21 November 2006
Author: Tristan Young
|Key rival:|| Peugeot 207|
Picking a diesel supermini over the petrol equivalent might not be that attractive from a driver's tax perspective. After all, the minimum banding for a diesel is 18% against the petrol's 15% minimum.
However, from a business stand point, picking the diesel virtually guarantees good fuel figures. Given fuel is the biggest expense in running a car after either the depreciation or lease costs, maybe these baby diesels should be given more respect.
Take Vauxhall's new Corsa - the three-door supermini returns more than 60mpg, which helps it to a competition-beating 17.9 pence per mile.
So is that it? Should we all rush out and buy a Corsa? Maybe.
Being the newest to market means the Vauxhall has been able to learn from its rivals. Most notably, the Vauxhall is one of the most refined cars in its class on the motorway. The 75PS 1.3-litre diesel might not make for a quick car, but it does make for a quiet car. Not only is there little engine noise on the motorway, but there's little tyre noise on the road and only modest wind noise, an area some rivals suffer in.
The downside to using the Corsa as a motorway car is that the light-about-centre steering combined with jiggly high-speed ride means that near constant, but minor, corrections are needed to keep the car going where you want.
Off-the motorway, at slower speeds, the Corsa's ride is impeccable. The car, too, has just enough power to overtake slower vehicles, yet doesn't suffer from the diesel affliction of tugging you around while trickling around in town in second gear.
The result is one of the most well-rounded superminis available and a deserving costs winner.