Opel Corsa vs Nissan Micra vs Volkswagen Polo

Opel Corsa vs Nissan Micra vs Volkswagen Polo: Which is the best value for money?

Opel Corsa vs Nissan Micra vs Volkswagen Polo: Which is the best value for money?

Given Opel’s somewhat upside-down history in South Africa in recent years, Opel’s Corsa is one of those somewhat unknown models. Here, we evaluate its value for money against Nissan’s Micra and Volkswagen’s Polo.

Opel’s Corsa is one of those lesser-known models that definitely deserves a good look. Opel’s marketing and distribution were taken over by Unitrans Group after GM pulled out of South Africa 20 months ago, and much has been done to revive the Opel brand in South Africa since then.

This generation of the Opel Corsa has been on sale in South Africa since February 2015. In July 2017, the range underwent a major facelift, the main change being the switch to the one-liter three-cylinder engine Corsa range for most models.

Price range

There are four basic variants of the Opel Corsa. Family-oriented Corsas start at R247 900 for the 1.0 T and top out at R270 250 (1.4 non-turbo automatic). The performance-oriented Corsa GSI, priced at R365,900, is not part of Corsa’s assessment of its rivals, as it has a completely different orientation that appeals to those who normally wear a hat faster in the rear!

The latest Corsa model to launch is the 1.0 T Enjoy 120Y Special Edition. This was launched in March 2019. By the way, the last car in South Africa to be called a 120Y was a Datsun 120Y in the mid-1970s, and the company was later called Nissan (in the early 1980s). The Corsa 120Y commemorates the 120th anniversary of the Opel brand worldwide. The six-speed manual model is priced at R267 720.


AutoTrader recently had the pleasure of trying out the Opel Corsa 120Y. Visually, the Opel is now a bit dated, with rounded edges rather than knife-edge creases, which has become a trendy styling trend in this very competitive segment of the South African car market.

The same goes for the interior, where the Allure grey cloth upholstery for the seats also has some dated patterns. The dashboard layout is dominated by ovals rather than edgy, which is again a bit old-school but not unpleasant. Excitingly, the dash area on the 120-Y model is now highlighted by a modern infotainment screen, which is quite pleasingly trimmed in piano black.


To start, a person uses a key to achieve the ignition, and many cars in this class now have a push-button start, which means the key can be thrown into a console slot or put in your person or handbag. Once the key is inserted into the steering column, the 120Y pops out with the low-profile drone typical of a three-cylinder engine, which is fairly easy on the ears.

Pulling away one knows, considering this is a six-speed manual, the first gear ratios are pretty long, as is second gear. In fact, all of the ratios are fairly high, which usually means you’re rolling in the suburbs with small throttle openings in fourth rather than fifth or sixth.

There was also immediate awareness that the ride was just a little choppy, typical of a car with a relatively short wheelbase. But instead, the suspension has been tuned to handle speed bumps and other large road irregularities well.


The Opel Corsa (except the naturally aspirated 1.4 Enjoy Auto) uses a 999 cc three-cylinder turbo engine that produces 66 kW and 170 Nm of torque. The Opel Corsa is not lightweight in this auto league, with a curb weight (unladen) of 1220kg. Still, it performs well, and if you press it, the engine goes well past 6,000 rpm very smoothly.

For cheap cars with three-cylinder engines like the Renault Kwid or, to a lesser extent, the Datsun Go, you won’t feel the initial shudder. This is a good illustration of Corsa’s base body stiffness.

When pressed hard, the Opel Corsa will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 11.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 180 km/h. Those ultimate sprint times may be masking the fact that this is a good little actor when it comes to outpacing performance through gear. Opel rates fuel consumption at 4.6L/100km, but that’s pretty optimistic. However, you will easily achieve figures in the range of 6,0 liters/100 km.

Special Edition Gear

The Corsa has been criticized for a lack of updated equipment in this auto league, and the 120Y model largely addresses that. The model comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, combined with a rear-view camera, and also features front and rear parking assist. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for your navigation and pro audio needs. The system comes with six speakers of reasonable quality.

In the styling department, the Enjoy 120Y Special Edition models feature 16-inch alloy wheels, special rocker panels (those you see when you open the doors), and floor mats embroidered with the 120Y logo.

Overall impression of the Opel Corsa 120Y Special Edition.

