Vauxhall Corsa ecoFLEX

31 May, 2013 10:00am Tom Phillips

Our verdict on the efficient new Vauxhall Corsa ecoFLEX, which promises to return 85.6mpg

Verdict

3
The current Corsa is a little long in the tooth; its styling, cabin and refinement are all surpassed by rivals, and its price is high. But it remains a competent urban runabout, and the tweaks to the diesel cut running costs dramatically. Haggle hard, and big discounts should be available, too.

Seven years after the Corsa was introduced, Vauxhall is still evolving its best-selling model, with the latest update making the ecoFLEX car the most efficient diesel it’s ever produced.

For the three-door tested here, Vauxhall has tweaked the 94bhp 1.3-litre diesel to return 85.6mpg and emit 88g/km of CO2 – improvements of 2.4mpg and 6g/km respectively. The 79g/km Toyota Yaris Hybrid is still king of efficiency in this class, though.

This three-door Corsa doesn’t come cheap, at £14,900. And it doesn’t look as sharp as the recently facelifted Ford Fiesta – an issue next year’s all-new Adam-inspired model should rectify. But the optional green paint on our car does help the otherwise familiar shape stand out.

Inside, there isn’t as much seat and steering wheel adjustment as in newer rivals, and the bland design is quite dated. On the plus side, the dash is made from fairly solid materials, space is decent for rear passengers and visibility is okay – although the chunky C-pillars can get in the way of over-the-shoulder vision.

The increased economy is thanks to an ECU remap and a new variable oil pump that adjusts the pressure depending on how hard you drive.

Unfortunately, there are no refinement improvements, so the diesel is noisy, with little power below 1,700rpm. Acceleration comes in further up the rev range, with 190Nm of torque allowing you to keep up with urban traffic.

It’s not especially sharp to drive, but getting around town is made easier by a tight turning circle and quick-acting stop-start system. If you do drive hard, you’ll notice the tiny 40-litre fuel tank will still empty quite quickly, – expect an everyday economy figure of around 55mpg.

The new five-speed manual feels slicker than before, while the ride is comfortable. That’s thanks in part to 15-inch wheels with relatively high-profile tyres. However, while they do give extra pliancy, the low-rolling-resistance rubber makes the car squirm a little over mid-corner bumps.

Key specs

  • Price: £14,900
  • Engine: 1.3-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 94bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 109mph
  • Economy: 85.6mpg
  • CO2: 88g/km
  • Equipment: Stop-start, 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning
  • On sale: Now
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