Best value superminis: Vauxhall Corsa vs Renault Clio

Two of the UK's best superminis are also the biggest bargains

Two of the best superminis in the UK today are also two of the cheapest models to lease. There is an even cheaper way to get into a supermini – some SEAT Ibiza deals just dip below our two options here – but these are two of the strongest contenders on the market, and where we’d be spending our cash.

 Renault ClioVauxhall Corsa
Contract type:Personal Contract Hire (PCH)Personal Contract Hire (PCH)
Monthly cost:£182£179
Length of contract:36 months48 months
Initial payment:£1,642£1,612
Mileage allowance:5,000/year5,000/year

First up is the Vauxhall Corsa. This best-selling supermini comes in at just £179 per month if you’re able to place a nine-month up-front payment – just a bit more than £1,600 – and limit your driving to 5,000 miles per year. For that, you’re getting the entry-level Design trim, but kit is still generous; 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, and a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard. 

The cabin is smartly laid out, but not the most spacious in this class, while light controls and modest dimensions mean that the Corsa is easy to drive around town and over longer distances.

The alternative, for £182 per month, is the Renault Clio. While a revised Clio has just been revealed, the current car is still a very strong contender. In fact, it has won the Supermini category in our New Car Awards three years running.

With these two models pitted against each other so closely on price, our money would be on the Renault. There’s not much in it, but the French supermini has a very slight edge over its rivals in a number of areas.

First, there’s the cabin. The Clio’s dashboard is not only smartly laid out, but the quality and finish are excellent; it really feels like it’s more expensive than the figures show. It’s spacious, too; while rear headroom is only marginally better than in the Corsa, kneeroom is noticeably more generous. 

Out the back, the Clio has a large 391-litre boot, which is much bigger than the Corsa’s 309 litres. 

Then there’s the way the two drive. The Corsa is perfectly fine in lots of areas, but the Clio is slightly better in most. You first notice it with the ride, which is more compliant than the Vauxhall’s, yet find a corner and the Renault also feels more agile and has a more natural weight to its steering, too. Despite that agility, it still seems impressively solid for such a small car once you get up to motorway speeds. 

The key difference in the drive, however, is that the Clio’s lease deal is for a model equipped with a 1.0-litre turbocharged unit with 89bhp. The Corsa’s 1.2-litre engine doesn’t have a turbo, so not only is it 15bhp down, but crucially for ease of use in everyday driving, it has less torque, too. There’s little to no benefit in fuel consumption for doing without that extra punch, either; in official WLTP testing, both cars average 53.3mpg.

The roster of standard equipment is very similar between these two. As with the Vauxhall, the Renault comes in base trim (called Evolution) and also like the Vauxhall, that comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

One key difference between these two is in the lease deals themselves. For a very similar monthly price, the Clio’s lease only ties you into a three-year contract to the Corsa’s four-year agreement, and the figures for the Clio prove to be brilliant value for money.

Verdict 

Winner: Renault Clio

When it comes to leasing, the Renault continues to show the strength that it has when buying from a franchised dealer. Across the board, the French car has a slight edge over the Corsa, and the extra power from its engine will be noticeable when venturing out of town. Throw in the strength – and length – of the lease figures available on the market currently, and it looks like even more of a bargain.

Second place: Vauxhall Corsa

We’re big fans of the Vauxhall Corsa, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a big seller in the UK. In isolation, it’s an accomplished small car that’s refined, decent to drive and cheap to run. 

The cabin has all the tech you could hope for at this price, too. However, the driving experience just falls short of a Clio that’s more spacious inside and very competitively priced.

Figures 

 

Renault Clio 1.0 TCe 90 Evolution

Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Design

Monthly lease/total lease cost

£182/£8,208

£179/£10,209

Powertrain

3cyl in-line/999cc, turbo

3cyl in-line/1,199cc

Peak power/torque

89bhp/160Nm

74bhp/118Nm

Transmission

5-spd man/fwd

5-spd man/fwd

Fuel tank capacity

42 litres

40 litres

Length/wheelbase

4,050/2,583mm

4,060/2,538mm

Height/width

1,440/1,798mm

1,433/1,765mm

Boot capacity (seats up/down)

391/1,069 litres

309/1,118 litres

Kerbweight/towing weight

1,174/900kg

980/500kg

Turning circle

10.4 metres

10.4 metres

Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.

24th

19th

NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars

96/89/72/75/5 (2019)

84/86/66/69/4 (2019)

0-62mph/top speed

12.2 secs/112mph

12.4 secs/108mph

WLTP mpg/CO2

54.4mpg/118g/km

55.4mpg/114g/km

   

Parking sensors/camera/LED lights

Rear/no/no

No/no/yes

Cruise control/lane keep/blindspot

Yes/yes/no

yes/yes/no

Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats

Yes/no/no

Yes/no/no

Sat-nav/digital dash

Yes/no

No/no

Wireless/CarPlay/Android Auto

No/yes/yes

No/yes/yes

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