Potential faults on the Chev/Corsa Utility

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In this article we will be telling you more about the background of the Corsa-Chevrolet Utility vehicle, but also about the issues it may have.

You may wonder how it came to be that this bakkie is called the Corsa-Chevrolet. The bakkie was actually at first only the Corsa bakkie, but back in 2010, General Motors South Africa announced that the Corsa bakkie will form part of the greater Chevrolet family. The Chevrolet badge was slapped on the front, and the Corsa bakkie was rebranded as the Corsa-Chevrolet Utility. That, in a nutshell, is how the utility vehicle under discussion, was born. Whether this unity was a worthwhile one, will become clear later.

So why is it called a “utility” vehicle, and not simply a bakkie? Well, it actually is called a bakkie here in South Africa, because we are bakkie people. Just imagine a person with knee-high socks, who smoke cigarettes without filters, in a utility vehicle… no, that guy belongs in a bakkie! Unfortunately, the Corsa-Chevrolet was built to be a ute (short for ‘utility’) and the word just stuck to its name. The word utility actually has its origin from the French, and it means “useable”, in other words, it is something that serves a useful purpose. We will see if this “ute” has done justice to its name.

There were various models in the Corsa utility range, the most of them being petrol vehicles. Our focus will not be on the petrol vehicles but rather on the diesel ones. The Corsa Utility in the diesel range was available in the 1.7DTi as well as the 1.3D. The Corsa Utility 1.7 diesel produced a power output of 55 kW and 165 Nm torque, with a top speed of 150 km/h and an average fuel economy of 17.5 km/litre. This bakkie was fitted with a five-speed manual transmission. The Corsa Utility 1.3 diesel with its turbocharged engine (released between 2012 and 2017 in the Sport, Club and AC design levels), was also fitted with a five-speed manual transmission. It delivered 55 kW of power and 170 Nm of torque, with an average fuel economy of around 18.1 km/litre. The 1.3 is reported to have been one of the best-selling workhorse bakkies in the South African vehicle market.

According to media.gm.com, the Corsa Utility was for more than four years the leader in its class, but it was also the second most popular light commercial vehicle in South Africa since its introduction in 2004. After its initial launch, the Corsa Utility immediately captured the attention of South African vehicle owners in both the commercial and recreational market. The vehicle was so popular in South Africa that it accounted for 32% of the total global sales. The reason for its success is ascribed to the fact that it redefined the small utility vehicle sector in terms of its appealing interior space, load carrying ability, style and features. The Corsa Utility received numerous awards for vehicle quality and customer satisfaction.

In 2005 the Corsa Utility was the highest ranked pick-up brand. In the 2006 JD Power Initial Quality Study (IQS), it was named as the segment leader and scored a hat trick with this award in 2007 and went on to lead the category again in 2008.

2008 – Best Overall LCV Brand in the Synovate Quality Awards.
2009 – Synovate Gold Awards as leading single cab ¾ ton pick-up
2009 – Best Overall Light Commercial Brand.

[J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company founded in 1968. It conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behaviour for car industries. The firm is best known for its customer satisfaction research on new-car quality and long-term dependability. Its service offerings include industry-wide syndicated studies, proprietary research, consulting, training, and automotive forecasting… J.D. Power conducts multiple annual surveys of the automotive industry worldwide. The Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) is a measure of problems experienced after three years of ownership, while the Initial Quality Study (IQS) is a measure of problems experienced within the first 90 days of ownership – Wikipedia.]

Apart from these accolades, General Motors South Africa also subjected the Corsa Utility 1.7 litre diesel pick-up to a set of speed and endurance challenges. In doing so, it aimed at setting a range of records and to test and illustrate the reliability and durability of the vehicle. According to media.gm.com, after 72 hours of gruelling endurance, a total of 15 new SA and World class records (in time and distance) was set. The average fuel consumption for this 72 hour period, was 10.5 km per litre.

All seemed well, and it truly seemed as if only awesomeness spewed out of this bakkie’s tailpipe. It therefore certainly came as a shock when General Motors announced in 2017 that it would exit the South African market scene – reason: they see no investment potential in South Africa. Much can be said about the validity of their choice to vacate South Africa, but the matter of the fact is that they did, and in the rear view mirror they left a trail of impressive Corsa-Chevrolet Utility vehicle sales. Corsa-Chevrolet bakkie owners had good reason for panic, but General Motors assured owners that they had no cause for concern. General Motors announced that Isuzu will take over their operations and that Chevrolets will be serviced at Isuzu workshops, with all parts guaranteed to be available for at least the next 10 years.

