Words by: Ivan Aistrop
"The Vauxhall Corsa has traditionally been one of the UK’s most popular cars, and we very much doubt that’ll change now that it’s better than ever. It’s fine to drive, with a good balance of comfort and sharpness, while its engines are impressive in both their perkiness and their efficiency. There’s lots of technology on offer and it’s also reasonably practical. Supermini buyers certainly shouldn’t ignore it."
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Running costs for a Vauxhall Corsa
Compared version-for-version, you’ll find that the prices for the Corsa are very competitive, so while it’s not the cheapest car in its class, it’s still cheaper (and in many cases, considerably) than some key rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. Resale values aren’t the strongest you’ll ever encounter, but the same goes for many of the Corsa’s key rivals, so it won’t ultimately end up costing you any more in depreciation long-term. Where the Corsa does impress, though, is on efficiency. All versions emit CO2 at a rate of less than 100g/km, and the Corsa-e all-electric version emits no CO2 whatsoever. This will save you plenty in tax bills, and the correspondingly low fuel consumption in the combustion-engined models means you save at the pumps, too.
Reliability of a Vauxhall Corsa
Obviously, the latest Corsa uses all-new mechanicals, so it’s largely pointless to examine the reliability of the previous model as it’s a totally different car. As a manufacturer, Vauxhall features reasonably highly in JD Power’s UK Vehicle Dependability Survey (featuring sixth out of 24 car makers in the 2019 study), which should also give you confidence. So should the fact that the Corsa shares those mechanicals with the latest Peugeot 208, and Peugeot topped the manufacturer rankings outright in the 2019 edition of the same study. The standard warranty arrangement is for three years or 60,000 miles, whichever happens first, and that’s very much the industry average.
Safety for a Vauxhall Corsa
All Corsas come with an impressive amount of safety kit as standard. This includes lane departure technology that not only warns you if you’re wandering out of your lane, but also nudges you back in by tweaking the steering, and you also get speed sign recognition, hill start assist and Isofix child seat fixings on the outer rear seats. All cars also come with automatic emergency braking that won't discriminate against pedestrians or cyclists.
How comfortable is the Vauxhall Corsa
Climb inside the Corsa and you’ll find an environment that feels grown up and sophisticated, the interior design is rather conservative compared with the flamboyant interiors found in some supermini rivals, but the ergonomics are pretty good (with physical buttons for many functions rather than convoluted infotainment menus) and the quality of the materials and assembly is right up there with the best mainstream superminis. The Corsa isn’t the biggest car of its type, but it makes decent use of the interior space it does have. Slim seats and cunningly placed hollows in the ceiling boost headroom and legroom, respectively, and mean that six foot adults will sit comfortably in that back behind folk of a similar size, although they might find their heads nestling unnervingly close to very solid-feeling bits of the ceiling. The rear doors have very narrow opening, too, which might not help you when getting granny in and out. The boot is ahead of the class average on size at 309 litres, and that can be extended by folding down the rear seats, although you are left with a stepped load area. On the road, the Corsa has a firm-but-fair feel, so although you’re rarely in doubt over the condition of the road surface, it doesn’t often cause discomfort, no matter how bad it gets. That firmness does give an impressive feeling of agility, though, with tight body control resulting in sharp, precise changes of direction. The steering can be a little slow to react around the straight-ahead position, but once you’re past that initial hesitancy, things feel responsive and pleasantly weighty.
Features of the Vauxhall Corsa
The range kicks off with SE trim, which comes as standard with alloy wheels, LED front lights, air-conditioning, electric front windows, remote central locking, leather steering wheel and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with digital radio and Bluetooth. There’s no sat-nav, but there is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as standard, so you can use your phone’s navigation functionality through the main screen. Upgrading to SRi trim adds sporty design touches like LED Front Fog Lamps, a sportier front bumper, a black roof, darkened rear windows, LED rear lights and a chrome-tipped exhaust, and it also adds a stiffened bodyshell and a Sport switch (which adds more weight to the steering), but it also adds luxury bits like electric rear windows, sports front seats and rear parking sensors. Both SE and SRi trims are also offered with ‘Nav’ and ‘Premium’ upgrade packs. No prizes for guessing what the first one gets you, but the second earns you heating for the front seats and steering wheel, plus automatic headlight control. Elite Nav trim earns you all that plus an upgraded infotainment system with a bigger 10.0-inch screen, navigation with 3D mapping and European coverage, as well as electric folding door mirrors, part-leather effect upholstery, a rear view camera, front parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. Ultimate Nav trim gives you massaging leather seats, automatic high-beam headlights, keyless open and start, climate control, adaptive cruise control and an electric parking brake.
Power for a Vauxhall Corsa
Initially, three engines will be available for the Corsa. You have two 1.2 petrols - one (naturally-aspirated) with 75 horsepower, and one (turbocharged) with 100 horsepower – and a 1.5-litre diesel with 102 horsepower. So far, we’ve only had the chance to try the more powerful petrol with its standard six-speed manual gearbox, which is most likely to be the most popular combination. It has all the performance most drivers will ever need, feeling impressively perky even at the very bottom of the rev range, and maintaining its impressive urge all the way up the dial. It does cause a few vibrations to come through the pedals and gearlever, but it’s still a reasonably quiet engine and things aren’t too noisy on the motorway. The gearshift is reasonably smooth, too, and this engine is also available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that we haven’t yet had the chance to try. A few months after the initial launch, the fully electric Corsa-e will become available, which comes with a 136 horsepower electric motor and a theoretical range of 205 miles.
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