Vauxhall Corsa hatchback - Engines, drive & performance
A punchy 1.2-litre petrol now forms the backbone of the Vauxhall Corsa range
It's all change for the Corsa because as a result of Vauxhall's new owners it's now based on the same underpinnings as the Peugeot 208. This means that it's slightly bigger than before, but advanced manufacturing means it's also lighter and 15% stiffer.
Our first impressions found the suspension to be fairly firm, keeping the body controlled in corners, while the steering is accurate and has a natural weight to it. Its suspension now feels similarly taut to the all-conquering Fiesta, making it stiffer than the outgoing Corsa, but it still can't quite match the Ford for fun, with less feedback through the steering wheel. It's very nimble and all its controls are light, making the Corsa easier to drive than before.
Vauxhall Corsa petrol engines
A 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol forms the backbone of the Corsa's engine range, and it’s available from launch with either 74bhp or 99bhp. We've already briefly driven a range-topping 128bhp version that's expected to arrive later on, and now we've had a longer drive of the same engine with 99bhp, which will be the mainstay of the range. The SRi version comes with various settings, including a Sport mode that makes the steering heavier and sharpens the throttle response. It also introduces a more enthusiastic engine sound through the car's speakers, and while not everyone is a fan of such devices, we found it sounded pretty authentic. It's a likeable engine, with plenty of performance given its power output. It gives the Corsa smooth acceleration and remains refined unless you really floor the accelerator.
Buyers will find a five-speed manual gearbox in the 74bhp version, while in the 99bhp version comes with a six-speed manual, which doesn't have the most precise action. You can also pay extra for an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is impressive for a supermini.
Somewhat larger than the petrol engine, the diesel is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder producing 101bhp that comes with a manual gearbox only. This diesel engine sits in the mid-tier of the Corsa’s performance figures, achieving 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds. It’s likely to be a better pick for long-distance drivers as the most economical conventional engine offered in the Corsa.
It may come as a surprise to some that the fastest Corsa is the all-electric Corsa-e - at least until a hot version of the supermini is released. It's compact and potent 134bhp electric motor provides instant torque and propels the Corsa from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds.