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Vauxhall Corsa Review

The Vauxhall Corsa is one of Britain’s most popular new cars, and for 2020 there is an all-new version, which is also available as an EV

£7,050
Average Price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Stylish looks
  • Cheap to run
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Unremarkable interior
  • Rivals are more spacious
  • High-spec versions are expensive
  • MPG

    65 - 88

  • CO2

    0 - 99 g/km

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 hard 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.

It was offered in both three- and five-door layout for years, and 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

Now in its sixth generation, this latest Corsa is perhaps the biggest move from the norm we’ve seen yet. For starters, it’s the first version of the supermini that’s been launched since Vauxhall was taken over by the PSA Group, which includes Peugeot and Citroen.

It means that this new Corsa is more or less a Peugeot 208 underneath – featuring the same engines, platform and also the option to have it as an EV with the Corsa-e. That parts sharing does, however, mean this Corsa is far more advanced than its predecessor – featuring technology such as Matrix LED headlights, a 10-inch touchscreen and various driver assistance tech, which is something the previous Corsa lacked.

It’s also more than 100kg lighter, too, with a kerbweight as low as 980kg, as well as more spacious. It certainly looks good on paper, but can the Corsa compete with accomplished rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio.

Value for money

The Corsa has always prided itself on offering great value for money – something that’s given it the ‘car for the masses’ status and made it just as good for new drivers as those wanting an inexpensive small family car.

This jump in technology has driven up prices for the Corsa quite significantly, with the new model costing from £15,925. While £1,000 more expensive than the Renault Clio, it’s pretty bang on the money when it comes to its rivals, especially as it undercuts the Ford Fiesta. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen and cruise control, and this SE model comes with most of the kit you’d expect from a supermini. However, top-spec models are rather pricey. Flagship Ultimate Nav models do come exceptionally well-equipped, but with a list price of £26,205 they’re far too expensive for a supermini.

At the time of writing, the latest Corsa has only been on sale for a couple of months, but there were already noticeable savings on nearly-new models. A delivery-mileage example could be had for £13,200, which is a good saving off the list price. If you’re not so fussed about having the latest model, there are plenty of used Corsas of previous generations available for all budgets, with earlier examples available for less than £1,000.

Looks and image

Previously you could have the Corsa as either a three- or five-door model, but for the latest version, it’s a strict five-door only, as is the case with plenty of superminis now. If you only like the look of the three-door, you should check out the Ford Fiesta and Mini. But the Corsa is still as stylish as ever, with a clean and modern-looking design. If you care about style, though, it’s worth choosing SRi models, as they come with a contrasting black roof and larger alloy wheels, which gives it a much more stylish look.

The interior has also been improved, and it’s pleasing as it was one of its predecessor’s greatest areas of weakness. It’s still not as good as its Peugeot 208 sibling, but with higher-quality materials used throughout and additional options for personalisation, it’s a better place to spend time than it was before.

Space and practicality

The move to making the Corsa purely a five-door model has certainly aided its practicality, and it makes your life easier if you have young children that need to be fastened in to the back seats.

Boot space has also improved, too – rising from 285 litres to 309 litres. It’s some way off exceeding the Renault Clio’s 391-litre boot, but is larger than that of the Ford Fiesta, which manages just 292 litres. It’s a nice boxy shape, though, and is surprisingly useful for a small car.

However, rear space isn’t one of the Corsa’s best assets, as space in the back is quite tight – especially next to rivals such as the Seat Ibiza. There’s certainly room for children, but if you intend to carry adults in the rear seats on a regular basis, it could be worth considering something else instead.

Engines

The Corsa has one of the best selections of powertrains of any supermini, with petrol, diesel and electric models all available.

Starting with the petrol options, the range begins with a naturally-aspirated 74bhp 1.2-litre unit, which is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. It’s ideal first car material, and with an insurance group of 10, it’s much lower than the other variants while thanks to its low weight, it’s not quite as slow as you might expect – 0-60mph takes a reasonable 12.2 seconds.

The 99bhp turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol is a better choice, though, and is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. With a 0-60mph time of 9.1 seconds, it’s surprisingly nippy, too, and is the pick of the line-up.

