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In-depth reviews

Vauxhall Corsa review: top-selling supermini with petrol and hybrid power

The Vauxhall Corsa is a smart-looking supermini, has numerous engine options, and offers good levels of standard equipment

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£18,475 to £28,365
  • Great engines
  • Slicker infotainment
  • Refinement
  • Tight rear space
  • The ride never fully settles
  • Electric model is expensive to buy
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The Vauxhall Corsa has been part of the motoring landscape for six generations, proving a popular choice with supermini buyers because of its broad appeal. With the demise of one of its chief rivals, the Ford Fiesta, there should be no stopping the latest version, which is more convincing than ever thanks to its impressive blend of performance, high fuel economy, decent comfort, and easy-to-drive manners.

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The Corsa’s qualities are due in no small part to its successful sharing of the highly flexible underpinnings that form the basis of the Peugeot 208 and a myriad of other Stellantis group cars. This means there are petrol, mild-hybrid, and all-electric variants, all using the latest on-board technology to cover a wide range of needs. Add some tempting finance offers, and you can appreciate why the Corsa remains a best-seller.

About the Vauxhall Corsa

Despite the long lineage of the Vauxhall Corsa, it hasn’t been without its share of turmoil, especially in 2017 when the American giant GM sold Vauxhall to the then PSA group (a joint venture at the time with Peugeot and Citroen), leading to all work on a replacement Corsa being scrapped.

This meant work had to start again, with the Corsa sharing a platform with the Peugeot 208. Despite being later out of the blocks than initially planned, the 2019 Corsa proved to be a much better car than its predecessor and has been a sales success ever since. Indeed, the whole PSA group continued to flourish, buying up other car companies and eventually becoming the giant Stellantis group. 

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Continued platform sharing means that not only does the Vauxhall Mokka small SUV use bits of Corsa underneath, but so too do the bold-looking Citroen C4, posh DS3 and stylish Jeep Avenger, to name but a few.

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Despite all this platform sharing, there’s plenty to separate all these cars. Inside and out, the Vauxhall looks and feels unique; sharp, modern lines mean the Corsa looks better than ever, 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. Entry-level Yes trim kicks the range off, followed by Design, sporty GS, and top-of-the-range Ultimate. You have a choice of petrol, hybrid, and all-electric Vauxhall Corsa Electric models, with prices starting at a little over £18,500, although it’s possible to push the price to more than £38,500 for a top-spec Ultimate trim electric car.

All engine options come from the Stellantis group, and include a 74bhp 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit, or a 1.2 turbocharged petrol powerplant with either 99bhp or 128bhp. The 99bhp unit won Engine of the Year in 2018, and it’s our pick thanks to its surprisingly punchy performance and excellent fuel economy balance. 

If economy is your bag, then there are a couple of mild-hybrid versions (confusingly labelled as 1.2 Hybrid) to close the gap between the regular petrol models and highly efficient full hybrids like the Honda Jazz, MG3, and Toyota Yaris. The hybrid system comprises a tiny 0.89kWh (0.432kWh useable) battery pack plus a small electric motor. The battery and electric motor are just powerful enough to drive the car on electricity alone for short distances at low speeds, but they primarily work as an assistant to the engine to cut fuel consumption. It’s available in 99bhp and 134bhp forms.

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The Corsa Electric was initially only offered with a 134bhp 50kWh battery, but the mid-life facelift added a slightly larger 51kWh battery pack (found in other Stellantis products) and a more powerful 154bhp that’s exclusive to GS and Ultimate trim Corsa models.

A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the 74bhp petrol variant, while a six-speed manual 'box is featured on the 99bhp petrol. An eight-speed automatic transmission is offered as an option for the 99bhp petrol version, and is standard with the 128bhp model. Hybrid models all come with the same six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The Corsa competes in one of the most hotly contested market segments. Its closest rivals are the Renault Clio and the Volkswagen Polo. Both sit at the very top of the class as fantastic all-rounders. At the same time, other capable challengers include the cheaper Dacia Sandero and the Peugeot 208, which shares so much of its mechanicals with the Corsa.

Used and nearly new

Since its introduction in the UK, the Vauxhall Corsa has achieved over two million sales, so there should be a ready supply of used or nearly new examples. The Vauxhall Nova was the first supermini to wear the Griffin badge, with the Corsa introduced to appeal to a broader range of buyers. Sporty three-door models are less practical than the family-friendly five-door versions, but if you're after something racy, then the GSi and VXR variants may appeal.

Frequently Asked Questions
While the Vauxhall Corsa isn't the most fun, it’s easy to drive, offers decent equipment for an affordable price, and has reasonable running costs.
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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo Yes 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £18,475

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo Yes 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £18,475

Fastest

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo 130 GS 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £25,585
Online Reviews Editor

Max looks after the reviews on the Auto Express website. He’s been a motoring journalist since 2017 and has written for Autocar, What Car?, Piston Heads, DrivingElectric, Carbuyer, Electrifying, and Good Motoring Magazine.

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