Vauxhall Corsa review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Fourth-generation Vauxhall Corsa is an affordable and practical supermini

For: 
Interior quality, strong 1.0-litre engine, cheap to run
Against: 
Evolutionary styling, vague steering

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The all-new fourth-generation Vauxhall Corsa is unquestionably one of the most significant cars the brand has launched in recent years. The supermini is the manufacturer’s most popular model in the UK and in fact it is the third best-selling car in Britain, behind the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta

Vauxhall is hoping the latest Corsa can clinch the top spot from the Fiesta, with a raft of updates including more kit, better engines and sharper looks. The big news is the addition of an all-new 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which gives Vauxhall a direct rival to the Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost. It’s available with either 89bhp or 113bhp, with the more potent version being the quickest Corsa currently available. For hot hatch fans, a racy VXR model will arrive next year, which could develop up to 200bhp.

Another tactic Vauxhall has employed to help increase the supermini’s appeal is by slashing prices. The new model starts at only £8,995, undercutting the Fiesta by around £1,000, with list prices across the Corsa lineup reduced by up to £3,000 over the outgoing model. 

The other good news is that the Corsa remains as practical as it was before, due to the overall shape being left untouched. The A, B and C pillars are identical to the previous model, which doesn’t make the Corsa look dramatically different in terms of style but it does mean its as spacious as ever, with enough room for three passengers in the rear. The three-door remains the more stylish choice, and the five-door is much easier to access for rear-seat passengers.

Our choice: Corsa 1.0T (115) Excite

Styling

3

The supermini segment is one of the big players in the new car market so the way a new entry looks must have broad appeal. Although to our eyes the outgoing Corsa was certainly beginning to show its age, customers thought differently.  They liked the look of the third-generation model so Vauxhall hasn’t carried out too much cosmetic work on the all-new one. 

The overall shape of the car remains the same, so park the two next to each other and it’s close to a mirror image. At the front there are noticeable changes with new headlamps, bonnet, grille and bumper, all of which have been inspired by the funky Adam city car.

There are, however, much bigger changes inside. Gone are the cheap looking plastics and poor build quality and in comes a plush new centre console, seven-inch touchscreen system and a more upmarket look. It’s one of the finest cabins in its class and has the flair which is missing from inside both the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta. 

Driving

4

Vauxhall has reengineered a substantial proportion of the Corsa’s running gear to ensure it can compete with the Fiesta when it comes to driver engagement. The basic platform from the outgoing Corsa has been carried over but bolted on is a new suspension setup which improves the ride considerably and gives better body control. 

We’ve tested  the 113bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo, which is currently the most powerful Corsa you can buy – a VXR model will arrive next year – and completely changes the character of a car which doesn’t look all that different on the surface.

Vauxhall Corsa 2015 rear

It takes 10.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph, which is a little slower than the Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost, but it is a supremely refined engine. Around town or at higher speeds, there’s very little noise from the engine in the cabin and even from low revs it pulls surprisingly strongly. 

The steering has enough feel but it’s still a little vague, so no match for the Fiesta’s direct setup. The Corsa is a lot more comfortable on the move however, with the new suspension unperturbed by rougher ground and uneven surfaces.   

Certainly, the 1.0 is much better than the turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, which only has 98bhp, and doesn't feel close to its claim of 200Nm. The car is thrashy, slow and not very economical - and it doesn't have the character of the 1.0-litre unit either, which simply must be picked if you want to be at all satisfied with your Corsa ownership. 

Reliability

4

The Corsa is yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP, but a variety of new safety features and technologies should mean the supermini scores well. Side blind spot alert, high beam assist, six airbags, lane departure warning and a rear view camera are all available on the Corsa.

The previous Corsa came in at a disappointing 140th place of 150 in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Vauxhall will be hoping the new car's extra features will improve its rating in the fourth-gen car.

Practicality

3.5

As the Corsa hasn’t changed shape or size, practicality remains unaffected, but that’s no bad thing as the supermini has always been rather spacious. There’s enough space on the rear bench for three and there’s good amounts of headroom.  

Vauxhall Corsa 2015 interior

The 285-litre boot sits right between the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta in terms of capacity but a high boot lip can make loading items a little tricky. The rear bench isn’t a 60:40 split and doesn’t fold completely flat, so your left with a loading area which isn’t that well designed. Like before, the Corsa will be available in either three or five-door body styles.  The three-door looks smarter, but it's difficult to clamber into the rear seats, and the longer front doors aren't very helpful in tight spaces.

Running Costs

4.5

One vital characteristic of a supermini is that is has to be cheap to run. Purchase prices for the Corsa have been slashed to give it even greater showroom appeal, with the new car costing around £1,000 less than the equivalent Fiesta. But don’t think you miss out on standard kit, as USB connectivity, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and a multi-function steering wheel are fitted across the range.  

The new 1.0-litre engine isn’t the most efficient powertrain but it is the best all rounder. Vauxhall claims fuel economy of 57.6mpg and 115g/km of CO2 for the 113bhp version and a slightly better 65.7mpg and 100g/km for the 89bhp model. A new 1.3-litre CDTi diesel is the most frugal, returning up to 88.3mpg with tax-free emissions of 85g/km.

1.2 and 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines are also available, but neither are as efficient or as clean as the downsized three-cylinder. 

Last updated: 14 Oct, 2014
AEX 1,341
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