Skip advert
Advertisement

Vauxhall Corsa hatchback (2006-2014) - Engines, drive & performance

The Vauxhall Corsa offers inferior handling compared to the class-leading Ford Fiesta, and petrol engines aren’t great.

Carbuyer Rating

2.4 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.5 out of 5

As it’s so popular with driving schools across the country, you’d expect the Vauxhall Corsa to be easy to drive. However, the truth is that while the Corsa is relatively competent, there are far more user-friendly superminis available.

The steering takes a bit more effort than some rivals, while the five-speed gearbox found on most models has a positive shift, although the big gearlever feels cumbersome in your hand. That steering doesn’t offer much feedback about what the front wheels are doing, and most engines feel pretty lifeless. The same can be said about the chassis, which is set up for comfort and refinement rather than agility.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In town, the Corsa irons out bumps well, although some of the larger wheel options do spoil comfort somewhat. Things are reasonable on the motorway, too, although the underpowered engines in the range can become noisy when pressing on. It’s not a problem for the majority of journeys, but you would certainly think twice before embarking on a long motorway trip in a 1.0-litre petrol model, for example.

Vauxhall Corsa diesel engines

If you want a diesel, then the 88g/km version of the 1.3-litre CDTi is the best choice. It’s not much slower than the higher-output versions, it manages 0-62mph in 14.4 seconds (compared to 11.9 seconds for the standard diesel) and you’ll benefit from the lowest running costs.

Vauxhall Corsa petrol engines

In the petrol range, you should avoid the 1.0-litre three-cylinder, as its low power output means it takes a lethargic 17 seconds to get from 0-62mph. Also, you have to work it hard to make progress, so you won’t get near the claimed fuel economy figure as a result. The 1.2-litre is a better bet, but it’s still worth spending a little more on the 1.4-litre petrol, which is a little more capable when the car is heavily loaded.

Unlike most rivals, electronic stability control isn’t available on all models of Corsa. The cheapest 1.0-litre models do without it, so they’re probably best avoided, particularly if a younger or inexperienced driver will be at the wheel.

Safety testing body Euro NCAP now insists that a car can’t earn a five-star crash test rating without stability, so while the Corsa received a five-star rating when it was first tested, it wouldn’t get that score if it was re-tested today.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
21 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise
Audi RS e-tron GT front quarter
News
17 Jun 2024

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024