£8,995 - £22,400 Price range
37 - 85 MPG
It may be getting on a bit now, but the Vauxhall Corsa still gets some fairly impressive reviews. The testers seem to like its decent space and practicality, along with the tidy dynamics and the car’s mature and ‘grown up’ feel.
It isn’t class leading in that many areas, but the Corsa is still the second best-selling car of its type – third best of any type – and a supermini that’s worthy of your attention.
How does it fare this late on in its life?
It won’t worry an Audi A1 or VW Polo for build quality, but the Corsa’s cabin is quite a nice place to be for the class standard, and certainly feels more upmarket than some of its similarly priced rivals.
Space is also quite impressive for a supermini, with plenty of storage cubbies up front and useful amounts of head and legroom all round, though taller passengers may not find it the most comfortable place to sit. The boot is a fairly large size and becomes one of the largest in its class with the rear seats folded down, but some may be annoyed by the fact they don’t lie down completely flat.
As you’d expect from a car that’s commonly used by learner drivers to pass their tests in, the Corsa is a fairly easy car to drive. The controls are nice and light, and visibility all round is reasonable, though some critics reckon that the thick rear pillars restrict it a tad, especially on the three door models.
The ride quality is commendable for such a small and short car and, apart from some intrusive wind noise at higher speeds, refinement is also a plus point. However, while many testers agree that it’s a good car to drive, some think that it’s not quite as dynamically composed as a Ford Fiesta.
There’s a fairly broad array of engines on offer in the Corsa line-up, with petrols from 1.0 (64hp) to 1.4 (98hp) litres and a 1.3 diesel in 74hp or 93hp forms. All of them are fairly cheap to run, with impressive fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. Most critics say that the smaller engines don’t quite have enough grunt across the entire rev range, and generally feel underpowered.
The general consensus is that the midrange 1.2-litre models are the ones to go for, as they offer a decent blend of power, performance and fuel economy. However they may not be available at lower trim levels, so they can get a bit pricey and a few critics thought could be a bit noisy when worked hard.
The larger engines in the range will be potent enough for most people. However, should you want a bit more poke, then there’s always the peppy 1.4 Turbo SRi (118hp) or the 1.6 litre hot hatch variant, the Corsa VXR in 189hp or 202hp Clubsport forms.
It’s the most popular Corsa variant currently on sale, so it’s no surprise that the 1.2 petrol model gets some fairly good reviews. The critics seem to like its cheap running costs, the affordable asking price and a surprising amount of refinement for such a car. However, most reckon that it’s a tad on the sluggish side.
With only 84 bhp on tap, the 1.2 petrol is by no means a quick car, and the lack of grunt is most noticeable when driving up steeper inclines. However, most testers thought that it was ample enough for the car, and was zesty enough to be fairly enjoyable to use. It’s also one of the cheaper Corsa models on sale, and the claimed 53 mpg (55 with the optional stop/start system) makes it a decently efficient unit.
If you want a bit more power or better economy figures, you may want to have a look at the other engines in the range. Still, the 1.2 petrol model has some useful attributes, and the affordable pricing means it’s definitely worth having a look at.
Even though there’s a more efficient diesel model in the range, the Corsa ecoFlex gets some fairly good reviews. Critics appear to be fond of its main selling point, the low running costs, along with its ample performance and decent pricing. Though not entirely perfect, it’s still a good overall car.
Thanks to the little tweaks here and there, the 1.3 diesel unit is now one of the most efficient engines that Vauxhall makes – the 105g/km of CO2 output means it only costs £30 a year to tax, and the claimed figures suggest it can return up to 70 mpg.
However, it’s not just good at being green – despite only having 75 bhp on tap, there’s a decent slug of torque on offer, so even getting up to motorway speeds isn’t too much of an issue. There are, however, some downsides – the engine itself is a fairly noisy one, even at lower revs, so longer motorway journeys might become tiresome, and it’s not quite as well rounded as some rivals such as the Ford Fiesta Econetic.
Overall, the Corsa ecoFlex is a well sorted all-rounder with plenty of enticing credentials. It may not be quite as efficient as some of its competitors, but the Vauxhall is still incredibly cheap to run and undercuts quite a few of its premium rivals.
Those who do mostly short journeys may want to look at the similarly priced petrols, but for those who do large mileages and long journeys on a regular basis, this spec of Corsa makes a fair bit of sense.
