Review

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

Price  £9,595 - £17,975

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Spacious interior and big boot
  • Good value for money
  • Very comfortable
Cons
  • Seats feel cheap
  • Ford Fiesta more fun to drive
  • Question marks over reliability

At a glance

“The Vauxhall Corsa is a sensible, practical supermini that offers good value for money and makes a strong case for itself against the competition.”

When it replaced the Nova way back in 1993, the Vauxhall Corsa quickly established itself as a well made, popular and user-friendly supermini that competed against established rivals like the Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Ford Fiesta. Since then, the supermini class has grown, with cars like the Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Hyundai i20 joining the ranks.

With competitors as numerous and competent as this, it's a good thing the Corsa has been updated recently to keep it looking and feeling fresh. While the Ford Fiesta is ultimately better to drive and the VW Polo feels classier, the Corsa is more solid and polished than ever before, and it remains on supermini buyers’ shopping lists with good reason.

The Corsa is offered as either a three or five-door hatchback. While the five-door looks every inch the sensible supermini, the three-door version has a sportier style – especially when ordered as the performance-orientated Vauxhall Corsa VXR, which we’ve reviewed separately. Unsurprisingly, this focus on looks means the three-door is considerably less practical than the five-door, which is roomier and feels less cramped, particularly in the rear.

Vauxhall fits a wide range of petrol and diesel engines to the Corsa and the best petrol is the 113bhp 1.0-litre turbo. It's a quiet, modern engine that’ll return fuel economy of 57.6mpg, costs just £30 a year in road tax, and (aside from the Corsa VXR) is the quickest petrol engine in the line-up.

If you cover more miles than most, a diesel Corsa will probably suit you better. We recommend the 94bhp 1.3-litre CDTi, which manages an impressive 88.3mpg and is road-tax-exempt thanks to its low CO2 emissions.

Both of these engines are excellent choices, offering reasonable performance and strong economy, but be aware that there are some slow and underpowered models in the range. The 14.8-second 0-62mph time of the 74bhp 1.3-litre CDTi engine, for instance, will leave most drivers wanting a little more oomph.

While the Ford Fiesta continues to set the supermini benchmark for driver involvement and comfort, the latest Vauxhall Corsa is more enjoyable to drive than ever before, with good grip and comfortable suspension making it an easy car to live with.

Choosing a Vauxhall Corsa can be a daunting process, due to the sheer number of trim levels Vauxhall offers. To keep things simple, we recommend the Corsa Design. This has an excellent equipment list, with features like alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio and a height-adjustable driver's seat making for a thoroughly modern supermini. The Corsa Design also has Vauxhall's IntelliLink system, which allows your smartphone to connect with the car's touchscreen.

The high-spec Corsa Limited Edition and Black Edition are very well appointed cars with some neat styling tweaks, but choosing these models sees the Corsa's price increase by as much as £7,000, so they’re hard to recommend.

The previous-generation Corsa never had the greatest reputation for reliability, and – while the current car is a new model – you may want to purchase an extension to the standard three-year warranty, which Vauxhall charges about £200 a year for. In terms of safety, the Corsa offers reasonable rather than outstanding protection – something attested to by its four out of five-star rating from Euro NCAP. While all Corsas come fitted with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring as standard, automatic emergency braking isn’t offered, even as an option.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.4 / 5

The Vauxhall Corsa offers a choice of efficient petrol and diesel engines to buyers

Engines, drive & performance

3.9 / 5

The Vauxhall Corsa is available with a gutsy turbo petrol engine and handles well

Interior & comfort

4.1 / 5

Tactile materials and redesigned suspension help to make the Vauxhall Corsa very comfortable inside.

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

The Vauxhall Corsa offers good leg and headroom, as well as a large boot

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

The old Vauxhall Corsa performed poorly in our Driver Power survey, but new car is an unknown quantity

What the others say

3.9 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"The new Vauxhall Corsa is an affordable and practical car that's well worth a place on any supermini shortlist."
8 / 10
"The Vauxhall Corsa is cheap to run, smart inside and easy to drive around town, plus the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine is both smooth and strong."
7 / 10
"If you liked the old Corsa, you'll love this new one. A well rounded supermini, but not quite the pick of the bunch."
4 / 5
"It's not quite the best in the class, but it's a cheap private buy or company car, and is pleasant to live with."
What owners say 
3.8
3.8 /5 based on 5 reviews
80%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

3 star   0
2 star   0

Common problems:

Last updated 
7 Apr 2016
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