Vauxhall Corsa review
The Vauxhall Corsa is fun to drive, well-equipped and a great all-rounder, but uncompetitive pricing may 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 has trimmed the extensive equipment levels previously on offer, although there is still a choice of seven specifications, including entry-level SE, followed by SE Premium, then SRi, SRi Premium, Elite, Elite Nav Premium and top-of-the range Ultimate Nav. While base cars start at around £16,500, it’s possible to push the price to over £28,000 in top-spec trim.
Petrol-engined options include a 74bhp 1.2-litre, three-cylinder unit, or a 1.2 turbocharged powerplant with either 99bhp or 128bhp. The 99bhp 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 diesel engine is also offered, delivering 101bhp.
A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the 74bhp petrol variant, while a six-speed manual 'box is featured on the 99bhp petrol and 101bhp diesel cars. An eight-speed automatic transmission is offered as an option for the 99bhp petrol version, although standard with the 128bhp model.
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 uncompetitive pricing may 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 SafetyDespite featuring good levels of safety kit, the Corsa misses out on a top NCAP rating