Vauxhall Corsa Vs Ford Fiesta Vs Peugeot 208: Moneyshake Compares
Us Brits have always been fond of superminis. Their ability to be multiple things at once – fun, surprisingly practical and cheap to run – is something we can’t seem to get enough of.
But with so many choices to consider and manufacturers competing fiercely in this space, how do you pick the right car? To help you decide, we’re comparing three of our most treasured small hatchbacks – the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208 – looking at everything from price, design, technology and performance.
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From the outside, it’s a real tough ask ranking these superminis on their design – all of them are sporty, fresh and modern. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to personal preference.
The Ford Fiesta is notably more pointy at the front, while the Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa have undergone a redesign which has seen them become wider. If anything, this new look makes the Corsa and 208 seem more muscular than their American rival.
All three of these superminis come with 16in alloy wheels as standard which prop them up well. But our vote on the best-looking model has to go with the 208, which the engineers at Peugeot have done a magnificent job on. As standard, the entry-level Active Premium trim includes striking LED running lights with a ‘saber-tooth’ design, a diamond black rear spoiler and a bold radiator chrome grille.
Every Corsa gets a tailgate spoiler too, whereas the Fiesta has a slightly more reserved look until you step up to the ST-Line specification. We recommend doing this if you want a bit more hot hatch apparel, with a sportier bodykit, tinted windows and larger 17in alloy wheels. Arguably this catapults it ahead of the 208 and Corsa as far as design is concerned.
Interior design and space
Inside is where you’ll be spending all your time in a car, so the design and layout are of particular importance.
The good news is you won’t be disappointed with any of these cars’ interiors. Kicking things off, the Vauxhall Corsa impresses with a seriously revamped look. Front sports seats have been taken from the SRi trim which we think are comfier than the Fiesta’s and 208’s seats.
When it comes to space, the Ford Fiesta has the beating of the 208 and Corsa, the latter two of which are slightly more difficult to get in and out of. However, if boot space is what you’re looking to get more of, the Corsa and 208 are your best bet, with 309 litres and 311 litres, respectively. The Fiesta, on the other hand, has a 292-litre boot which is slightly less flexible.
All three cars have solid infotainment systems that are good to look at and function well. The Fiesta’s is the biggest – an 8.0in display which props up from the dash. However, the others’ 7.0in screens are still impressive – especially the Corsa’s, which nestles neatly into the dash and doesn’t protrude from the dashboard like the Fiesta’s and 208’s.
But by far the most striking and quality build goes to the Peugeot 208, which has unique features like a D-shaped steering wheel. What’s most impressive is the amount of soft-touch materials about the cabin, which edges both the Corsa and Fiesta if you’re rating them on their richness.
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Performance and price
Every entry-level engine for the Corsa, Fiesta and 208 have 74bhp and are best avoided unless you’re just driving around town.
There are a variety of power outputs from then on which are better options if you want a bit of zip under the bonnet. For the Corsa, this is in the form of a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 100bhp, or if diesel is your choice of fuel then there’s an equivalent turbodiesel unit. If you drive more miles then the official combined fuel economy of 71mpg will be music to your ears.
Engines for the Ford Fiesta take this one step further thanks to the introduction of a mild hybrid engine. Available with a power output of 125bhp and 155bhp, these get better acceleration thanks to the extra boost from an electric motor. The latter is a superb all-rounder and is nearly half a second quicker than the fastest Corsa.
Finally, you’ve got the Peugeot 208, which is the quickest of the bunch when you choose the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 129bhp. This unit comes with the brand’s smooth EAT8 automatic gearbox too which responds well to gear shifts.
The Peugeot 208 also has the biggest diesel engine (1.5 litres) which has class-leading efficiency (74mpg combined).
See our table below for a price breakdown of the Fiesta, 208 and Corsa.
How they drive
Flexibility is what makes these superminis firm favourites among UK drivers. Yet there’s always bonus points for those hatches that put the cherry on top with a bit of performance.
The most supple, comfortable ride of the bunch is the Peugeot 208. It has a softer suspension than the Fiesta and Corsa. While this is good for gliding over potholes and bumps, it sacrifices some of the sportiness that the Fiesta delivers on so well.
In fact, the Fiesta is just as fun to drive as some sports cars because of its razor-sharp handling and well-balanced steering.
Both the Fiesta and 208 are quieter and smoother than the Corsa, which has slightly more wind noise.
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