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 in either 74bhp, 99bhp or 128bhp. The turbocharged 99bhp engine is our pick of the range, as it offers a significant improvement in performance over the non-turbo entry-level engine but is less expensive than the most powerful version.
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, which takes 12.4 seconds to do 0-62mph. The turbocharged 99bhp engine is fitted with a six-speed manual, which doesn't have the most precise action, and manages 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds. You can also pay extra for an eight-speed automatic gearbox with this engine, which is impressive for a supermini but results in slower acceleration, taking 10.2 seconds from 0-62mph.
The flagship 128bhp version can only be specced with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and covers 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds.
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.