Even though the Chevrolet Utility was discontinued in 2017, we at your local SAC Service Centre do not plan to exit the country at all, we are here to stay and we will continue to assist Corsa-Chevrolet utility vehicle owners with all their service and repair requirements, just as we have done in the past. Yes, the Corsa-Chevrolet diesel bakkies do indeed need to be serviced, and it does break down and need to be repaired. We may have painted a picture that this bakkie is a reflection of awesomeness, but even they had their issues. When has something in the automotive industry ever been built flawless? What then is the main issues with the Corsa-Chevrolet diesel bakkies? Before we look at them, first of all, the problems/issues discussed here are real issues as experienced by owners of these vehicles. When discussing any problems/issues, it is always advisable to inform the reader that a problem experienced by one owner, by no means imply that the same problem will manifest in every other similar vehicle. Many factors play a role when it comes to vehicle faults, such as driver behaviour, maintenance of the vehicle, and in some cases, even factory faults. The primary reason for sharing these issues with you, is to make you vigilant to any possible problems that your vehicle may present you with, because we at SAC Service Centre believe that prevention outweighs cure by far! Let us have a glance at the few problems.


The main problem seem to have slipped in the moment the Chevrolet badge was slapped on the front of the Corsa Utility. Why do we say this? At 4x4community.com, some owners stated it clearly that they had very few issues with the Corsa Utility vehicle, and that it was indeed a very reliable workhorse, but that all changed when it became the Corsa-Chevrolet…

One owner stated: “… we had Opel Corsa bakkies – NO issues. Then got three Chev Corsa bakkies…. MISTAKE!! We no longer have any Chev Corsa bakkies! … Simply don’t understand how it went from a reliable OPEL to a worthless vehicle by changing the badge….” [The term “worthless” was used as a substitute for an offensive term].

Harsh words, but that seems to be the feeling. In any case, if you own a Corsa-Chevrolet diesel bakkie, we advise you as an owner to look out for the following:

  • The central locking may at times behave erratic (unlocks and immediately locks again).
  • The gears of the air vent adjuster may strip, this would need replacement.
  • The airbag failure dashboard light burns permanently. Read more about dashboard lights here.
  • The water pump dashboard light stays on even while there is water in the reservoir. Read more about dashboard lights here.
  • When the main headlights is on, the engine keeps running even after the keys has been removed.
  • Excessive shaking when braking. Read more about brakes here.
  • The alarm goes off whenever it feels like it.
  • The engine cuts out for a brief moment while driving. In some cases it switches off and afterwards just crank, refusing to start!
  • Check the vehicle’s front wheel bearings.
  • Any high engine temperatures?
  • Does your vehicle have starting troubles, especially after replacing a filter?

In the event of you experiencing any of these issues, contact your nearest SAC Service Centre immediately. We have qualified mechanics and technicians to assess your Corsa-Chevrolet by having it diagnosed; we also use high quality replacement parts to address any faulty part; we also specialise in giving your Corsa-Chevrolet bakkie a thorough service.

Service your Chevrolet Corsa Utility Bakkie at an SAC Service Centre today!

If you are looking for a service centre that will offer you all the services your Chevrolet may require, then look no further. At our SAC Service Centres, we only deal in exceptional and affordable service, as well as honest advice. We are here for you, and remember that regular maintenance and service is the key to a prolonged vehicle life. Read more about regular maintenance and what service options we have to offer here.

Why choose an SAC Service Centre for your Chevrolet’s servicing?

It is important to make use of a reputable service centre to service, maintain or repair your Chevrolet Corsa Utility Bakkie. Here is why you should make use of an SAC Service Centre:

  • We have a strong reputation within the motor vehicle services industry, making us a reputable choice of service centres for your Chevrolet Corsa Bakkie.
  • We run AA Quality Assured service centres, ensuring that you will get excellent service and high quality parts for your vehicle.
  • Dedicated teams of qualified specialist stand ready to ensure satisfying and efficient workmanship.
  • We offer (on request) courtesy cars, should you need a vehicle while yours is in for repair or services
  • As a reputable service centre, we also offer a warranty on all the work done at our workshops.

In our discussion of this vehicle, only a few issues was highlighted, and it seems that this bakkie do indeed honour its ute-ness as being a useful vehicle. Its accolades and awards, and even the records it set, is impressive, and its reliability resulted in the fact that there are still many of them on the roads today. If you are the proud owner of a Corsa-Chevrolet Utility vehicle, we at SAC Service Centre hope that you will continue to have many pleasurable driving hours, and we are here to help you whenever that awesomeness on four wheels, need a remedy, a touch-up, or some extra TLC.

Sources consulted during the writing of this article:

Within the above article, potential problems, causes and fixes have been identified as founded on the experience of vehicle owners and repairers, online sources such as discussion blogs, technical service bulletins and SAC experience. This information is provided solely for reference purposes. SAC strictly instruct readers that only properly qualified individuals should carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicles. It should also be made clear that the number of times an item is identified within this discussion should by no way be seen as an indicator of a model’s reliability or the frequency with which they may occur. Two of the exact same vehicles, owned by tow entirely different owners, driven in entirely different ways and on different terrains, and looked after in their own unique ways, will each behave differently. As mentioned, this information is provided solely for reference purposes but we hope – in the process of doing so – to empower you with relevant information which may enable you to make informative decisions whenever you experience any of the mentioned setbacks.