- Better than expected practicality
- Good-looking design
- Efficient powertrains
- EV option
Confidence, belief in the product, and a generous helping of persistence have paid off in spades for Vauxhall and its Corsa supermini.
The new generation Corsa is one of the UK’s best-selling cars, spelling an end to the domination enjoyed for so long by arch rival the Ford Fiesta.
And as the switch to electric continues to gather pace, the brand’s Corsa-e is a front-runner in the small Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) arena, while there’s the brand's fully electric van line-up, too.
So, what has Vauxhall done to make the difference? Well we’ve said it before about new models and will no doubt continue to do so, but this is the finest Vauxhall Corsa yet – and there have been lots of them.
While it bears little resemblance to the first four generations and in truth is no longer a supermini due to its appreciably larger size, the current model not only drives beautifully, but it's also good-looking, good value, and very refined too.
I tested the top spec Ultimate Nav trim, which came with the higher powered 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine allied to an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
The latest line-up offers a choice of two 1.2-litre petrol engines developing 74bhp and 99bhp, along with a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel producing 101bhp, plus the Corsa-e electric.
My car came with the optional 8-speed automatic gearbox, but this model comes with a 6-speed manual as standard.
My initial concerns about automatic in a small car – probably dating back to the dreadful self-shifters of the old days – were certainly misplaced.
That’s because the changes are smooth as you like, and as the gearbox itself is light, the effect on fuel consumption is kept to a minimum, achieving about 3mpg more than the manual. As for emissions, the difference is 99g/km as opposed to 96g/km.
That said, while the claimed average consumption for the test car was 48.7mpg, our own average over 250 miles over mixed urban and motorway work was actually bang on 42mpg.
In all conditions – and there was some serious late spring rain – the car performed with agility and poise, feeling like it enjoyed the country lanes as much as we did driving around them, and was both settled refined through the suburbs.
There’s a bit of punch there too, as the 0 to 62mph time of just over 10 seconds confirms, along with a potential top speed of 119mph.
Interior and Practicality
The cabin may be pretty bland with few redeeming aesthetic features, but passenger space is fine up front if cramped for three in the back. Legroom is somewhat limited in the rear for adults, but boot space is better than in previous Corsa generations and the back seats fold for extra carrying capacity.
Technology and Equipment
What should really give potential buyers a boost are the various-advanced driver assistance systems to enhance convenience and safety.
For instance, there’s now a blind spot alert courtesy of a symbol lighting up in the appropriate wing mirror. Other tech includes a driver drowsiness set-up, speed sign recognition, lane keep assist, and parking sensors. A new gadget called Flank Guard is also available, which features 12 sensors to warn the driver if the side of the car is about to collide with an object while travelling at less than 6mph.
That’s in addition to adaptive speed control, making its debut in the Corsa and automatically maintaining a distance from the vehicle in front. You also get a colour rearview camera and a 10-inch touchscreen for sat nav and infotainment.
All-in-all there’s more than ever before to like about the latest Corsa – it looks fresh, sharp, is a treat to drive, and comes with a wide range of optional extras to customise the car to your liking. Practicality exceeded expectations too, and whilst it may be cramped in the rear on long journeys, it was more than suitable for shorter journeys in and around town.