I have a corsa, it's very slow and sluggish. It's my first car and feel like it could do with something to give it a kick. Here's my specs any reccomendations what I can do with it?

  • 2
    Sell it. The 1.3 CDTI gives only 69hp; there's no economical way of making that go faster, and in the UK, any major engine mods have to be declared to your insurance company - making your rates even higher. Unless you're determined to stay in a diesel car, there shouldn't be any problems finding something with a little more performance.
    – PeteCon
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 16:10
  • @Pete If it was only that easy... I have a 5 year finance so
    – Kieron606
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 16:43
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    Sell it, or wait until you can. A Diesel Corsa does not make a performance car. You might squeeze it out to 80hp at the wheels at most with a tune, bigger turbo and LPG mixing. Wait until you have a better platform to play with... Commented May 17, 2016 at 2:46
  • @Kieron606: If it is financed one more reason to stay away from extensive mods or warrant-voiding chip-tuning. You wild not be the first to be left with a blown motor or transmission. Nothing hurts more than to pay every month for a non-working vehicle.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 12:56
  • Slow cars make you a better driver. It makes you more aware of how to use the speed you've got and how to handle the car, and increases your judgement when it comes to overtaking. Plus, if it's on finance, the finance people don't really like you making changes to it. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 13:47

5 Answers 5


I'd say the only realistic option with a 1.3 liter turbodiesel besides an engine swap is chiptuning/remapping. And even then I'd research the potential of this engine, you'll be shortening it's life considerably. Many performance oriented modifications will work, but in my opinion are simply not worth the investment with this engine, as the gains will be minimal. It's just not the right engine for "a kick".

  • So nothing that can increase acceleration or top speed? I have to rev like crazy to get any speed..
    – Kieron606
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 14:38
  • 1
    I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The given speed at a specific engine RPM is governed by the gearbox and final drive ratio. Commented May 16, 2016 at 14:51
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    @Kieron606 well, it's a 54kW engine, you can't expect much. But it should be driveable. If the car seems seriously sluggish, borderline barely possible to drive, then you might have engine issues. Turbo, EGR, fuel filter or injector problems might cause power loss. Might be even something as simple as a horrendously dirty air filter, which is an easy fix. Would help if you added more information about what's going on. Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:12
  • @IhavenoideawhatI'mdoing Is there any really obvious symptoms of any of the above I can look out for
    – Kieron606
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:37
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    @Kieron606 Checking the air filter is easy. Looking if there is a check engine light on and reading the fault codes is obvious as well. You could check if the clutch is slipping.easily too. The rest - not so much. I would start with deciding if there is a problem with acceleration at all, no point in looking for faults if the car behaves normally. A 1.3CDTi Corsa should reach 100km/h in about 14 seconds from a standpoint if you give it all, according to your spec sheet. If it takes significantly longer than that - clearly something is wrong. Commented May 16, 2016 at 16:06

Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot you can do with a 1.3CDTi - as the others have said, make sure it's in the best condition you can, but you're not going to get the 'kick' you desire.

I'm assuming you're fairly young, and in the UK (as you link to a UK site for the specs) - you'll almost certainly find that any modification will cause your insurance to rocket far more than the car's performance.

  • How about a remap, can get it from 75-105 ish & 40+ Torque? How much more will this help the car?
    – Kieron606
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:34
  • 1
    Adding 40 (Nm or lb-ft?) of Torque would certainly help - still counts as a mod for the insurance though!
    – Nick C
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:37

Increasing engine performance is going to fall into a couple different categories - tuning, increase air flow, reduce losses.

Before you do anything, make sure your engine is in good working order. Change the fluids, change the spark plugs, make sure brakes and suspension are in good order. You may be able to look around online and find a performance ecu chip that will give more aggressive fuel and spark curve. Beware of what you are getting though, a lot of them are fake/junk.

Increasing air flow is typically the first thing you do to increase engine performance. A couple of quick/easy/cheap bolt on mods are a cold air intake, and less restrictive exhaust. Here are a list of the common parts.

easy / cheap:
Cold air intake - pipes and cone filter
exhaust headers
low restriction exhaust - cat, muffler, pipes

little big harder and more expensive:
larger throttle body
intake manifold
sportier cam shaft

Maximum power:
Increase bore and/or stroke for more displacement
higher compression
ported head
larger valves
turbo, supercharger, and/or nitrous

If you make significant changes, you may need to upgrade other parts to keep up and supply enough fuel. I don't know enough about the specifics of your vehicle to say exactly needs to be done. Likely an ECU tuned to deliver sufficient fuel, and possibly a MAF that can keep up with increased air flow. Your stock ECU should be able to keep up with smaller changes.

Another place you can look is reducing losses. A few things that come to mind are a lightweight under drive pulley, and a lightweight flywheel. Also, any weight you can remove from the car will aid acceleration.

The overall drive ratio is important for acceleration also. You would want to increase this ratio for more acceleration. You would either need to find a transmission with closer gearing, or a higher final drive ratio. You can also decrease your tire size. Both of these changes will sacrifice MPG for power.

Before doing any mods, I always like to find a forum for people with the same vehicle to see what changes they have made, what worked, and what didn't. You can sometimes find cheap parts for sale, and its a good way to find vehicle specific vendors.

  • 1
    We're talking about a CDTi here. Commented May 16, 2016 at 14:34
  • I'm not familiar with that vehicle. turbo diesel?
    – rpmerf
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 14:57
  • Yeah, Opel direct injection common rail turbodiesel. Many of the modifications you mentioned won't be suitable here. Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:06

If you are looking for a cheap non-permanent modification with enough HP that you can feel...

One solution would be a propane and nitrous spray before the air filter.

The propane acts as extra fuel to burn, which will increase power up to the point that all oxygen gets consumed. Past that point the exhaust will start getting really smoky.

Then you add nitrous to burn off all the extra fuel.

  • Would an air intake help the car/ is there anyway I can install a bigger turbo or something?
    – Kieron606
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 21:04
  • Air intake by itself would not make enough difference for you to feel, a turbo swap can make a big difference and its is one of the first modifications commonly done for big performance gains, a turbo swap usually implies new intake and exhaust system too. But propane+nitrous can be done without even touching your engine or intake components.
    – Netduke
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 21:15
  • just the problem is I'm only 19 and new to mods so was thinking if I can make it as simple as possible
    – Kieron606
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 23:25
  • @Kieron606 the most simple thing possible is getting a more powerful car. You'd need a remap along with the bigger turbo and I don't feel confident that this engine will take it lightly with stock components, it's a quick way to trash a perfectly good motor. And a turbo swap usually isn't that simple either. Commented May 17, 2016 at 7:01

Vauxhall Eco speeder did 150mph with the 1.3 cdti engine . The power was up at 125bhp. Any increase in bhp will cost money , engine management mod £ 350 for about 95bhp including egr disable . Straight through exhaust + 5 to 10 bhp . This is expensive in time and money , cylinder head off and a full porting job including turbo manifold matching 10 to 15 bhp . Hybrid turbo expensive 10 to 15 bhp . Fully balance rotating assembly and Pistons with con rods attatched .5 bhp but will run sweet . Power increase is only limited by the amount of money you can throw at it .

  • Or just get the OPC-Model ...
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 12:51
  • What is your point? The fact that it is done by someone does not make it good advice. You are suggesting spending thousands of pounds just to end up with a non-road legal car that is impossible to insure. To add to it the original question is almost two years old by now.
    – MadMarky
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:32

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