Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Speedy hatch with smooth ride, despite imperfect steering and residual value woes

£18,850 Price range

5 Seats

38 MPG

8.1
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 17 reviews
  • Aggressive looks
  • Great to drive
  • Smart interior
  • Costly insurance
  • Quick depreciation
  • Max Power looks

The Corsa VXR is a mini hot hatch that offers a lot for the money, the critics are generally really impressed, it gets great reviews.

Interior

The most obvious change to the original Corsa’s rather vanilla interior is the addition of a set of excellent Recaro sports seats. The seats are still substantial enough to contain a side airbag, and provide good lateral support for high-speed cornering. They do restrict access however, to the still rather roomy rear seats. An otherwise generously proportioned boot is compromised by a tiny opening, and high lip. Aside from some other, less successful modifications in the name of VXR branding, such as the oddly shaped gear lever, the interior feels well built, especially for the price.

Driving

The VXR’s steering has left some critics feeling underwhelmed, being neither as precise nor as well weighted as some competitors. It’s got tones of grip though, and still manages to change direction smoothly. The otherwise reasonable driving experience is let down by a notchy 6-speed manual gearbox, and an imprecise clutch. The brakes, though effective, also suffer from a lack of precision. The Nurburgring edition benefits from a set of beefy Brembos, as well as more poise than standard. The ride is unusually smooth for such a car, while wind and road noise is well contained.

Engines

The VXR is available with only one engine, a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol with either 189bhp, or 202 in the Nurburgring Edition. This allows the Corsa to reach 60 in under 7 seconds, and go on to a top speed of over 140mph, all the while returning a respectable 35mpg, and emitting 190g/km of CO2. Being a Vauxhall, servicing shouldn’t be too expensive, but watch out for insurance-young drivers especially may have difficulty in finding anyone who’d even consider insuring them.

Value for money

The VXR benefits from a raft of standard equipment that includes air conditioning, cruise control, alloy wheels, electric mirrors and remote central locking. The fact that only 2,500 are being sold annually helps resale values, which though stronger than the rest of the Corsa range, simply aren’t a match for a similarly specced Mini Cooper S. The limited-run Nurburgring edition is undeniably expensive to buy, at over £22k, especially for the additional equipment and performance offered over the standard VXR.

Though the Nurburgring Edition is arguably the car the standard VXR should always have been, critics dispute whether it’s worth the additional few grand. If you’re put of by the max-power styling of the VXR, the Corsa 1.6 SRi is still an excellent, though less powerful buy-and you don’t have to put up with that awful gear-lever.

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