Vauxhall Corsa VXR ClubSport review
Sporty new Vauxhall Corsa VXR ClubSport offers thrilling drive but is very expensive
Few small hot hatches come close to matching the Vauxhall Corsa VXR ClubSport for raw cornering agility and hard-edged excitement. However the Corsa feels old now, and the dated cabin, firm ride and incredibly high price make it difficult to recommend over its newer and cheaper rivals. Cars like the Ford Fiesta ST might not be as raucous or come with a limited-slip diff, but it’s a better all-rounder than the extreme Vauxhall.
After a wave of new hot hatch arrivals last year, the ageing Vauxhall Corsa VXR has been left by the wayside – but the new ClubSport edition is here to change all that.
Based on the same basic specification as the track-focused Nurburgring edition, the VXR ClubSport comes with a tweaked version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with 202bhp and 250Nm of torque – so it sprints from 0-60mph in just 6.5 seconds.
However what really sets it apart from newer rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST is the sheer number of specialist high-performance parts on offer. The huge Brembo brakes, a Remus dual-exhaust system, lowered Bilstein springs and dampers and a Drexler limited-slip differential all give the Corsa a hard-edged focus that you’d expect to find in the class above, and transform the way that it drives on a demanding road.
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There is a huge amount of grip from the front wheels in tight corners, and the limited-slip differential lets you open up the throttle without any unwanted torque steer. The accurate steering and well-judged controls allow you to access the frantic performance of the engine and the supportive Recaro seats hold you very tightly in place.
Refinement leaves a bit to be desired though. There is quite a lot of wind and road noise and the booming exhaust note gets tiring.
This is not a hot hatch for those who want to keep a low profile. The 18-inch gloss black alloys and big wing might look great, but if you catch a series of bumps in the road then the firm suspension throws you unceremoniously around the tinny cabin.
Despite the ClubSport badges, gloss black trim, drilled pedals and flat-bottomed steering wheel the interior of the Corsa feels desperately out of date. The button strewn centre console and low rent switches are two generations behind rivals and not appropriate for a car that costs £22,390.
The ClubSport is over £5,000 more that a basic Fiesta ST, a car that doesn’t feel as extreme but has more torque and will cost less to run. While most modern hot hatches manage to emit less than 150g/km of CO2, the Corsa returns a less impressive 178g/km and 37.2mpg.