Vauxhall Corsa Review

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It’s no surprise that the Vauxhall Corsa remains a first car favourite. Especially when you look at how far it’s come since the dreaded early-mid 2000 models.

Vauxhall describe the model as “the small city car”. And while there is a three-door and five-door version available, it may come as a surprise that even the former comes with maximum space and comfort for both driver and passengers. Not bad for a mini hatch.

“The Corsa is affordable to run and packed full of great equipment which makes it appealing to young drivers.”

Cameron Hale, Moneyshake Car Reviewer

Interior

Inside the Corsa is a very easy experience, for driver and passengers alike. For starters there’s a neat adjustable steering wheel which can be changed for both height and reach. Both seats up top can be adjusted easily for height, too. The only bugbear with them is that, due to their shape, they don’t keep you very secure when tackling corners.

There didn’t used to be any niceties about the layout of the dashboard and trims of the Corsa, but the 2020 range has seen a drastic improvement. It no longer feels like a cluttered boy racer that sort of throws cheap bright plastics in your general line of sight for the sake of appealing to the fluorescent adolescent. Instead, it’s reached adulthood and cleaned up its act, with a neater and more refined cockpit. The appearances of piano black plastics and faux chrome give the front a more sophisticated, refined air.

Yet at the same time, the Corsa hasn’t lost its ability to do simplicity well. There are buttons which are clearly labelled and sizeable for heating and A/C, so you don’t need to awkwardly glance to and from the road when you need to adjust the temperature of the car.

Infotainment and tech

All Corsa models get a 7″ touchscreen infotainment system which has DAB radio and, more importantly, smartphone mirroring. Coupled with the standard six-speaker sound system (which can’t be upgraded but sounds good) you’ll be able to easily access music streaming services such as Spotify to play your favourite driving playlists.

A larger 10″ display is available on the top-spec Ultimate trim, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Although it’s bigger, the actual graphics don’t fill out the extra width, so you’re left with a lot of blank space on either side. It’s worth noting that you’ll also get Vauxhall’s built-in satnav with the upgraded system, but it’s fiddly in comparison to a smartphone’s maps. Although the fallback option is nice, you’re better off using Google Maps or Apple Maps and syncing your device to the interface.

The latest Corsa is yet to be tested for safety ratings by Euro NCAP, but its plethora of advanced technology for keeping drivers, passengers and other road users safe is bound to ensure it scores high. Entry-level SE models get a driver attention monitor which responds to signs of fatigue (no steering input or leaving a lane, for example) with audio and visual warnings. If no response is detected, the vehicle can correct steering to stay on course or automatically stop if need be. A lane assist feature works in the same way by using radars to assess whether the vehicle is in line.

You can get a few more comfort features without having to splash out too much if you look for at the SE Premium trim, including:

  • Heated front seats and steering wheel
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

Practicality

A contoured driving seat allows for extra leg room for passengers in the back, along with Isofix points for child seats to be fitted safely and securely. Space doesn’t end here for the Corsa’s interior, either.

Predecessors had 285 litres of boot space, which has been increased by 24 litres to make a total of 309 litres in the new model. It pips the Ford Fiesta’s 292-litre boot, but isn’t quite a match for the best-in-class Volkswagen Polo‘s 351 litres. However, what it does have is a practical square shape that enables a shopping load and a child’s pram to fit in there with ease. The rear seats can also be dropped to increase the space, should you need. This will give you a hefty 1,118 litres to work with.

On the road

Speaking of the road ahead, it’s a fun and smooth one with considerably good performance. The Corsa’s three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine is the base unit and feels a lot more punchy than its 75bhp suggests. It’s not much of a cruiser, though a 108mph top speed means it can easily do motorway journeys.

You can choose a turbo variation of this engine, which has 99bhp, does 0-60mph almost three seconds quicker and has a top speed of 121mph. This is our pick of the bunch, especially because it returns around 67mpg.

For the best fuel economy you’ll want to look at the 1.5-litre turbo diesel model – the only one of its kind in the range. Despite diesel seemingly being phased out, the combined 88mpg fuel economy is one of the best you’ll find on a hatchback. What’s more is that CO2 emissions are quoted at 85g/km, which should help make your insurance quote cheaper.

Last, but certainly not least, is the brand-new electric Corsa. Known as the ‘Corsa-e’, it provides an alternative fuelling option for those of you who want to go green and plug in. Highlight stats of the EV include:

  • Electric range of up to 209 miles on a full charge (WLTP)
  • Sport mode which delivers 136bhp from the electric motor
  • Can rapid charge at a rate of 100kW as standard (80% in 30 mins)
  • 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds

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