Vauxhall Astra vs Corsa: Which is best?

November 23, 2022 by

The latest Vauxhall Astra hatchback and Corsa supermini sit near the top of their respective classes, but how do they compare to each other?

Vauxhall is one of the oldest car makers in the world, and also one of the most popular in the UK. The big-selling Vauxhall Cora supermini and Vauxhall Astra family hatchback, meanwhile, are two of its most popular models.

You may well find yourself eyeing up both cars and wondering which is right for you; if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place, as here we’ll set out the differences between the two cars, explaining what they’re like to drive, how comfy they are, what engines and paint colours they come with – and much more besides.

Exterior styling and colours

Vauxhall recently came under the ownership of the same massive company that owns numerous car brands, including Peugeot, so it’s worth highlighting from the off that the Corsa is effectively the same car underneath as the Peugeot 208, while the Astra is the same as the Peugeot 308.

The larger Astra features Vauxhall’s latest ‘Vizor’ design language

That’s not to say the two Vauxhalls don’t have their own unique identity, though, and you can see this from their sleek, crisp exterior looks.

First, down to brass tacks, the Corsa is the smaller car, with the Astra being larger. The Corsa rivals models like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, with the Astra sitting in the same class as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

The Corsa is smaller than the Astra

The Astra is the newer model, being launched in 2021, while the Corsa has been around since 2019. This leads the Astra to have slightly more angular, modern looks, with the ‘Vizor’ front grille styling being part of Vauhxall’s latest design language. The Corsa is still a handsome thing, mind.

In terms of paint options, the Corsa gets seven. Jade White is the standard, no-cost option, with the following metallic paints being £600 or £700 extras:

  • Diamond Black
  • Quartz Grey
  • Crystal Silver
  • Voltaic Blue
  • Power Orange
  • Hot red

The Astra, meanwhile, comes in Arctic White as standard, with the following options – again, these are £600 or £700.

  • Electric Yellow
  • Crimson Red
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Vulcan Grey
  • Crystal Silver
  • Carbon Black

We should also highlight that the Astra is available as an estate car known as the Sports Tourer; this costs roughly £1,200 more than an equivalent hatchback, which this guide will concentrate on so as not to become unwieldy.

We should also point out at an early stage that the Corsa is offered with only petrol engines or as a pure electric car, known as the Corsa-e.

The Astra, meanwhile, can be specified as a petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid car, while an EV version has also launched.

We’ll cover engine options in more detail further down this article.

Trim levels

As with almost all modern cars, the Corsa and Astra are offered in various ‘trims’, which bundle features together. While the trim-level names are shared between the two cars, what’s included in each trim varies depending on whether you’re looking at the Corsa or Astra.

Both cars have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, allowing your phone to be mirrored

Vauxhall Corsa Trim Levels

The Corsa comes as standard in three trims: Design, GS Line and Ultimate. The Corsa-e comes in GS Line and Ultimate, plus the Anniversary Edition (the electric Corsa is more expensive than the petrol version so there’s no entry-level Design model).

Design trim highlights include:

  • LED headlights
  • A seven-inch touchscreen (see next section for more details)
  • Analogue dashboard dials
  • Air-conditioning
  • Split-folding rear seats
  • Lane departure warning and auto emergency braking
  • Electric windows and mirrors
  • Remote central locking
  • A leather steering wheel

GS Line adds several little extras, but crucially brings a sporty bodykit that makes the Corsa look a lot more assertive and sleek thanks to additions like tinted rear windows, 17-inch black alloy wheels, a black roof and body pillars plus chrome exhaust tips.

GS Line also adds:

  • Rear parking sensors
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Climate control (see here for the difference between this and air-con)
  • An electronic handbrake

GS Line costs roughly £2,000 more than Design, but the next trim level, Ultimate, is a further £4,000.

