New Vauxhall Corsa Test Drive Review
16 October 2014
Author: Tristan Young
Vauxhall registers a lot of Corsas. In 2013, the last full year for the previous model, more than 84,000 hit UK roads and almost half are bought by fleets. Now there's an all-new one looking to do even better.
On paper, the Corsa range is confusing. Vauxhall claims a 40% reduction in engine and trim combinations over the outgoing car, but there's still 180 to choose from. Even Vauxhall's own brochure declares when listing the trim levels: "Here's the difficult bit."
The engine range isn't much better, with a very close selection of power outputs including three different 90hp engines (one diesel and two petrol).
In reality, fleets will have a choice of older, higher-CO2, cheaper petrol engines, versus newer, lower-CO2, more expensive petrol engines.
Both the new 1.4T and 1.0T petrol units are impressive, particularly for refinement and performance. The three-cylinder 1.0T is particularly quiet and smooth against rival engines. However, even though these new petrol engines get as low as 100g/km, they aren't class-leading for CO2 emissions. With CO2 directly linked to fuel efficiency, the Corsa also misses out on that accolade too.
The driving experience is also good, but not top of the class. Vauxhall has opted for soft and comfy, rather than sporty, but, unfortunately, this results in an unpleasant level of bounce on typical, poorly maintained UK roads. And it's not helped by seats that lack support. The more expensive trim level models fitted with larger alloy wheels help calm the level of bounce over rougher UK roads and improve steering precision, but increase tyre noise. However, on city roads and at city speeds this softer set-up is welcome.
Possibly the strongest element to the new Corsa is the car's interior. The design is simple, clean and easy to use. There's no button clutter, yet even on an SRi trim car (which is now lower in the range than before) there's a good level of equipment including aircon, Bluetooth, cruise control and digital radio.
The materials used in the dashboard feel and look of high quality too. Only when you get to the lower, more out-of-sight, cabin materials does hard cheap plastic prevail.
The only real negative is on the dashboard, where there is lack of odd numbers on the speedo, which mean 30mph, 50mph and 70mph are missing.
As yet, whole-life costs figures aren't available, so an uprating from 7/10 to 8/10 could be possible if the new Corsa does well in this area. Seeing as Vauxhall has cut the prices, but not the equipment, on the car, gaining that extra point is a distinct possibility.
|Model price range
|BIK 20/40% per month
|Boot space (min/max)