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Vauxhall Corsa Review

Find out more about the Vauxhall Corsa in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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7
Out of 10
Average Price £7,186
History

The Vauxhall Corsa has been a common sight on British roads since its first appearance as the Nova back in the early ‘80s. Offering drivers low cost and hassle-free motoring, it’s not tricky to understand just why the Corsa has become so popular.

The popular Nova switched to the Corsa name in 1993, and with it came a car that looked noticeably more modern. A range of engines accompanied it, giving buyers a lot of variety in terms of powerplant. Though most cars came with a five-speed manual gearbox, there was an automatic option – something relatively unseen in the segment.

Now offered in both three- and five-door layout, the Corsa is an impressively practical car – especially considering its relatively small footprint. Throughout its many incarnations it has been able to offer motorists a hassle-free driving experience, and one which doesn’t cost the earth to keep going.

 Latest model

The latest-generation Corsa was unveiled in 2014, promising better levels of efficiency as well as a longer list of standard equipment. Thankfully, it delivered on both accounts – with the former being helped out by the introduction of an all-new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Currently on sale in three- and five-door layouts, the Corsa is able to offer something for everyone while maintaining its compact hatchback shape.

Fuel consumption varies between engines, but all are able to offer very good levels of economy, ranging from 55mpg to near 80mpg combined. If you’re looking to keep fuel costs down, then the Corsa certainly is a smart choice.

Value for money

One of the elements that the Corsa has traded on since it was first created was its ability to offer low cost, no frills motoring at a competitive price. It certainly remains this way, with current cars able to provide a good amount of standard equipment for a decent price.

Even base cars come with an impressive amount of equipment, while those higher up the range gain extras such as heated seats, or Vauxhall’s infotainment system. The lowest-price model currently stands as the Corsa Sting, which is priced at £10,475. Hardly Spartan, it includes features such as cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity.

In contrast, a 16-plate Corsa SE – a higher specification – with just over 5,000 miles on the clock costs around £10,000.

Second-hand cars make for an attractive prospect, as cars with few miles on the clock are available at an impressively low range of prices. If you’re looking to cut the hit of depreciation, then there are plenty of Corsa cars on the used car market with a low mileage but high specification too.

Looks and image

The current-generation Vauxhall Corsa is a smart looking car, with neat touches such as chrome accents and a prominent Vauxhall badge at the front giving it a more premium appearance than ever before. Inside, it’s a similar story, with gloss plastic trim frequently used and sturdier buttons giving control of the major functions. It’s a nice place to be, there’s no doubt about that, and it certainly feels a true update to the car it replaces.

The present Corsa was introduced in 2014, and has retained its shape up to this point. It is expected that a new version will come around 2018, so wait for that to arrive if you’re looking to get the very latest model – though this is likely to be a refresh, rather than an all-new model.

At the top of the list of cars sits the performance VXR model, which brings with it not just added performance but also an aggressive bodykit and sports exhaust. If you’re wanting to stand out from the crowd, then this is the one to go for – though subtle it really isn’t.

Space and practicality

The Corsa is able to offer plenty of practicality, which is ideal in this segment. There’s plenty of headroom – even in the back – while legroom is just as ample, which means that there shouldn’t be any complaints from passengers on longer journeys. There are also all manner of storage cubbies and bins, which make light work of the clutter that tends to accumulate in cars.

In terms of boot space, the Corsa is pretty on-par with rivals. Able to offer 285 litres of space, it’s usable day-to-day, and is square enough to fit a wide variety of objects. This size can be increased by folding the rear seats down – though some lower-spec cars do with a folding one-piece bench seat, rather than the split rear seats found on cars higher up the spec list. You can also specify an optional false floor for the boot, which allows you to hide certain items from view. The Corsa certainly offers plenty of space, though not quite as much as rival cars such as the Honda Jazz, which provides a huge 354 litres of space.

Engines

A wide range of engines in the Corsa mean that there’s a powertrain to suit just about every need. Petrol power is the most abundant, with three different engines offered in various states of tune, as opposed to just one oil-burner.

The range starts with the previously mentioned 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol. This produces 88bhp and can return 62.4mpg combined, which isn’t bad for a small-capacity engine.

There’s also a 1.4-litre petrol engine, producing either 73bhp or 88bhp. Sitting above that is a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine. This puts out 147bhp, so it’s a good middle-ground in terms of performance and economy.

Finally, the VXR-model car utilises a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine which produces 202bhp which is good enough to allow it sprint to 60mph in just 6.3 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 143mph.

The main diesel is a 1.3-litre turbocharged unit. Superbly economical, it’ll return around 80mpg on a combined cycle and emit just 84g/km CO2, which means taxing it won’t be too astronomical. There are outputs of either 74bhp or 94bhp to choose from, with the former taking 14.7 seconds to reach 60mph and the latter 11.7.

Running costs

Thanks to a range of efficient engines, running costs shouldn’t be too high for the Corsa. That said, VXR models will need more money spent on them to keep them running – both in terms of fuel and maintenance – but these hot hatches do better on the used market, so money is saved slightly there. Insurance cost will also be considerably higher for these high-performance models, too.

