Vauxhall Corsa Review
The Vauxhall Corsa is a small family car that’s reasonably practical, cheap to run and a doddle to drive. Newer alternatives do have more high-tech safety kit, however
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Cheap to buy
- 1.0-litre petrol nippy and cheap to run
- Well-equipped as standard
What's not so good
- Boot is a pain to load
- Split-folding back seats cost extra
- Only one diesel model
Vauxhall Corsa: what would you like to read next?
The Vauxhall Corsa is a small family car that’s easy to drive and comes with a fair amount of high-tech features. It’s not quite as roomy in the back as a VW Polo but it’s cheap to buy and has a fairly practical boot for a car this size.
Sure, the Vauxhall Corsa interior isn’t going to set your pulse racing but its glossy trims and soft plastics are easy on the eye. All models get a seven-inch touchscreen that’s dead easy to use and comes with smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices.
You get plenty of space to stretch out in front too, and the seats come with lots of adjustment to help you get comfy. Unfortunately, space in the back is a little more cramped, especially in three-door models. There’s just enough head, knee and leg room for three adults to sit side-by-side but if you regularly carry lots of passengers you’ll be much better off with a Polo.
It’s a similar story in the boot. The Vauxhall Corsa’s 280-litre boot is the same size as the VW’s but its narrower opening makes it more difficult to load and you don’t get two-way split rear seats as standard so you can’t carry two passengers and some long luggage at once without paying extra.
The Corsa is inexpensive, well-equipped and does nearly everything you could ask for in a small car – apart from standing out in the supermarket car park
You can get the Vauxhall Corsa with a range of petrol and diesel engines but the 1.0-litre petrol is the stand-out performer. It’s smooth and quiet around town and powerful enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic. Ignore the other petrols and only consider the 1.3-litre diesel if you do lots of motorway miles.
If you spend more time driving in town however, you’ll find the Vauxhall Corsa isn’t quite as comfortable as the Polo but it deals with potholes reasonably well for such a small car. It doesn’t lean much in tight corners but the Fiesta will put a much bigger smile on your face on a country road.
The Vauxhall Corsa isn’t quite as safe as the Ford either – the Corsa earned a four-star Euro NCAP score back in 2014 compared to the Fiesta’s impressive five-star rating in the strict 2017 tests.
If you can live with that compromise, the Vauxhall Corsa’s definitely worth considering. It strikes a good balance between comfort, practicality and high-tech features at an affordable price.
Plenty of glossy trims and a seven-inch infotainment system help the Vauxhall Corsa’s cabin stand out from the crowd but it doesn’t have the same big-car feel as some newer alternatives
Both the three- and five-door models are pretty spacious, but the five-door is much easier to live with if you regularly carry more than one passenger
If only everyone could make cars with as many useful cubbies as the Corsa. Vauxhall even fits bottle-holders for rear-seat passengers in three-door models
It might be a small car, but Vauxhall Corsa is still fairly roomy inside. There’s plenty of head and leg room in the front and you get a height adjustable driver’s seat as standard on Design models and above. The steering wheel adjusts for angle and reach so you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable – even if you’re very tall.
Unfortunately, the front passenger seat doesn’t come with height adjustment on any Vauxhall Corsa models and neither front seat comes with adjustable lumbar support to help reduce back ache on long drives – even in top-spec Elite cars.
Thankfully, space in the back is pretty generous – even in three-door models. Slide the front seats forward and there’s a fairly large gap to help you climb in the back seats and there’s just enough headroom for tall adults on short journeys.
If you regularly carry passengers in the back you’ll want to pick a five-door model instead. There’s a touch more headroom and the extra doors mean you don’t have to jump out to let your passengers climb in.
Fitting a child seat in a three-door model is a bit of a pain but it’s a breeze in five-door versions. The Isofix anchor points are clearly marked and their folding covers mean you don’t have to faff about with any easy-to-lose removable tabs.
Carrying three adults abreast is a tighter squeeze than in the new Polo, however. The central seat isn’t as soft or as wide as the outer two and there isn’t much room under the front seats for your passengers’ feet.
Plenty of handy storage bins help make sure the Vauxhall Corsa’s cabin won’t end up looking like the back of a bin lorry after a few road trips. The front door bins are easily big enough to hold two one-litre bottles at once and you get four fairly large cup holders built into the centre console.
