Vauxhall Corsa

Popular, easy-to-drive supermini is an ideal first car

 

£9,175 - £16,415 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

47 - 88 MPG

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

Generous deals meant that the old Vauxhall Corsa was one of the most popular models sold in the UK, but it was outclassed in almost every way by newer rivals such as the Hyundai i20, Renault Clio, Skoda Fabia and Kia Rio.

The current Corsa makes improvements in all areas. It looks modern and stylish on the outside, while the inside has a nicer dashboard design built from quality plastics and modelled on the one found in the trendy Vauxhall Adam. It’s good enough to match the Ford Fiesta’s and gets surprisingly close to the plush inners of the Volkswagen Polo – new-found territory for Vauxhall.

If you’ve sat in the old Corsa, you’ll also notice the new model’s extra space. At more than four meters long, it is bigger than the car it replaces and there’s space for four adults to sit comfortably. As before, you can choose between the practicality of five doors or the style of a three-door car.

The new Corsa feels bigger when you get out on the road, too. The noise that makes its way into the cabin is minimal – up with the best in class, in fact. The steering is light – to make the car easier to drive in town – but, with the weight, a layer of interaction has also been lost. So, although the Corsa arguably has the most refined handling in its class, it isn’t as engaging as the Fiesta.

The obvious engine choice is 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.

Expression is the lowest trim level and it’s sparsely equipped – offering not much more than central locking, electrically-adjustable door mirrors and a stereo. Excite is the cheapest trim to have air-conditioning as standard – a must in our book. Standard 16-inch alloy wheels mean it also looks nicer than a bog-standard car and has Bluetooth for easy connection of your smartphone.

Critics have noted that the new Corsa’s cabin is cleverly executed and well appointed, bringing the new model up to speed with its main rivals – the Ford Fiesta, and the Volkswagen Polo. 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 systems logical layout, and ability to download apps such as BringGo navigation, and internet radio apps. This will no-doubt appeal to the typical, young, supermini buyer.

With the overall shape of the Corsa remaining largely the same, interior space is still impressive. The car will seat five adults comfortably, although critics have said that lanky teenagers may not enjoy prolonged periods of time sitting behind passengers or drivers who are six foot or more.

Improvements to the Corsa’s handling at long last see it as a proper contender against its rivals when it comes to how it drives.

Critics were impressed by the sturdy chassis, and the car’s eagerness when it comes to driving through the twisty stuff. On standard 16-inch wheels, the steering is accurate, and there is a notable improvement in interior refinement over the old model. Vibration and road-noise levels have been reduced, and road-testers have noted that the new six-speed manual gearbox is the slickest-shifting unit fitted to a Corsa yet.

Whilst the Corsa may have a new found eagerness for cornering, it still struggles to compete with the more direct set-up and sharper chassis of the Fiesta. Critics have put this down to the fact that the Corsa was set up with ease of use in mind.

There is a fairly wide range of engines to choose from on the new Corsa, some of which have been carried over from the previous model. The engines that have been carried over are the 1.2 and 1.4-litre naturally aspirated (non turbocharged) petrol engines, with the 1.4-litre tipped to be the best-selling.

Refined versions of the 1.3-litre CDTi diesel engine have also been carried over from the previous model, and are offered in 75hp and 95hp guises. There is also a detuned version of the Astra’s 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine available, which puts out 100hp.

The engines that have the critics raving, however, are the newly introduced pair of three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbo petrol units, offering either 90hp, or 114hp.

Vauxhall has introduced this engine in order to compete with the Ecoboost units found in the Ford Fiesta. Reviewers have noted that this new engine is incredibly refined and muted, climbing the rev-range with a hearty thrum. Critics pitch the 1.0-litre engine as the one to go for.

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 this car is yet to be put through the stringent Euro NCAP tests, there is plenty here to suggest that the new Corsa will perform well. Chief among which is the fact that the previous model achieved the coveted five-star rating, so one would imagine that the new model will only improve on this.

The Corsa boasts six airbags, and an electronic stability control system that helps to recover from skids as standard safety equipment, and an impressive list of driver aids on the options list.

Included on this list are aids that will warn the driver if there is a vehicle in your blind spot, as well as a system that will also apply the brakes if it detects a collision with another vehicle in front of you in stop-start traffic.

This is where the new Corsa really steps its game up. Prices for the entry level models start as low as £8,995, and when you consider that a heated windscreen, bluetooth connectivity, and hill-start assist come as standard, the new Corsa really is difficult to sniff at.

Even when you begin to add additional optional extras that can potentially add thousands to the final bill, critics have noted that the Corsa will still undercut the Fiesta and Polo models when it comes to price. If you couple this with the fact that all models of the Corsa will be relatively cheap to run and insure, it becomes more and more apparent that the new Corsa should be seriously considered by anyone looking to purchase a car in the supermini sector.

 

Conclusion

Critics have stated that the new Vauxhall Corsa is a very likeable car. The incredibly competitive pricing, coupled with the generous range of fittings equipped as standard makes this a genuinely attractive option. Add to this a roomy interior, low running costs and a competent range of new engines, Vauxhall really does seem to be on to a winner with the new Corsa.

Whilst it may not be able to quite live up to the dynamic ability of the Ford Fiesta, or the quality feel of the Volkswagen Polo, the pricing and standard features make the Corsa a truly attractive option.

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