However, keeping costs low won’t be tough in the more standard-powered cars. Consumables such as tyres and brakes won’t run out all that much, while servicing won’t be too expensive either. Given the thousands of Corsas that are produced each year, parts are in plentiful supply – which means these won’t be too expensive either.

Things to look out for

Though relatively simple, Corsa have suffered from niggling problems throughout the years. Some cars have suffered from electrical glitches, such as with the stereo and audio controls.

However, the biggest issue that the Corsa suffered came in the form of a recall for 1.4-litre turbo cars built between 2006 and 2014. This was due to a risk of fire generated by a short circuit in the vacuum pump relay box. Should water reach the relay box, it could cause it to spark.

All cars fitted with the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine were subject to the recall, and this includes Black Edition cars, as well as a handful of SE and Sri-spec vehicles. It affected 2,767 cars in all – though Vauxhall said at the time that the problem had only caused two fires in Corsas.

Ensure that any car you buy which fits within these categories has had the appropriate work carried out upon it – though if you’re concerned, it’s best to contact Vauxhall directly to find out that any problem has been resolved.

Rivals

This is a hugely competitive segment, with many options fighting for consumer attention. First and foremost is the previously mentioned Honda Jazz, which offers high levels of reliability and practicality in a package that looks better than ever before. However, there isn’t a diesel or a hybrid option which is fine for those planning on mainly travelling around town, but for longer journeys it may not be as well suited. However, it is well equipped for the money.

There’s also the ever-conquering Ford Fiesta. Though a new car is rapidly approaching, the existing model is still a masterclass in how to make a small car handle. Like the Corsa, it can be had with a diesel or petrol engine, and can be specified as a range-topping hot hatch in the form of the Fiesta ST. This has been one of the best-handling small hatchbacks ever made, and certainly shows how you can make a small car fun to drive.

Depreciation warning

The Corsa suffers from one problem – volume. Because Vauxhall makes thousands of Corsas each year, there’s an abundance of them on the used market and, because of this, depreciation can be an issue. However, what it does mean is that you can get a well-specified car for a lot less than a new car – even with a low number of miles on the clock. It’s certainly something to consider if you’re thinking of buying a brand-new Corsa.

Which Corsa to Pick

Trims Explained

The Corsa is available with an almost dizzying array of specifications.

Sting

At the base of the range sits Sting. This includes cruise control, a leather steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity. The exterior of the car benefits from body coloured door handles and daytime running lights, as well as 16-inch alloy wheels.

Priced from £10,475, it’s a great entry into the Corsa range.

Design

Corsa Design arrives next, bringing with it six speakers, steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

You also get black foil on the door pillars, giving it a more premium look, as well as body coloured door handles and LED daytime running lights.

Sting R

Up next is the Sting R. This benefits from stronger visuals, in the form of twin black stripes on the bonnet, roof and tailgate as well as 16-inch black alloy wheels and a chrome-effect exhaust tailpipe extension. It also gets sports suspension, giving it a more hunkered-down appearance on the road. You also get a VX-Line steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever.

This edition is priced from £12,375.

SRI

At £12,870, Corsa SRI is the next option. This includes air conditioning, Vauxhall’s Intellilink system, as well as steering wheel-mounted controls. There’s also cruise control, a multifunction trip computer and automatic lighting control. Rain-sensitive windscreen wipers are also included as standard, as are LED daytime running lights.

You also get heated door mirrors which are electrically adjustable, too.

Energy A/C

The next Corsa specification is Energy A/C. Unsurprisingly, this benefits from air conditioning as standard, though non air-conditioned 1.2 and 1.4 models are also available. You also get 16-inch alloy wheels and, more importantly, Vauxhall’s IntelliLink system, which incorporates a 7-inch colour touchscreen which you use to control functions such as a DAB radio and Bluetooth audio streaming. Energy A/C specification also brings with it a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.

This is priced from £13,265.

SE

This has 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as a rear seats which split 60/40, giving a more flexible storage solution. Front fog lights with chrome-effect surrounds are also included, as are chrome effect lower side window mouldings. The heated door mirrors are also electrically adjustable, while rear and front parking sensors are also fitted.

The SE is priced from £13,765.

Limited Edition

This has a much sportier look than the cars underneath it, utilising touches such as 17-inch black alloy wheels and a body-coloured front spoiler, side sills, rear roof spoiler and rear lower skirt. Inside, you get a steering wheel with mounted audio controls and cruise control. Vauxhall OnStar is also included, which gives assistance via a smartphone app.

Motors Choice

1.4 SRi Auto 3dr

What to look out for

  1. High production numbers does mean that residuals aren’t strong
  2. Good levels of standard equipment come on almost all cars
  3. Wide variety of specifications should mean there’s something for everyone
  4. Important recall work must be completed before any purchase
  5. VXR models hold value better in the used market
  6. Three- and five-door variants allow for flexible accessibility options
  7. Currently no hybrid model on offer
  8. Diesel option is easily the most efficient
  9. New 1.0-litre engine is a great choice for inner-city drivers
  10. Even base cars get cruise control and alloy wheels

Review Rating

"One of the best-selling small cars in Britain, the Vauxhall Corsa was thoroughly overhauled at the end of 2014 so that it’s in a better position to take on the likes of the Ford Fiesta the Renault Clio and the Volkswagen Polo.... Read More"