Corsa Utility 1,8 Sport
dates : 24th July 2005
30th July 2005
light commercial vehicle market in South Africa is
often glossed over by newspapers, motoring magazines
and, yes Ė television-shows like this one, in terms
of its importance.
Yet without these hardy half-ton and three-quarter-ton
work-horses, thousands of small businesses would be
forced to rely on larger pick-ups which are more
expensive to buy and maintain.
A glance through the price lists will reveal how
competitive this sector of the market is.
Starting at just over R70 000 for a Nissan 1400, there
is a choice of twenty models from the four major
players Ė Nissan, Ford, General motors and
The Opel Corsa Utility 1,8 Sport is a recent addition
to the second-generation Corsa range launched a year
ago. It comes with more power, but a not
inconsiderable price tag of R166 470.
The engine fitted to the Corsa Utility 1,8i is
straight out of the Corsa GSi hatchback.
Itís a fairly conservative single-overhead-cam unit
with two valves per cylinder.
Although itís profiled for low end torque, it likes
to rev and is happiest between 3500 and 5000 rpm, with
a redline at 6500 rpm.
In fact the pick-up offers almost identical
performance to the GSi hatchback.
The slick gearshift action makes for an easy press-on
style through the gears, and with a 160 Newton-metres
of torque at just 2600 rpm, lugging power is very
In keeping with light pick-up tradition, the
suspension is of a simple, rugged design.
Being a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it made a lot of
sense to use a torsion beam axle, mounted transversely
beneath the load bay.
This is suspended on stiff coil springs, which enables
the Corsa to accept a load of close to 700 kilograms.
The load bay is much bigger than most half-ton units.
It has a total volume of 1.9 cubic metres, which makes
it ideal for lugging heavy objects.
Front suspension is the common MacPherson strut
system, and this seemed to cope well on both tar and
Braking is via discs in the font and drums in the
rear. The drums tend to lock a little easily when
braking really hard.
The Sport version of the Corsa pick-up will appeal to
the younger set and many previous-generation Corsa
bakkies were modified for sprint use.
The one-comma-eight-i Sport features alloy wheels as
standard and colour-coded bumpers.
Air intakes have a sporty appeal, as do the rugged
The interior is pretty much like the front half of a
Corsa GSi hatch back.
Individual sports seats are covered in hardy cloth,
thereís electric window operation, and the
instrumentation is white-faced, a-la GSi.
Other Sports touches include the brushed aluminium
console with CD audio and aircon, and leather and
alloy gear lever trim.
Fuel consumption is around the ten litres per hundred
mark when unladen, and the fifth gear gives quite
relaxed open-road cruising.
At a 120 kilometres-per-hour, the engine is spinning
at just 3000 rpm, this low rev cruising being possible
thanks to the low torque peak at 2600 rpm.
With a fifty-two litre tank, the Corsa Utility is good
for over 500 kilometres in general use and over 600 on
Noise levels are a bit high in the cabin, but overall
the driving experience is car-like, showing that light
bakkies have come a long way in terms of refinement
over the past few years.
The Corsa Utility has good ground clearance despite
its rather modest fourteen-inch wheel sizing.
Consequently, farm roads pose little challenge to the
Ute. The Corsa was commendably free of squeaks and
rattles after quite spirited dirt road use.
The overall air of solidity is welcome, with General
Motors seeming to pay extra attention to build quality
to all its vehicles these days.
The clever cabin design, which includes quarter
windows behind the doors, opens up plenty of storage
space behind the seats. This is a very livable pick-up
on a day-to-day basis.
Utility 1,8i Sport
Four-cylinder petrol, 1 796 cc
- Power: 79
kW @ 5 400 rpm
- Torque 160
Nm @ 2 600 rpm
Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed:
consumption: 10,6 litres/100 km
- Price: R136
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