As for diesels, there is a single 101bhp 1.5-litre option, which will be the most efficient outside of the EV. It can also accelerate to 60mph in a decent 10 seconds.

While the Corsa-e is a different proposition, it does offer the best performance in the Corsa range – reaching 0-60mph in just 7.4 seconds thanks to its punchy 134bhp electric motor. Its large 50kWh battery also enables a 209-mile electric range, which is good for a car of this size, if not quite as lengthy as the 245 miles you’ll get from the Renault Zoe.

Behind the wheel, the Corsa is also much better to drive than before, too. It steers, corners and rides better than the previous generation car, and is grippy and pleasing to drive. The gearshift itself is a bit woolly in manual cars, though.

Running costs

Regardless of which Corsa variant you choose, you can expect low running costs. The Corsa-e will be by far the cheapest to run, as it’s exempt from road tax, while charging costs will also be fractional compared with the price of petrol and diesel – especially if you plug in at home. Note that  prices for the electric version start from £27,6665, though, which is a full £10,000 more expensive than a petrol version in the same trim.

Outside of the electric version, the diesel will be the cheapest to run – Vauxhall claiming it’ll return up to 70.6mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of just 108g/km. The 1.2-litre petrols will still be affordable, though – returning 50mpg, with CO2 emissions of 125g/km.

Things to look out for

As this latest Corsa is so new, there is a certain level unknown about its reliability. However, given it utilises engines which have been used in various Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall models for several years, that should provide additional peace of mind. All versions of this latest Corsa will be covered under manufacturer warranty until at least the end of 2022, too.

Rivals

While some buyers might have been tempted out of superminis and into crossovers in recent years, this class remains exceptionally popular and the biggest segment in the UK. Just like its predecessor, this latest Corsa continues to be one of the UK’s best-selling cars, but it faces some tough competition. The Ford Fiesta is arguably its closest rival, but other models in this class that deserve your attention are the Renault Clio, Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo. The Peugeot 208, Mini and Audi A1 are also worth a look if you fancy something a little more upmarket.

Depreciation

The Vauxhall Corsa has never been a model that’s known to hold its value well – largely due to just how many are sold. It makes it a great used buy, and you’re also likely to secure a good discount if you’re looking for something new.

Which Corsa to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.2 SE 5dr

Most MPG

1.5 Turbo D SE 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

100kW SE Nav 50kWh 5dr Auto [7.4kWCh] -e Electric

Trims Explained

There is a fantastic array of choice when it comes to trim levels on the Corsa, with 11 grades to pick from when you consider ‘Nav’ and ‘Premium’ models. Pricing and equipment highlights are as follows.

‘SE Nav’

This brings satellite navigation and Vauxhall Connect services.

Priced from £16,665

‘SE Premium’

On top of the SE, this adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers and rear parking sensors.

Priced from £16,705

‘SE Nav Premium’

Arguably the best value model, this adds satellite navigation and Vauxhall Connect on top of the SE Premium.

Priced from £17,445

‘SRi’

Building on the SE, this adds a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, front sports seats, LED fog lights and LED rear lights. You also get revised 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as a black roof, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors and tinted rear glass.

Priced from £18,875

‘SRi Nav’

Building on SRi, this comes with the aforementioned satellite navigation system.

Priced from £19,375

‘SRi Premium’

In addition to SRi, this Premium model adds larger 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start and electric folding door mirrors. You also get automatic lights and wipers, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Priced from £20,340

‘SRi Premium Nav’

This brings a 3D satellite navigation system, on top of SRi Premium.

Priced from £20,840

‘Elite Nav’

This comes similarly-specced to the SRi, but comes with part-leather upholstery, an electric parking brake, automatic lights and wipers, a reversing camera and front parking sensors.

Priced from £19,165

‘Elite Nav Premium’

On top of Elite Nav, this adds a large 10-inch touchscreen, keyless entry and start, 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and climate control.

Priced from £20,525

Summary

  1. Stylish looks
  2. Now just a five-door model
  3. Good to drive
  4. Prices start from £15,925
  5. Loads of trim level choice
  6. Lots of standard kit
  7. Decent value…
  8. Aside from expensive Ultimate Nav models
  9. Available as an EV, as well as petrol and diesel
  10. A well-rounded supermini, but not the best car in this class

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