New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Reader test: Opel Corsa GSi

2009-11-30 09:17

Ramon Lipparoni

I think as a youngster, one dreams of the flash, speed and girl magnetism of the Opel breed.

Thoughts of the neighbour's hot Opel Super Boss still ellicited spine-chilling visions of a boy racer, or perhaps it was the vision of his beautiful younger sister washing the car on hot Sunday afternoons.

But I digress. With reality kicking back in I find myself looking out of the window of my Concrete Jungle cage across the parking and seeing perhaps the best little hot hatch of its time. With a limited budget of around R110 000, saying "no" to an Opel GSi, even if it was second hand, would be like throwing yourself on to a sword.

The inside

The cabin is a wonderful place to be with the fit being as nice on the inside as one would see while standing on the outside. The optional leather seating, steering wheel and gear knob gives me the feeling of owning a second hand BMW.

The dashboard is every young man’s dream. The silver rimmed racing dials laid out neatly in a sporty-looking capsule gives one a sense of speed. The centre console, being brushed silver, gives one a feeling that this could be a sports car.

Being a hatchback, the boot is not anything to scoff at, but had my Italian Father looking inside and shaking his head. "260 litres," he said. "Why bother?"

The power plant

Being classed as a hot hatch, there is, surprisingly, a lot of low-down grunt for this small car. Okay, it’s not a performance car, but churning out about 79kW (naturally aspirated, that is) the 1.8 does what it needs to.

Managing to get to 191 km/h, much to the girlfriend's disappointing looks, I was still pretty impressed. And since joining the clan of insane weekend off-road racing, the 160Nm of torque helps pull the beast and its trailer to every race meeting.

Unfortunately she's a rather thirsty young lady, but I think it has a lot to do with one's right foot and the pressure applied. Around town I think the best I got was around 9.4 l/100 km. However, with an open road ahead, she is more than capable to sip lightly, getting around 770km a tank.

The features

There's no shortage of cool stuff inside. There's one touch electric windows as standard, aircon, radio/CD/ MP3, two airbags, power steering, multi function steering wheel and ABS, not to mention the colour coded bumpers, mirrors and the 15-inch alloy wheels.

The biggest complaint I have is with the manufacturer, finding the warranty period of three years being slightly short for a car offering such great enjoyment.

I'll admit that when I first saw her, I was not sure of her pedigree. But three years and 85 000 km later, I still feel as comfortable in her as the day I bought her.  

Do you have what it takes to write a winning reader road test? Enter our competition and you could win cash or a Garmin GPS!


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.