Vauxhall Corsa review
The Vauxhall Corsa is fun to drive, well-equipped and a great all-rounder, but steep prices hold it back
The latest Vauxhall Corsa is miles better than the car it replaced, offering a much more convincing blend of performance, economy, comfort and driving pleasure. It looks good, boasts one of the best petrol engines in its class and has benefitted hugely from the thoroughly modern underpinnings shared with the latest Peugeot 208. All of the technology on-board is bang up-to-date too, but we can’t help feeling the whole package is a little overpriced; key rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio are similarly rounded but better to drive and cheaper to buy.
The latest Vauxhall Corsa was one of the first new products to arrive in the wake of the British brand’s takeover by the PSA Group. Under the Corsa’s all-new bodywork is a platform that’s shared with the Peugeot 208, along with an all-new petrol engine that’s also shared with the Corsa’s French cousin.
There’s plenty to separate the two closely linked cars, however. Inside and out, the Vauxhall looks and feels unique; sharp, modern lines mean the Corsa looks better than it ever has, while the comfortable interior boasts plenty of good-quality trim and up-to-date tech.
Vauxhall’s penchant for an extensive - albeit somewhat bewildering - trim line-up means there’s plenty of choice for buyers. The entry-level SE is followed by SE Nav, SE Premium and SE Nav Premium, while the sporty SRi trim also adds the same Nav, Premium and Nav Premium derivatives. At the top of the range, customers have the choice of Elite Nav, Elite Nav Premium and Ultimate Nav. While prices start at a shade over £16,000, it’s possible to push the price to almost £27,000 in top-spec trim.
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There are three internal combustion engines to choose from, plus an all-electric version boasting a claimed range of 209 miles. The excellent 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is our preferred choice and is available in two power outputs, 74bhp and 99bhp. The latter PSA unit won Engine of the Year in 2018 and with good reason; it’s our pick thanks to its balance of surprisingly punchy performance and excellent fuel economy. A 1.5-litre 101bhp diesel engine is also offered.
A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic are also available, with some models getting gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel.
The Corsa has been completely reworked from the ground up to take on its rivals in what is one of the most hotly contested market segments. Its closest rivals are the excellent Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio, both of which sit at the very top of the class as fantastic all-rounders; other capable rivals include the slightly larger Volkswagen Polo, its SEAT Ibiza relative and, naturally, the Peugeot 208 that shares so much of its mechanicals with the Corsa.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Vauxhall Corsa is fun to drive, well-equipped and a great all-rounder, but steep prices hold it back
- 2Engines, performance and driveStrong engines and low weight mean sprightly performance, but there are both more fun and more comfortable alternatives
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsBrilliant fuel consumption figures are possible, but Corsa depreciates faster than some rivals
- 4Interior, design and technologyImproved design inside and out, but infotainment system and in-car tach lag behind the best in class
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Corsa is comfortable and refined, but below average interior and boot space let the side down
- 6Reliability and SafetyIt’s too soon to tell if the Corsa will be reliable, while its safety rating leaves room for improvement