Vauxhall Corsa

Popular supermini is an ideal first car

7.6
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 7 reviews
  • Cheap
  • Handsome
  • Refined engines
  • Struggles on motorways
  • Little flair
  • Jiggly ride at times
 

£9,595 - £19,050 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

47 - 88 MPG

Review

The Vauxhall Corsa is an affordable supermini that was launched in 2015 and rivals the Hyundai i20Skoda Fabia and Kia Rio.

The Corsa’s new design brings it in tune with other Vauxhall models such as the Insignia and it now looks modern and stylish on the outside, while the inside gets a better-looking dashboard, built from quality plastics. There’s space for four adults and, as before, you can choose between the practicality of five doors or the stylish looks of a three-door car.

Out on the road the Corsa drives with the security of a bigger car and the noise that makes its way into the cabin is minimal – up with the best in class, in fact. Although the Corsa has a fairly comfortable ride, it isn’t as engaging to drive as the Ford Fiesta.

With a dizzying array of engines – from a 74hp 1.4-litre to the VXR model’s 1.6-litre 202hp fire bomb – our choice would be the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol. It pulls off the same trick as Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost – being both zippy and cheap to run.

We’d avoid the lowest trim level because it’s sparsely equipped – offering not much more than central locking, electrically-adjustable door mirrors and a stereo. It also makes do without air-conditioning – something many rivals have in entry-level spec.

Critics note that the Corsa’s cabin is cleverly executed and well appointed, bringing the new model up to speed with its rivals. Top-spec cars get swathes of glossy black plastic, a body-coloured strip that runs the width of the dashboard and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.

Vauxhall’s new IntelliLink infotainment system comes as standard on all but entry-level models, and features a seven-inch colour touchscreen. Reviewers were impressed by the system’s logical layout plus ability to download apps such as BringGo navigation and internet radio.

Vauxhall Corsa passenger Space

With the overall shape of the Corsa remaining largely the same, interior space is still impressive. The car will seat four adults, but don’t expect six-footers to be overly comfortable sitting behind someone of the same height.

The driver is well catered for in the Corsa with a comfortable seat, that on mid-spec models and above gets height adjustment, while all-round visibility is good, if not as good as in a crossover supermini such as the Vauxhall Mokka.

Vauxhall Corsa boot space

At 285 litres, the Corsa’s boot is 10 litres bigger than the one in the Ford Fiesta. However, it’s nowhere near the Honda Jazz’s 379-litre capacity. Split-folding rear seats are reserved only for the more expensive models and even so, the seats do not fall flat on the floor.

To see if the Corsa will fit in your life have a look at our dimensions guide.

Improvements to the Corsa’s handling at long last make it a proper contender in the class.

An all new suspension set-up, specifically designed with UK roads in mind, makes the small Vauxhall quite comfortable. Testers are impressed by the cosseting ride that now rivals the class-leading Polo and there’s a notable improvement in interior refinement.

Another benefit of the UK specific set-up is a newfound eagerness in corners. The steering is accurate and the new six-speed manual gearbox is the slickest-shifting unit to grace a Corsa yet. Although vastly improved, the handling is still not quite at the level of the sharper Fiesta.

With more than ten combinations available, there’s lots of choice in the Corsa engine range. To save you some time, we’ll focus on the ones we think are the most worthwhile.

Vauxhall Corsa petrol engines

The petrol engines that have critics raving are the new three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbos, offering either 90 or 114hp. Unsurprisingly, it’s the lower-powered model that offers the best fuel economy, returning up to 65.7mpg versus 57.6mpg. Road tax is also affordable ranging from just £20 to £30 a year.

Vauxhall Corsa diesel engines

The new petrol engines in the Corsa are so good that most people will struggle to justify a diesel model – they only really make sense if you have an annual mileage high enough to recoup the car’s more expensive list price. Vauxhall offers the 1.3-litre diesel engine with either 74 or 94hp. Surprisingly, it’s the latter version that offers the cheapest running costs – returning fuel economy of 88.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 85g/km that mean road tax is free. The lower-powered model is also exempt from paying road tax, but fuel economy drops to 76.3mpg.

Critics love the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine's smoothness and refinement.

Car magazine notes that it "isn’t a buzzy bundle of revs in the manner of Ford’s EcoBoost or some other triple-cylinder powerplants, but is instead markedly smooth and quiet, especially at a cruise."

That said, it does lack a bit of punch, and overtaking always requires changing down a gear (or two) – but that lack of power is made up for by impressive economy – a claimed 57.6mg on the combined cycle shouldn't be too hard to get achieve.
The 1.4-litre engine available in the Corsa is a bit of a weird mix – it's bigger than the new turbocharged, three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine, but has less punch.

Autocar says that "this may well be the perfect engine choice for someone who likes diesel characteristics but doesn’t want a diesel car." Critics say that if you change up well before the rev limiter like you would in a diesel then you'll make acceptable progress, but revving it out won't actually make you go any faster.

It's noted as a quiet and smooth engine at low revs, and its 119g/km potential CO2 emissions mean road tax is free in the first year, and £30 per year thereafter.

Although the Corsa got a slightly disappointing four-star score from Euro NCAP crash tests, there is plenty to suggest that it’s a safe car.

All models boast six airbags, an electronic stability control system that helps to recover from skids and a good array of driver aids on the options list.

There you’ll find assists that will warn the driver if there is a vehicle in your blind spot as well as a system that will apply the brakes automatically to prevent a collision with the vehicle in front of you. They are both part of the £1,300 Technology Pack Two.

There’s a mind-boggling range of eleven Corsa trim levels to choose from: Sting, Sting R, Energy, Energy A/C, Limited Edition, Red Edition, Black Edition, Design, SRi, SRi VX-Line and SE — and that doesn’t include the quick VXR model.

Even basic Corsa models come with a heated windscreen that quickly clears a foggy windscreen, remote central locking, electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors and a raft of safety features. Of the range SE, Limited Edition and SRi models are expected to be the most popular so we’ll cover them in more detail.

Vauxhall Corsa SE

If you fancy making your Corsa look smarter, while getting a few extra creature comforts thrown in, it’s worth investigating the SE model. It rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and gets front fog lights. Inside, the heated steering wheel and seats will be a blessing on cold mornings while the 60/40 splitting rear bench increases practicality. Air conditioning is standard, as are auto lights and wipers, as well as cruise control and the IntelliLink infotainment system.

Vauxhall Corsa Limited Edition

Limited Edition models focus more on improving the looks of the Corsa. They come with 17-inch alloy wheels that, when combined with the standard lowered suspension, do a great job of filling the Corsa’s wheel arches. Further appearance-enhancing trinkets include chrome surrounds for the front foglights, tinted rear windows and a chrome-look exhaust tip.

Vauxhall Corsa SRi

As the R-Line does in the VW Polo range, the Corsa SRI gives buyers sporty looks without the running costs of a true performance model. As a result, you get 16-inch black alloy wheels on the outside, plus sports seats and aluminium pedals inside. You can take the styling upgrades further by opting for the SRI VX-Line which adds an aggressive bodykit, larger 17-inch alloys and stiffer sports suspension.

For help choosing the right shade we have prepared a colour guide.

Conclusion

The new Corsa is a very likeable car. In order to compete with class leaders, Vauxhall has given its supermini a roomy interior, modern engines, low running costs and good equipment levels. The old model Corsa was one of UK’s best-selling cars and this new and improved model is set to continue the trend.

Whilst it won’t hold a candle to the Fiesta’s handling or the quality feel of the VW Polo, the Corsa will inevitably come with good discounts so build one in our configurator and see how much you could save.

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