Vauxhall Corsa 2014 prototype review

4 Jun, 2014 (All day) Jack Rix

New version of Vauxhall Corsa is gearing up for launch in late 2014, and we hit the road in a prototype

In 2013, a full eight years after its launch, 83,000 Vauxhall Corsa cars were sold in the UK - making it the third best-selling model behind the Ford Focus and Fiesta. Little wonder then that when Vauxhall asked its customers what needed changing the answer was very little.

The basic chassis architecture and the dimensions are carried over unchanged, but Vauxhall claims the way it drives and the way it looks is a world apart. We’ll have to wait until July to see the more up market interior and exterior in full, but we were invited to test drive a final-stage prototype, ahead of it arriving in dealers this November, to assess whether the fifth-generation Corsa has come of age.

Even under camouflage, the Corsa’s new Adam-inspired face and swept back headlights are obvious. The interior was draped in black cloth, but we managed to sneak a peek underneath and saw a much more premium dash, identical in design to the Adam.

A greater range of movement for the driver’s seat and an adjustable steering wheel mean it’s possible to find a lower, sportier driving position in the new car, whereas you always felt perched up a bit high in its predecessor.

Vauxhall Corsa 2014 prototype 2

Our test car was fitted with a 99bhp 1.4-litre turbo - one of two new engines. The other is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo, available with either 113bhp or 89bhp, while developments of the existing 1.2 and 1.4-litre naturally aspirated petrols and a 1.3 CDTi are also expected.

Twist the key and it’s still not the quietest engine in the class, but on the move the turbocharger helps to deliver a healthy kick of mid-range torque, where the non-turbocharged unit would be running out of puff. A new six-speed manual gearbox reduces revs at higher speeds and improves refinement on the motorway, but even around town the Corsa feels like a much more grown up proposition.

Completely revised suspension means the Corsa rides bumps with a gentle thump rather a crash, even on the 17-inch alloys and with the lower stiffer sports suspension of our SRi-spec prototype.

The electric power steering has been completely retuned, too, with a more relaxed ratio for the lesser models, and a sharper calibration for sportier SRi versions. According to Vauxhall’s head of advanced vehicle dynamics Michael Harder the focus was to make the car react quicker just off centre, and because of our twisty B-roads, UK cars get unique tuning that’s even sharper than the rest of Europe.

Whereas with the old car there was a slight delay between turning the wheel and feeling a reaction, the front end is now much quicker and more predictable in its responses. The Corsa is still very much a car designed for everyday useability, but based on this early taster it’s now both more comfortable and sharper to drive, and could give the Fiesta a real run for its money in the sales charts.

Disqus - noscript

Corsa has been steadily improving for the last 21 years since the demise of the Nova (Corsa A). It's now really quite a good little car as long as you are not silly enough to pay full list,and they make a great used buy.

Mud sticks though, and people are not ready to love it, plus it suffers from the teen-car stigma.

It is good but it can not match a Fiesta or Polo due to the ride, steering feel, refinement and interior quality being bad. I think Vauxhall have been very lucky that it is still selling in high numbers, because there are now lots of better rivals especially interior quality wise. This new one should be a big improvement.

You know the US Sonic kicks the US Fiesta Behind. If they tune it like the Sonic and add the sound proofing that the Sonic has, you might be in for a suprise.

i really dont agree with your comment on interior quality! the current Corsas interior is a lot better than the Fiestas! the Fiestas is shocking in fact! Very poor

It is not!, you need to understand interior quality as journalists, car enthusiasts and actual experts do. I have based my opinion by researching and seeing the interior's. Go on Whatcar,Car Buyer, Auto Express, Auto Car reviews you will find out.

Ford Fiesta is a scumbag, it is a total disaster,
Very poorly built.
Those who think that the Fiesta is a well built and very nice car .understand nothing and are truly stupid

Corsa is far superior, that journalists are idiots does not change anything.

I have done research and I understand what your saying but I have driven both cars several time each, like twenty times each and if you watch the carbuyer video of the fiesta matt Watson comments on the fiesta poor interior quality.

The pictures published of the proposed revived Viva suggest that vehicle will have a more promising shape than this one.

Indeed, Corsa is looking very dull and dated, as is Astra range and Insignia. It's really only the UK that they sell well. Blinkered brits still thinking they're buying british methinks.

Blinkered racist you.
Vauxhall sell on heavy discounting and credit. Nothing to do with the Astra being built in Merseyside and the GM investment at Ellesmere Port..

Don't worry, that's our resident looney back again after a short break.

Makes the comment about blinkered Brits ignoring the fact that Opels sell very well all over Europe. He's very thick.

Key specs

  • Price: £16,000 (est)
  • Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power/torque: 99bhp/200Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds (est)
  • Top speed: 112mph
  • Economy/CO2: 55mpg/115g/km (est)
  • On sale: Now