Review

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

Price  £8,995 - £17,005

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Decent practicality
  • Efficient engines
  • Stylish looks
Cons
  • Not as fun to drive as rivals
  • Poor equipment levels
  • Rough and noisy engines

At a glance

"The Vauxhall Corsa isn't as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta but it remains one of the best selling cars in the UK."

The Vauxhall Corsa has been one of the UK's bestselling cars for a long time but it's getting old now and models such as the Ford Fiesta have raised their game in the meantime.

To keep the Corsa looking fresh, Vauxhall offers it with a range of customisable options, including a body kit that mimics the fast Vauxhall Corsa VXR, which gives the Corsa some much-needed sporty style.

Engines range from the powerful 1.6-litre turbo that you get in the VXR to the extremely economical 1.3-litre diesel that can return more than 85mpg. The VXR Nurburgring – named after the gruelling race track in Germany – is the fastest model of all and can get from 0-60mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Vauxhall also offers an impressive range of trim levels including Expression, which gets central locking (but not much else), and mid-range SE. It gets loads of toys including air-conditioning, climate control, cruise control, and rain sensitive wipers. Other trim levels include Excite, SRi, SXi, Limited Edition, and Corsa Exclusive

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.

 

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.0 / 5

Economical Corsa is competitive when it comes to running costs

The Vauxhall Corsa comes with a huge range of engines. Those include a 64bhp three-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol, a 1.2-litre petrol with 84bhp, and a 1.4-litre petrol with 98bhp. All three are cheap to run thanks to economy that ranges between 50 and 55mpg, while emissions don’t rise above 130g/km of CO2, so road tax will be no more than £100 every year. Of course the diesels are most frugal of all and, in its most economical form, the 1.3-litre can get 85.6 mpg, while emissions are low enough to make the car tax exempt.

Interior & comfort

2.2 / 5

The engines are a bit noisy, but the Corsa is a comfortable car

When the current Vauxhall Corsa was launched it had the big-car feel, with comfy suspension, that many of its rivals lacked. That's not the case anymore though, and models such as the Ford Fiesta are much better at keeping their passengers insulated from bumps.

The SXi and SRi trim levels get sports suspension that we would avoid because the stiffer set up does little to make the Corsa feel better in the corners. Meanwhile, S and Expression models do without height adjustment for the driver's seat, which means getting the perfect driving position might be difficult.

Some of the engines – including the basic 1.0-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre diesel –are also noisy, mostly because their underpowered engines need to be worked hard to make decent progress.

Practicality & boot space

3.0 / 5

Corsa boasts a decent sized boot and plenty of interior space

The Corsa can be had either as a three-door or a more practical five-door. Considering its size, space inside is good, with decent amounts of head and legroom for four people, and there’re also a number of cubbyholes dotted around the interior.

The boot is bigger than you’ll get in a Ford Fiesta (285 litres v 276 litres), but can’t match the 379-litre boot you get in the Honda Jazz. However, folding down the rear seats opens up 1,100 litres of luggage capacity, which should be useful if you ever have to carry larger items.

Vauxhall offers extras including a hidden storage area under the boot and an integrated bicycle carrier that slides out from beneath the back of the car, but it is an expensive option.

Reliability & safety

2.7 / 5

Full marks for safety but low scores for customer satisfaction

In our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, the Vauxhall Corsa scored poorly coming 140th out of the 150 cars in the survey. The Corsa was not a one-off either; the Vauxhall Astra could only finish 124th and the Vauxhall Antara finished dead last.

That said, Vauxhall now offers a five-year/100,000 mile warranty, which means any problems you do encounter should get fixed, free of charge.

Thankfully, safety should not be an issue as the Corsa scored five-stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. It gets electronic stability control fitted as standard and also comes with an array of airbags.

Engines, drive & performance

2.5 / 5

The Corsa is capable but it can’t compete with the best in class

The Vauxhall Corsa can’t match the fun-handling of its biggest rival, the Ford Fiesta. In comparison, its steering doesn’t inspire confidence and feels slow, and the car suffers from a lack of grip. Going for the sporty SRi and SXi models doesn’t solve the problem, because their suspension is more uncomfortable, but no sportier in the corners.

The 64bhp 1.0-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre diesel, feel slow although they are economical. If you want usable pace the 1.4-litre VVT petrol, which gets from 0-60mph in 10.3 seconds, is worth a test drive. The Corsa VXR and the Corsa VXR Nurburgring are the fastest of all – both get from 0-60mph in less than 7 seconds.

Price, value for money & options

2.7 / 5

Entry level models are sparsely equipped

The Vauxhall Corsa costs about the same as the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, and Hyundai i20, but it's not as well-equipped. Basic models are particularly sparsely kitted out and do without things such as central locking and electric windows. 

You're much better going for the Vauxhall Corsa SE. Its standard equipment list includes 16-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, air conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free calling, a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, front fog lamps and a tyre pressure warning system.

Also, if you do decide to buy a Corsa, push hard for a discount. The model is due for replacement later this year and, when the new car's launched, the current car's second-hand values will drop.

What the others say

2.3 / 5
based on 3 reviews
  • The cabin has been lifted with new upholstery shades and different colour door trims, centre console and handles. Vauxhall will also offer its new Touch and Connect multimedia system, which features a CD player, USB and auxiliary inputs, as well as Bluetooth compatibility and a five-inch touchscreen display for the sat-nav.
  • 3.0 / 5
    "A great-value car, the Vauxhall Corsa is best in the mid-level trims. It’s also comfortable and has a roomy, high-quality cabin."
  • 4.0 / 5
    "The new version of the Vauxhall Corsa was launched in 2006 and was a major leap forward over the older, duller model it replaced. With sharp styling and a great interior it's a huge improvement over its predecessor offering more space, comfort and refinement."

Last updated 
13 May 2014

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