Ultimate trim adds lots of extras, including:

  • Matrix lights that illuminate everything on the road apart from the area that would dazzle other drivers
  • A 10-inch infotainment screen
  • A digital driver display in place of traditional dials
  • Heated seats and steering wheel
  • Sports seats finished in Alcantara (we explain what this is here)
  • Keyless entry and go
  • Two-tone alloy wheels
  • A bodykit similar to the GS Line

The electric Corsa-e is about £13,000 more than an entry-level petrol Corsa. Its GS Line and Ultimate trims generally mirror those set out above, while the Anniversary Edition is a limited-run model of which 1,000 examples are available, complete with retro-inspired tartan seats, plus plenty of other goodies.

Vauxhall Astra Trim Levels

The Astra’s trims echo the Corsa’s comprising Design, GS Line and Ultimate. GS Line is roughly £3,000 more than Design, while Ultimate is a further £3,000.

Design trim includes:

  • LED lights
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Keyless start
  • Cruise control
  • A leather steering wheel
  • 16-inch alloys
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • A 10-inch infotainment screen
  • A 10-inch driver display

GS Line adds, among other extras:

  • 17-inch alloys
  • A 360-degree parking camera
  • Adaptive cruise control (this matches the lead vehicle’s speed)
  • Keyless entry
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Heated sports seats
  • A sporty bodykit
  • Ambient lighting

Ultimate trim, meanwhile, brings:

  • 18-inch alloys
  • Upgraded Intellilux headlights
  • Wireless phone charging
  • A head-up display (see here for an explainer)
  • A panoramic sunroof
  • An upgraded hi-fi
  • Extra safety features
  • Alcantara seats

With both the Astra and Corsa, we recommend GS Line, as it brings a wealth of additional features that make life easier, while not bringing the expense that the Ultimate model does.

Interior and infotainment

The Corsa comes as standard with a seven-inch colour touchscreen, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Bluetooth. This setup is simple enough to use, while the fact you can plug your phone mirror it on the car’s screen makes it very feature rich.

The Corsa’s front cabin

Sat-nav is a £500 option while the top trim level, Ultimate, comes with a 10-inch touchscreen. We’d say the standard setup is good enough, though.

The Astra gets a pair of 10-inch screens across the range, while full smartphone connectivity is standard.

The Astra’s interior feels a little more modern than the Corsa’s, while the twin-screen setup is desirable.

Note the two digital screens in the Astra

Interior quality is decent in both models, though as with most cars at these sorts of price points, they feature some scratchy plastics lower down in the dashboard.

Boot space and practicality

As the larger car, it will come as little surprise that the Astra is more practical than the Corsa. The cars’ dimensions are as follows:

Vauxhall Corsa dimensions

Length: 4,060mm
Width: 1,960mm with mirrors (1,765mm without)
Height: 1,433mm
Boot space: 309 litres rear seats up, 1,118 litres seats down (Corsa-e = 267 litres up, 1,081 litres down)

Like most superminis, the Corsa isn’t vast in the back

Vauxhall Astra dimensions

Length: 4,374mm (estate: 4,642mm)
Width: 2,062mm with mirrors (1,860mm without)
Height: 1,441mm
Boot space, hatchback: 352 litres rear seats up, 1,268 litres seats down
Boot space, estate: 597 litres rear seats up, 1,553 litres seats down

Rear seat space is a little tight in the Corsa, as it is with many superminis, while there’s a fair bit of a step to the cargo area if you fold the rear seats down.

The Astra is more spacious in the rear than the Corsa, but rivals like the SEAT Leon offer more legroom.

Handling and ride comfort

Car makers cater for a wide range of tastes, with the Astra and Corsa being more geared towards comfort than driver thrills.

That’s no bad thing, as not everyone wants a thrill-a-minute on their commute to work, but rivals like the Ford Focus and Fiesta are more fun to drive.

That said, the Astra can still be entertaining when you’re on a country road, while it’s impressively refined on a motorway cruise.

Both cars are nicely styled, but the Astra has a slight edge over the Corsa

The Corsa’s smaller size makes it an easier car to drive around town, but it’s not quite as refined on the motorway, while the suspension can get a little jiggly on poorly finished country roads; it’s by no means unacceptable, though.

Both the Corsa and the Astra have light steering, which is great around town, but on the open road it would be good if there were a little more weight.

In terms of an outright winner, if you do a lot of long-distance driving the Astra should be your pick, but the Corsa certainly drives nicely enough, and is perfectly stable on a motorway cruise.

