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Vauxhall Corsa: Fourth report

Is eco supermini our man’s best friend?

Meet the latest addition to the Fretwell family… No, not our Vauxhall Corsa (we’ve had that since last May), but Evie, the seven-year-old Border Terrier. She was in need of a new home, and since we picked her up shortly after Christmas, she’s been putting the Corsa through a series of tests. How is it coping?

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Evie’s first challenge was getting into the boot. Our Vauxhall is no off-roader, but when you’re only 30cm tall, it’s still a bit of a jump to get aboard, especially with the hatch’s chunky rear lip. Still, once I lift her in, there’s space for her bed and for her to wander around. Stray dog hairs are easily hoovered up, too.

But while the dog has been comfortable, those sitting up front haven’t. The six-hour round trip to fetch Evie took its toll on my back. I hadn’t noticed this before, as the Corsa has been largely confined to its natural city habitat.

The 340-mile return journey from my home in Hertfordshire to North Lincolnshire gave H7 VXL a chance to stretch its legs, though, and the 1.3-litre diesel proved great over this distance. I spent most of the trip using the cruise control, and this helped boost overall fuel consumption to a decent 49.5mpg. 

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My New Year resolution was to get closer to Vauxhall’s claimed 78.5mpg, and in the 700 miles since, I’ve averaged 55.4mpg. This hasn’t taken much effort, although a few winter traffic jams are sure to put a dent in that figure.

The £495 optional green paint is a test-bed for the shampoos, polishes and waxes I review, and it always shines up well. In fact, snapper Pete Gibson reckons the Vauxhall photographs better than any other car on our fleet. 

Trouble is, when you look up close, the paint is flaking in places; the soft, eco-friendly finish hasn’t coped well with stone chips. I’ll keep an eye on this in the next few months, as it may soon need attention.

Another thing I’m monitoring is the weather. The Continental winter tyres have provided lots of traction on icy mornings, but haven’t been tested fully yet. I can’t wait to see what difference they make to the Corsa when we eventually get some snow. They should grip as well as Evie’s teeth around her favourite toy.

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“This isn’t the first car we’ve run to suffer heavy stone chips. Our old SEAT Leon FR also had damage-prone soft paint, and it did lots of M-way miles, too.”

Stuart Morton, Chief sub-editor 

“I can’t believe anyone would consider paying so much for a Corsa. If you must have a low-emission car, there are cheaper options.”

PennCV3, via www.autoexpress.co.uk 

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