Three-door models come with some handy bottle holders beside the back seats while five-door versions have extra rear door bins. Unfortunately, you can’t get a folding rear armrest and the fusebox intrudes noticeably into the glovebox so it’s only really large enough for a phone and a few pairs of sunglasses.
The three-door Vauxhall Corsa’s 280-litre boot is exactly the same size as the Polo’s and just 12 litres down on the latest Fiesta’s with all five seats in place. Five-door models have a marginally bigger 285-litre boot but both versions suffer from a narrow boot opening and tall boot lip that make loading heavy luggage difficult.
An adjustable boot floor will set you back £142 but it makes loading very heavy items much easier and means you can hide a few soft bags away underneath. Even in its raised position there’s enough room left in the boot for a baby buggy or a couple of suitcases.
Sadly, you don’t get any handy shopping hooks and two-way split rear seats aren’t standard on low-spec models. As a result, you can’t carry some large luggage and a rear-seat passenger at once unless you fork out for a high-spec SE model. You can lean the rear seat backrests forwards slightly for a little extra boot space if your passengers don’t mind sitting bolt upright for a while.
Flip the back seats down and you’ll be left with a large step in the floor that makes sliding heavy luggage up behind the front seats very difficult. The optional adjustable boot floor helps make this a little easier but it still requires more effort than in the Polo.
With the back seats folded the Vauxhall Corsa’s boot capacity grows to 1,090 litres in three-door models and 1,120 litres in five-door versions. That’s significantly more spacious than in the Polo and big enough to carry a bike – if you remove a wheel first.
The perky 1.0-litre petrol engine is a fabulous all-rounder but the lowered sports suspension in high-spec cars can make the Vauxhall Corsa feel a bit jittery around town
Few cars are as easy to drive as the Vauxhall Corsa – no wonder you see so many of them plastered with L plates then…
You can get the Vauxhall Corsa with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
The 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is the pick of the range. It’s quiet and smooth around town, more than perky enough for the odd motorway trip and relatively frugal, too. Vauxhall claims it’ll return 61.4mpg but you can expect to see around 50mpg in normal driving conditions.
You’ll want to consider the 1.3-litre diesel if you do lots of motorway miles. Avoid the basic 75hp model and go for the 95hp version – it’ll cruise along happily at motorway speeds and returns around 65mpg compared to Vauxhall’s claimed 85.6mpg. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive than the smaller petrol and much louder when you accelerate hard.
The five-speed manual gearbox in diesel models is a little vague but the 1.0-litre petrol model’s six speed is precise and easy to use. You can get a five-speed automatic gearbox to give your left leg a rest on long journeys but it’s only available on diesel and 1.4-litre petrol models where it’ll set you back an extra £750.
For hot hatch thrills, you can get a 1.6-litre turbo petrol VXR version. This 205hp pocket rocket will blast from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds but costs significantly more to buy and run – even with a light touch on the accelerator you’ll struggle to crack 30mpg.
The Vauxhall Corsa is a breeze to drive around town. Its controls are light and its small size makes it easy to thread through tight city streets. There’s even a special City Mode for the steering that makes turning the wheel especially easy – ideal for rapid three-point turns.
Parking’s a doddle thanks to the large rear windscreen and standard parking sensors on SE and Elite versions. To help make it even easier you can get a reversing camera for £250 on all but entry-level cars and a system that’ll steer for you into parallel and bay spaces for £660 on Energy models and above.
It’s not quite as comfortable around town as the VW polo but the Vauxhall’s suspension does a good job of softening the thud from monster potholes. It doesn’t feel quite as eager as a Fiesta on a country road but it has plenty of grip and doesn’t lean too much in tight corners so your passengers shouldn’t feel car sick on long journeys.
There’s a little more wind and tyre noise at motorway speeds than you’ll hear in the Polo but at least the Vauxhall Corsa comes with cruise control as standard to help make long drives as relaxing as possible.
The Vauxhall Corsa scored a fair four-star safety rating from Euro NCAP back in 2014 but it’s worth noting that the tests have been made much stricter since then. As a result, newer five-star-rated cars – such as the five-star-rated Ford Fiesta – will offer significantly more protection in a crash.
For a little extra peace of mind, you can get traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and a system that’ll warn you if you’re driving too close to the car in front on all but entry-level cars for £660.