Used Vauxhall Corsa review
A full used buyer’s guide on the Vauxhall Corsa covering the Corsa Mk3 (2006-2014)
With the newest examples now at least two years old, the Vauxhall is better value than ever. With thousands to choose from, priced from under £2,000 to more than £12,000, the Corsa is affordable, but many of the cars are quite basic. There are plenty of well equipped Corsas to go round, though, and you shouldn’t need to stretch to buy one – if you want a practical and smart small hatch for peanuts, look no further.
It’s 23 years since the first Vauxhall Corsa reached UK showrooms, with the Nova replacement arriving in 1993. Ever since then, the car has been one of the UK’s biggest sellers, thanks to the wide model range and a dealer in every town.
Whether you want performance (the Corsa VXR will do 140mph) or economy (you can squeeze 78mpg from the 1.3 CDTi), there’s a Corsa that will fit the bill, and as a used buy the little Vauxhall makes even more sense thanks to the depreciation that goes with large sales volumes. Unsophisticated suspension means the Corsa isn’t as accomplished dynamically as some of its rivals, but it’s easy to drive, and low running costs ensure it’s also easy to own.
The Vauxhall Corsa is now in its fourth generation, but we’re focusing on the Mk3 that was on sale for eight years between 2006 and 2014.
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- • Vauxhall Corsa Mk3 (2006-2014) - Heavy depreciation makes big-selling Mk3 supermini a bargain second-hand buy
The third-generation Corsa (known internally as the Corsa D) arrived in July 2006, in three or five-door hatchback forms. There were 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol engines, along with 1.3 or 1.7-litre diesels.
The 192bhp Corsa VXR debuted in February 2007 as a three-door only; the 150bhp SRi of June 2007 featured the same turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, in a lower state of tune. The ultra-economical 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX of April 2009 emitted just 105g/km; this was cut to 98g/km in January 2010, then 88g/km in November 2012.
In January 2011, a facelifted Corsa brought design updates, including standard daytime running lights, plus new colours and an improved cabin. The car was replaced by an all-new Mk4 model in October 2014.
Three-year-old cars will be between £5,500 and £10,000 depending on specification, while a five-year-old Corsa will be in the £4,000 to £7,000 bracket.
Vauxhall Corsa Mk3 reviews
Vauxhall Corsa in-depth reviewVauxhall Corsa SRi reviewVauxhall Corsa SXi reviewVauxhall Corsa 1.3 ecoFLEX reviewVauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi reviewVauxhall Corsa SXi 1.2 reviewVauxhall Corsa VXR ClubSport review Vauxhall Corsa long-term test review
Which one should I buy?
The 1.0-litre engine makes hard going of any journey outside town, so go for at least a 1.2; even better, stretch to a 1.4 or a 1.6-litre engine if you can. Also avoid the 74bhp 1.3 CDTi; the 89bhp version is nippier. The SRi features sports suspension and 17-inch wheels, which make the ride very firm. Entry-level Corsas (Club, Life, Expression, S) are spartan, so home in on a Design, SE or SXi.
The S features remote central locking and the Exclusiv gets a multifunction steering wheel, but you have to move up to the SE to enjoy air-con, alloys, cruise control and heated front seats.
Alternatives to the Vauxhall Corsa Mk3
Most mainstream car makers offer a supermini of some sort. Most popular and probably the best all-rounder is the Ford Fiesta, which is plentiful, practical, cheap to run and handles brilliantly. Other top-value alternatives include the Renault Clio and Peugeot 207, while the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20 offer strong value with good reliability.
The SEAT Ibiza is a cracking small car and so is its Skoda Fabia cousin; both come with some great engines and keen prices. More expensive is the Volkswagen Polo, which is a very desirable supermini, just like the Audi A1 and MINI hatch.
What to look for:
The interior trim doesn’t wear well, while creaks, squeaks and rattles are common – especially from the glovebox lid, which can fall off.
Pipes for the air-conditioning system have a tendency to break and split, which can lead to fluid leaks and non-functioning refrigeration for the cabin.
One of the biggest bugbears is with juddering clutches; some owners have had theirs replaced twice and still can’t get it properly sorted.
Radiators don’t seem to last long, so look for evidence of leaks and check the coolant level. Also ensure the engine doesn’t overheat.
The design isn’t inspiring, and some materials are cheap – facelifted cars feel more upmarket. Still, space is good front and rear, while the three-door has a bigger back seat. Boot capacity is 285 litres with the rear seats up, or 1,050 when they’re folded.
Corsas need maintenance every 20,000 miles or 12 months, with services alternating between minor and major. For cars under three years old these cost £149 and £249; this drops to £149 and £199 for older models.
Vauxhall can’t say which engines are chain-driven and which have a belt, as some engines could be either, depending on the model year. A main dealer should be able to tell from the engine number if it’s belt-driven.
Where belts are fitted they need to be replaced every 10 years or 100,000 miles; expect to pay £209 for the work. Fresh brake fluid is needed every two years (at £35), while new coolant every four years costs £45.
The Corsa Mk3 has been recalled nine times; five of them because of the potential for steering control to be lost due to suspension or steering rack failures. Those campaigns were instigated in February and December 2007, September 2014, then in February and August 2015.
Other possible issues include braking efficiency being reduced (there were recalls for this in June 2008 and September 2011), while there have been two actions for handbrake failure in June 2010 and September 2011.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The Corsa Mk3 is showing its age; even though it’s very common, it doesn’t appear in our Driver Power 2016 satisfaction survey. The new Mk4 successor does feature in the survey, but in spite of its youth it still managed just 107th place – it should be ranked higher considering its popularity.