Engines and performance

Vauxhall Corsa engines

The Vauxhall Corsa is available with three petrol engines:

  • A 1.2-litre with 75hp, which officially returns 48-53 mpg and takes 12.4 seconds to go from 0-60mph.
  • A 1.2-litre with 100hp which officially returns 48-53 mpg and takes 9.3 seconds (auto: 10.2) to go from 0-60mph.
  • A 1.2-litre with 130hp which officially returns 47-50 mpg and takes 8.2 seconds to go from 0-60mph.

The 75hp engine is, in all honesty, a little slow, and only comes with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 130hp engine comes only with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 100hp engine has a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto and is no less efficient than the 75hp one despite being usefully quicker. It’s the pick of the bunch.

The electric Corsa-e has a range of up to 222 miles on a single charge and takes 7.6 seconds to go from 0-60mph.

Vauxhall Astra engines

  • A 1.2-litre petrol with 110hp, which officially returns 52.3mpg and takes 10.5 seconds to go from 0-60mph.
  • A 1.2-litre petrol with 130hp, which officially returns 49.6mpg and takes 9.7 seconds to go from 0-60mph.
  • A 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp, which officially returns 58.9mpg and takes 10.6 seconds to go from 0-60mph.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with an eight-speed auto optional on the 130hp petrol, and standard with the diesel.

The Astra plug-in hybrid comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. It can travel up to 42 miles officially in electric mode, and will return up to 256 mpg, though this assumes you’ll charge it up and run it on electricity for most of the time. It takes 7.7 seconds to go from 0-60mph, has an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and costs about £10,000 more than an entry-level petrol Astra.

The Astra PHEV would be great for company car drivers thanks to the low tax it brings, the diesel will suit those who cover serious distances and prioritise economy and convenience, while the 100 or 130hp petrol models would suit most other drivers.

Safety and reliability

Both the Corsa and the Astra were awarded four stars out of five when crash tested by Euro NCAP, with strong scores in the adult and child occupant categories, and decent (though lower) marks in the pedestrian impact and safety assist tech categories.

The test results were as follows:

Vauxhall Corsa Safety scores

Adult occupant: 84%
Child occupant: 86%
Vulnerable road user: 66%
Safety assist: 69%

Vauxhall Astra Safety scores

Adult occupant: 80%
Child occupant: 82%
Vulnerable road user: 67%
Safety assist: 66%

All examples of both cars come with auto emergency braking, lane departure warning and drowsy driver detection.

Both cars have a three-year, 60,000-mile manufacturer warranty. This is fair and industry standard, but nothing to write home about when some companies (like Hyundai and Kia) provide five and seven-year policies respectively.

Pricing and running costs

As the smaller car, it will come as little surprise that the Corsa is cheaper than the Astra.

Highlights of pricing for both cars comprise (correct as of November ‘22):

Vauxhall Corsa prices

Staring price: £18,015
GS Line from: £20,165
Ultimate from: £24,050 (includes upgrade to 100hp engine)
Corsa-e from: £31,131

Vauxhall Astra prices

Staring price: £25,240
GS Line from: £28,135
Ultimate from: £31,250 (includes upgrade to 130hp engine)
Plug-in hybrid from: £35,735

Both cars will cost a flat rate of £165 a year to tax after the first year (which is based on emissions and bundled into a car’s on-the-road price). Note if you manage to specify the Astra up to or above the £40,000 mark (this is likely to only be possible with the plug-in hybrid) a £355 tax supplement applies annually from years two to six of the car’s life.

Insurance for both cars should be palatable, though the plug-in hybrid Astra and the electric Corsa are likely to bring higher premiums.

Ultimately, the Corsa will cost you less to buy, fuel and run, but neither car should break the bank.

Astra vs Corsa: which one should you get?

This really is a question of horses for courses. If you need a larger car due to the cargo or passengers you regularly carry, the Astra will be the better option; same goes if you regularly do long journeys. The Astra also has slightly better technology and more equipment and, on balance, we prefer it to the Corsa.

But the Corsa is a great car, and impressively refined for a supermini, so in many instances it will suit a lot of people better.

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