Vauxhall Corsa review - better than ever?
"The Vauxhall Corsa is more sophisticated than ever, taking the fight to its many rivals"
- Improved technology
- Low running costs
- Good to drive
- Cramped back seats
- Unknown reliability
- Expensive top trim
Verdict - Is the Vauxhall Corsa a good car?
The Vauxhall Corsa’s impressive sales figures aren’t a coincidence, because the latest model offers a lot for the money. The facelift brings some welcome styling improvements without changing its core recipe. The Corsa is easy to drive, well-equipped and comes with a wide range of economical engines that will suit most buyers. Practicality is a low point, though, so check that the rear passenger space and boot are big enough to suit your needs if you’re thinking of buying.
Vauxhall Corsa models, specs and alternatives
It’s safe to say that Vauxhall’s latest Corsa has already proved itself a great success since it went on sale in 2019, routinely featuring in the UK’s best-selling cars list. Vauxhall hopes to continue this success with the Corsa’s latest 2023 facelift, bringing it in line with the rest of the brand’s cars in terms of styling. The ‘Vauxhall Vizor’ front grille and a few other small design tweaks help to inject an extra ‘pizzazz’ into the facelifted Corsa, which was arguably easy to lose in the supermini crowd.
Beneath the new styling, most of the Corsa’s engineering remains largely unchanged, and our time with the car proved it’s as good as ever. There’s a choice of three petrol versions and now two electric options, but that’s not all – Vauxhall will introduce a couple of mild-hybrid options in 2024 which will broaden the range even further. The Corsa originally launched with a diesel too, but this isn’t likely to make a comeback. This is no great loss, as most Corsa buyers are looking for a car for short urban trips rather than the long motorway hacks diesel engines are best suited for.
While the Corsa’s long-time rival, the Ford Fiesta, is no more, it still has a few other competitors in the supermini segment, including the Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio, Skoda Fabia, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i20. There’s also the Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208 with which the Corsa shares some of its engines and underpinnings. The Polo has a slightly more upmarket feel, while the Clio arguably has a little more style, and both it and the Toyota Yaris offer more frugal full-hybrid powertrains than the petrol Corsa.
The Corsa is also offered as a fully-electric model, known as the Corsa Electric. This should appeal to those after their first electric car with the familiarity of the Corsa’s household name, although it is quite a lot more expensive than the petrol model.
Aside from smaller tweaks such as a new steering wheel, the facelifted Corsa’s interior is mostly unchanged visually, but has also undergone some worthwhile technological improvements. It gets a new infotainment system with better graphics, speed and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, plus a 10-inch digital gauge cluster as standard.
While the styling and interior represent an improvement over the car it replaces, there’s no escaping the Corsa’s small dimensions, which mean it can be a little cramped compared to rivals, and you’d be better off with a Renault Clio or Skoda Fabia for boot space, with the Corsa’s rear seats are only really suitable for transporting tall adults on shorter trips.
There’s a reason why the Corsa’s popular, though – it’s a familiar name and starts from under £20k in Design trim, getting a generous amount of standard equipment compared to some rivals, such as 16-inch alloys, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and safety tech like lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. This, plus attractive financing offers offered by Vauxhall have proved the key to success for the Corsa, and the facelift doesn’t appear to be bucking that trend.
How about a used or nearly new Vauxhall Corsa?
A good-looking supermini with generous seating for four and an upmarket cabin, the Vauxhall Corsa is refined, comfortable and pleasant to drive. The wide choice of engine and trim levels options, together with its status as one of the UK’s best-selling cars, means there’s no shortage of choice on the used market. Previous generations of the Corsa have been similarly popular with low running costs adding to its appeal as a budget used car.
What’s its history?
The current Mk5 Corsa launched in 2019 and was the first to be available with pure-electric power in the form of the Corsa-e. Improved active safety tech and more focus on the driving experience marked the car out from the fourth generation model.
Used Corsa Mk4 (2014-2019) Launched in October 2014, the fourth generation Vauxhall Corsa was a big step up from its predecessor in terms of its overall quality and how engaging it was to drive. It was initially available with a broad range of petrol engines and a single turbocharged diesel with two different power outputs. Standard equipment levels for the Corsa were generally high, but the number of different trim grades was confusing for customers. A hot hatch version, the VXR, was launched in May 2015, and while not the best of its kind, it has gained a cult following. In summer 2018 the Corsa’s engine range was completely replaced with a more efficient 1.4-litre petrol unit with four different power outputs.
Read the full Corsa mk4 used review...
Used Corsa Mk3 (2006-2014)
With its safe handling, comfortable ride quality, roomy and well-built interior, and broad range of engines, the third-generation Vauxhall Corsa was popular and sold well when new. Heavy depreciation now makes it an excellent used car choice.
Used Corsa Mk2 (2000-2006)
Smartly styled but severely lacking in interior space, the Corsa Mk2 makes easy work of town driving but isn’t much fun on the open road.
Used Corsa Mk1 (1993-2000)
Vauxhall includes its original supermini from 1982 in the Corsa’s history, even though that early model was called the Nova in the UK, but the first car to be badged Corsa arrived in 1993. It was pretty and reasonably spacious, but wasn’t much good to drive.