Being the most efficient Corsa currently on sale, the flagship 1.3 diesel variant has been met with a fair bit of praise. The critics appear to like its impressive economy figures, the incredibly low running costs and its competitive pricing. However, one tester reckoned that, in more specific areas, the Corsa does fall behind the class standard.
With tweaks such as stop/start and low resistance tyres, this spec of Corsa is the most efficient car that Vauxhall currently makes – the 95g/km of CO2 means it’s exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge, and the claimed 76 mpg figure is hugely impressive.
However, unusually for an eco-focused car, it also fares quite well in town and on motorways – the engine isn’t the most powerful in the range, but it’s still nippy and pokey enough for urban motoring, and there’s enough torque across the range to allow decent acceleration, though you do have use most of the revs on offer in order to do so.
Testers, though, did have some problems with the Vauxhall – some thought the engine was a bit noisy, especially upon start-up, and many think that it’s not quite as fun to drive as rivals such as the Ford Fiesta Econetic.
Overall, the most frugal oil burner in the Corsa range is a good all-rounder with plenty of appeal. The car’s efficiency means it should be very cheap to run, and it undercuts some of its premium competitors by a noticeable margin. It’s not the outright best eco-friendly supermini on the market, but the Corsa is still worth having a closer look at.
There aren’t that many reviews of the 1.4 petrol model, but the critics who did test it gave the Corsa a fair bit of praise. Overall, they seem to like its decent running costs and competitive pricing, along with the raft of recent tweaks. However, they did have a few gripes with it.
The testers did have some problems with it, though – the handling and body control may be tidy, but both reckon that it’s not the most dynamically competent car in its class. One critic also thought the engine was a bit loud when you work it hard, and there was a fair bit of wind noise at motorway speeds.
Overall, the 1.4 petrol powered Corsa is a very good car with a useful breadth of talents. Those who want a sharper drive or slightly better efficiency may want to look elsewhere, but the Vauxhall offers a nice blend of poke and fuel economy, and is worth having a look at if you’re interested in the Corsa.
There’s only one review of the flagship diesel powered Corsa so far, and the tester seems to be fairly impressed by it. Thanks to the engine’s rather large size by supermini standards, performance isn’t too much of an issue, yet it’s still usefully refined and returns good economy figures. However, the critic wasn’t overly keen on the pricing.
Thanks to the meaty 125 bhp output, getting up to speed isn’t a huge issue for the Corsa, and makes the less powerful versions feel rather weedy in comparison. It’s also a very good motorway cruiser - unlike most diesels, the 1.7 unit is quite refined and settled at speed, and the added bonus of a sixth gear (most of the Corsa range makes do with only five speeds) means it’s a good long distance car. And, of course, it’s fairly cheap to run, with claimed figures of 59 mpg.
The biggest problem with this spec, though, is the price – the 1.7 diesel engine is only available at higher trim levels, so it can get quite expensive by supermini standards. It’s also worth noting that the cheaper 1.3 diesel is also noticeably more fuel efficient.
That being said, the top of the range oil burner is still a very well judged all-rounder, and is worth having a look at if your budget stretches far enough.
The Corsa was tested in 2006 when the then-new platform debuted, but despite the 2012 facelift it hasn’t had a follow-up test. Still, it netted five stars for adult occupant safety and a class-standard three stars for child occupant safety
We hope that the facelift has done something to improve the zero the car scored for obliterating pedestrians’ hips, but stability control is still only available on some models while some airbags are mere options too. We doubt the Corsa range would get five stars in its current form on a fresh EuroNCAP test.
The Corsa is competitively priced in the market place, and should be affordable in the long run thanks to the impressive running costs and low insurance ratings. It’s also possible to get some really good discounts from dealers, and servicing costs shouldn’t be too high.
Although higher spec models come with a fair bit of kit, the base models are incredibly spartan in comparison, and it can get fairly expensive once you start piling on the options. The Corsa also won’t hold its value quite as well as some of its more desirable rivals.
The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the best selling cars in Britain, so it’s no surprise to hear that it’s a reasonably good all-rounder. The ride and handling is fair, there’s a good amount of space and practicality on offer and the Corsa is an affordable car to buy and run.
Some rivals are better than it in some specific and key areas, but the Corsa’s competitive pricing and breadth of talents means it’s still a car that’s worth considering if you’re in the market for a supermini.
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