Overall, this is a car for you because of its ease of use. It has very good stability on the open road, good grip, and a strong torque distribution from its one-liter engine, capable of remaining in sixth gear at limited speeds in most motorway situations. It comes with ABS and electronic stability control, as well as six airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchors, so it meets all safety requirements.

How does Corsa match?

Competitor 1: Nissan Micra. The Nissan Micra is very similar in size to the Opel Corsa. The overall length, width, and height differ by just a few millimeters, with the Nissan slightly smaller. However, as launched last year, the Micra is a more modern car. When it comes to styling, the Micra leads the pack with its sharp crease, and its boots are rated larger (300 liters compared to the Corsa’s 265 liters). But the Corsa has a full-size spare, and the Micra has a space-saving one.

As far as the interior goes, the Micra wins the award, with nice finishes and a more modern design, as well as features from the Acenta Plus Tech model, such as a surround-view camera with backup camera support, and more upscale materials used.

In the performance department, however, Nissan has to play a secondary role for Opel. Nissan also uses a small-capacity three-cylinder engine, but in this case, it displaces 898 ccs compared to Opel’s 999 ccs. On paper, performance looks similar, with the Micra also rated at 66 kW, but with less torque at 140 Nm. Opel switches off boost at low engine speeds for excellent everyday performance. The 0-100km/h run time is 12.1 seconds, while the top speed is 170km/h.

But if the premium style is your thing, you’ll be fascinated by this elegant little package from Nissan. However, the price of the Nissan Micra is on the high side. The base Visia model is priced at R247,900, while the top-spec Acenta Plus Tech model is priced at R305,900. On the plus side, this includes Nissan’s excellent 6-year/150,000-year warranty and 6-year/90,000km service plan.

Competitor 2: Volkswagen Polo. When comparing the Opel Corsa to the Volkswagen Polo, one immediately realizes that the Polo is a more modern design. The latest version was launched in February 2018, exactly three years after the current-generation Opel Corsa.

As far as specs go, the three cars are similar, with the exception of the entry-level 1.6 Conceptiline model, today’s Volkswagen Polo features a three-cylinder 999 cc turbo engine across the range. Rated at 70 kW and 175 Nm of torque, this three-cylinder engine is the most powerful of the three. The difference is small but significant. The 0-100km/h time is rated at 10.8 seconds and the top speed is 187km/h. Fuel consumption is rated at an ambitious 4,5l/100km, but in practice, you’ll see 5,5 to 6,0l/100km.

Polo has set the standard for interior trim for some now, the benchmark against which other B-segment hatchbacks are measured. The latest version is no different, although, in terms of pleasure, the top-of-the-line Nissan Micra runs it close. The infotainment system is handled via a 6.5-inch combo color touchscreen, and the gauges offer an optional Active Info Display digital gauge setup.

One of the advantages of Polo is that it retains the visual connection to previous generations. This fact affects its long-term resale value, and as one of the best-selling models in the country to date, the resale value is the best of any car. However, the top-of-the-line versions of the Polo are by no means cheap right now, and if you add options, they can be quite expensive.

So, which is the best value for money?

If a premium style is what you’re after, the new Nissan Micra takes a few hits, with its beautiful high-end interior complemented by sleek body styling that pushes the Micra upmarket from its previous position. The Volkswagen Polo is the benchmark for the overall combination of packaging, performance, and, most importantly, ride quality. The car behaves like a large luxury car on most road surfaces, while the other two models discussed here don’t do it to the same degree.

But with that comes the question of value for money. Although almost a generation older than the Polo and Micra launched in 2018, the current (launched in 2015) Opel Corsa still offers a lot of simple packaging at a very competitive price. It may not win the styling, ride quality, or performance races in this trio, but as a daily driver it’s a remarkably easy car with a pleasing Opel quality, “character”.

For the price, it’s great. The base model 1.0T is priced at R247,900, while the top-of-the-line 1-liter model 1.0T enjoys a 120Y Special Edition priced at R270,250. This pricing structure significantly undercuts the price structure of the Polo and Micra, which have already breached the R300,000 mark, for their top-spec models.

Therefore, the current winner with the best price/performance ratio is Opel. As for the long-term value outlook, keep in mind that the new Corsa is due in late 2020 and promises to be a whole new ball game in style.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *