AC can be painful, and not very safe to do while driving.

Opel has gone with current trends of using too much piano black in the interior, so that means around touch points like the centre screen, the console and the driver’s vent have a piano black finish. And yes, it all ends up covered in fingerprints all too quickly.

To the right of the steering wheel is a small cubby with no lid, while the centre console cubby is also small, fitting a couple of wallets in at best. Make no mistake, this is a small car, and any passengers I took (including a day when the car was four-up) mentioned that space was a little tight overall. Rear legroom is okay as is headroom, but it’s no Tardis. Getting into the back seat is not the easiest as the doors are quite short and the opening is not large. It’s usable but perhaps not for a family as a Daily Driver. Then again, that’s not who Opel has targeted the car for.

On the day I took four people (including myself) for a drive, the rear-seat passengers did complain about the heat back there; there aren’t any vents, so we did the old-school thing of redirecting the front-centre vents straight back.

It feels quite compact in the front too, but I barely noticed this after the first day with the car.

The glove box does the whole Peugeot/Citroen thing of having a full-size lid, and then a half glovebox. The owner’s manual lives in here, but there isn’t much room for anything else. Up front, there is a single USB-A port and a 12-volt socket. The Corsa SRi does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but you’ll need to connect a USB cable to use either as they don’t work wirelessly – but that’s not to be expected at this price point.

Fit and finish inside is just fine, fairly plasticky but there’s no avoiding that at this cost. Like the Mokka-e, the front doors have some nice, soft padding on the door above the armrest, but rear-seat passengers have to slum it with hard plastics over the entire door. Still, I guess that makes it easier to clean.

At 309 litres, the boot is a reasonable size for a small hatchback and the loading height is nicely low. This compares in size with 311 litres for the Peugeot 208. Weirdly, there’s space under the floor for a spare wheel, but there isn’t one. Instead, you get a 12-volt pump for emergencies. 

What’s The 2022 Opel Corsa SRi Like To Drive?

Like the Peugeot 208 it’s based on the Corsa SRi is one peppy little commuter. It fair zips along, with that honey of a 1.2-litre engine singing the song of its people. Honestly, that 3-cylinder engine is a highlight in this car; it sounds fantastic when you wind it out to pass other traffic, but on the motorway at a steady throttle, it’s as quiet as can be. Truly a great engine, and certainly one that has won a number of awards.

While it feels like the Corsa is aimed at the younger market who would use it for commuting to work, visibility is a little average. A sexy design, sure, but the B and C pillars are chunky, restricting visibility when driving. The SRi model does have blind spot monitoring, and it’s needed.

Road noise is well subdued, and while wind noise is generally low, there is some at the top of the A-pillar. Tyre noise is Corsa’s sore point; with its Michelin Primacy tyres, coarse-chip seal is not its friend and tyre noise is evident on that type of road. This is a common complaint with that model of Michelin tyre.

You’ll get access to three drive modes in this model; Eco, Normal, and Sport. The car won’t remember the mode each time you start it, so if you want to cruise in Eco mode all the time, you’ll need to select it when you start the car. With a good amount of torque in a reasonably light car, the little Corsa SRi can easily cope with Eco mode. Performance is a little down in this mode, but on the commute, it’s too easy.

Then you stick it in Sport mode. To be honest, when you put many cars into Sport mode, all that happens is that the transmissions will change up later and down sooner, and that’s pretty much it. Not so in the Corsa SRi. Put this baby in Sport mode and all of a sudden the car wakes up and really wants to go. And it’s not all show – the car fair rockets along in Sport mode, adding a new dimension to the drive experience.  

One surprising omission is adaptive cruise control; while the car has cruise control, it’s old school and not adaptive. I rarely used it for that reason. On the plus side of things, all the windows are auto-up/down, and I love that in a car. Such an easy way to get hot air out of the car when returning from a hard day at the office.

The Corsa has Peugeot’s standard user interface for its infotainment system, and that’s just fine. It’s relatively quick, and while there aren’t too many options to pick from, the essential ones are all there. Sound quality in the car is more than reasonable, but again, like the Peugeot 208, when you start the Corsa the audio always reverts back to radio. It’s only three steps to get it back to Bluetooth and it’s only a minor thing, but it’s one of those irritating ones that grates a little.

SatNav is standard on the SRi model, and it works very well. Directions are clear, and are shown on both the centre screen and the dashboard. The dashboard itself is quite small, but the resolution is excellent, and those SatNav directions are easy to see at a glance.

I ended up using more than a full tank of gas in the Corsa, and it was nice to see that as soon as the low fuel warning light came on, the centre display changed to SatNav, showing the closest petrol stations. A simple click on one of them and SatNav gave me directions to get there. Not all cars still do this, so it was great to see. Since it’s a turbo motor, the Corsa does require 95 fuel.

I mentioned the engine sounds great, it also performs very well. I had an opportunity to take 3 passengers with me on a trip, including some motorway driving. To be honest, I barely felt the weight difference in performance. Torquey engines are great in this respect. 

If there was a single not-great thing about the engine and transmission, it can be a little jerky at low speeds. The transmission isn’t a dual-clutch unit (that is often jerky at low speeds) but I think it was mainly around the engine auto-stop function; if it kicked in, and then I put my foot down to go, the resulting experience wasn’t too smooth. I got used to it, but other cars do it better. Other than this part of the drive, the transmission is excellent and feels so much better than any other constantly variable transmission (CVT).

Like its donor car, the ride quality in this small, light hatchback borders on outstanding. Light cars should not ride this well, but the French have this sorted and that’s translated into the Opel as well. 

Seat comfort in the Corsa SRi is pretty good although there is no lumbar adjustment at all. In saying that, I didn’t really feel the seats needed it. One slightly weird thing with the front seats is that the cushion is very long, allowing taller drivers to have more support under the legs. It was a bit too long for me, and I felt my calf muscles on the cushion all the time. The cushion length isn’t adjustable.

Fuel economy during our 900km of testing worked out at 6.1L/100km, a litre or so more than Opel’s claim of 5.2L/100km.

2022 Opel Corsa SRi – Specifications

Vehicle Type5-door small hatchback
Starting Price$36,990
Price as Tested$37,540
Engine1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, turbo-petrol
Power, Torque
Transmission8-speed automatic
Spare Wheel12-volt pump only
Kerb Weight, Kg1,158
Length x Width x Height
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
(seats up/seats down)
Fuel tank capacity,
Fuel Economy,
Advertised Spec – Combined – 5.2
Real-World Test – Combined – 6.1
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
Turning circle
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty5 Years, 100,000km warranty
3 Years fixed service fee: $1,590
5 Years fixed service fee: $2,790
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link – 5 Stars – COR5A

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.
2022-opel-corsa-sri-car-reviewNeedless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Corsa SRi and I’m happy to report there is still a place for a small, 5-door hatchback in the world. <br><br> The 2022 Opel Corsa SRi likely ticks a lot of boxes for its intended younger market; funky looks, a sporty interior, peppy acceleration, and reasonable fuel economy. <br><br> It’s probably not big enough for a family car, but the Corsa SRi could even suit a retired couple who occasionally take the grandkids for a weekend. It’s a reasonable all-rounder, and a fun car to boot.


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