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Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback (2007-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

There’s handling to match the performance, but the Vauxhall Corsa VXR isn’t as much fun as the best of its rivals

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

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The MINI Cooper S and Renault Clio Renaultsport have superior handling to the Vauxhall Corsa VXR, but there’s no denying that it’s still enormous fun to drive, especially through corners.

The steering doesn’t offer much feedback when you're driving in a straight line, but it suddenly becomes much more responsive in bends when you can feel more weight and resistance as you turn, which instils confidence in the car’s abilities.

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Body lean is kept to a minimum, which helps when you have a considerable power at your disposal. But while the seats are comfortable, that sporty poise comes at a price – firm suspension that means you can feel many of the bumps in the road. Some buyers will enjoy that race car-like experience, but it can become tiring on a motorway.

That sensation is magnified by the Corsa VXR Clubsport’s set up. It uses stiffer suspension than standard and a sports exhaust system, which helps to boost power, but makes the car louder as a result. Where the Clubsport certainly scores is with its brakes – they’re exceptionally powerful.

Vauxhall Corsa VXR petrol engine

Both versions of the Corsa VXR use a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine. In the case of the standard car, it takes 7.2 seconds to go from 0-62mph. That means it’s no slouch, yet fractionally slower than the Ford Fiesta ST and Renault Clio Renaultsport – but not so slow as you’ll ever notice in the real world. The VXR Clubsport is faster still, taking just 6.8 seconds to cover 0-62mph.

Either version feels as fast as those figures suggest, with a boom and the odd crackle through the exhaust. And if you really push the accelerator into the carpet, there’s an ‘overboost’ function that delivers even more power in short bursts.

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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.

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