Disclosure: I received no payment for this review but I did receive one night’s accommodation and hospitality paid for by Vauxhall.
The new Vauxhall Corsa is by far the best Corsa yet, thanks to a combination of improved handling, upgraded interior and a cracking new 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine.
With prices for the new Corsa starting from just £8,995 — a full £1,000 less than the cheapest Fiesta — it’s bound to be a success.
The Corsa is Vauxhall’s biggest seller and is currently the third biggest selling car in the UK, so any new model has big boots to fill.
Having just driven the new model at the UK launch event, I’m confident it that new Corsa will do well with traditional Vauxhall buyers — and may even win over a few new customers.
Is it really new?
The new Corsa is built on the same platform as the outgoing model, but that’s where the similarity ends.
The suspension, bodywork, steering, engines and cabin have all been heavily reworked, and the result is something that looks, drives and feels better than the outgoing model.
What’s more, the new Corsa is up to £3,000 cheaper than the outgoing model, making it extremely competitive on price.
You don’t have to be a car geek to appreciate Vauxhall’s fantastic new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Aimed squarely at Ford’s popular 1.0 EcoBoost engine, this new Vauxhall engine is the star attraction of the new Corsa, in my opinion.
I drove the 115PS model across a mixture of urban roads, motorway and rural roads in North Wales, and it performed flawlessly: it’s nippy, responsive and smooth across the rev range — and it even sounds good, to my ears. At low revs, the engine’s torquey response was almost like that of a diesel, and fuel efficiency was impressive too.
Our test car achieved almost 50mpg with enthusiastic driving across a mix of roads — on a long run or with a lighter right foot, average fuel consumption of well above 50mpg should be realistic for most drivers: you don’t need to rev this engine hard to make decent progress.
The new Corsa’s handling and ride have also improved, and on good surfaces the car feels impressively planted and refined, belying its compact size. The smooth new six-speed gearbox is in a different league to the notchy old thing fitted to older Corsas, and the addition of sixth gear across the range makes motorway cruising much more relaxing and fuel efficient.
Looks are always a matter of opinion, but I suspect most car buyers will agree that the new Corsa looks classier and more stylish than the outgoing model, thanks mainly to the car’s new-look front-end, with its distinctive headlights and radiator grill.
The updated look continues inside, where the new Corsa feels spacious, solid and well put together. I found it easy to get comfortable and particularly liked the look and layout of the new instrument binnacle, although I was less keen on the low-down location of the heating controls.
Specifications are high across the range, with even the entry-level Life model benefiting from features such as a heated windscreen, tyre pressure monitoring system, hill-start assist and electronic stability programme.
Further up the range, Vauxhall’s touchscreen multimedia and communications system makes an appearance, as do high-end options such as bi-xenon headlights.
The Corsa drives much better than its predecessor and rides well on good surfaces, but the ride can became unsettled on bumpy country roads, especially on cars fitted with 17″ rims and the optional sports suspension.
Having driven both, my view is that the Corsa rides better on 16″ rubber. Similarly, although the new Corsa’s power steering is nicely weighted and a definite improvement on the outgoing model, it does lack feel, and like the car’s handling, is not quite as good as the latest Fiestas.
Although cheap, the ageing 1.2i and 1.4i petrol engines are not likely to be as impressive as the more expensive 1.0-litre turbo. The 115PS version of this all-new engine is the pick of the range, and is a better choice than the heavier, thirstier and less refined 1.4 turbo, in my view, having driven cars fitted with both engines.
There’s no new diesel engine, only a reworked version of the previous model’s 1.3CDTi engine, which only really makes sense for high mileage drivers.
A final (small but frustrating) complaint is that the speedometer is marked in 20mph increments, which means that there is no marking for 30mph, making it harder to check your speed quickly when driving in town.
The new Corsa is a good car at a very attractive price. It’s better in every way than the previous model and deserves to be successful, especially with price-concious younger buyers, who will appreciate its youthful style, upgraded interior and improved handling.