IS THE ALL-NEW CORSA ANY BETTER THAN BEFORE?
Although it looks better and is enjoyable to drive, but is it actually better?
This is Vauxhalls latest Corsa, and it’s fair to say that you wouldn’t think it’s a Corsa at first glance, because it looks much more mature. Now, under the skin, it isn’t really a Corsa, instead, it’s a Peugeot 208. And it’s quite hard to tell because it doesn’t look anywhere near as fancy as the 208. But when Vauxhall - who was owned by General Motors at the time - had a production ready Corsa, they were bought out by Group PSA (Peugeot/Citroen), who didn’t want any of GM’s DNA going into the new Corsa.
So, after two years of doodling designs in the board room (again) to a production ready car, which is an impressive turnaround time for a brand-new car. This is what they’ve come up with. It looks good. It’s almost as if it’s hit puberty and decided to grow up. It’s now longer and wider than before, but not as tall, as the height has been chopped by 48mm. Most impressively, though, it’s a lot lighter than before. The base model now weighs under a tonne. That’s an impressive amount of weight saving for a car in its segment.
The Corsa-F starts at over £16k for the base model, SE, and comes with features including LED headlights, cruise control, lane departure warning and lane assist, auto emergency city braking, and hill start assist. The top-of-the-range model, Ultimate Nav, starts at just under £24k and finishes over £28k. There’s also the Corsa-E, which is the electric model and comes with a 50kWh battery, that price ranges from £21k-£30k. Don’t get me started on the hot VXR variant, because sadly, that doesn’t look like it’s going ahead anytime soon.
The Corsa feels a lot better than its predecessor, and that’s mainly because the feedback from the steering feels so much more accurate. The body also feels happier to lean into the bends, so there is a sensation of fun under hard cornering. Although it doesn’t handle as well as the Ford Fiesta or Seat Ibiza does. But I know not everyone is bound to be pushing the limits of a Corsa on the back roads, are they? Unless we’re dealing with a youth here.
The Corsa does produce quite a bit of tyre noise at motorway speeds. So, it possibly isn’t the best pick of the supermini bunch if you’re planning on doing long-distance journeys. In town however, the Corsa feels much more suited. And even though it no longer has the city mode button from the older model, which lightened the steering, it’s still a piece of cake to park.
You can get the Corsa with petrol, diesel, and electric powertrains. The model I tested came with the 1.2-litre three-pot naturally aspirated petrol engine, which pushes out 74bhp and 87lb-ft. It doesn’t sound like a lot, no, but it’s better than you might think. Remember that this new Corsa weighs 980kg, which is about 100kg lighter than before, so all the weight saving does benefit when you put your foot down. It’s also economical, too. I was getting about 45mpg most of the time, and I wasn’t driving, as you would say, economically.
The 74bhp engine is only available with a five-speed manual gearbox, which feels solid, and the changes are precise. But, depending on how you wrap your hand around the gear knob, it can sometimes feel as if it digs into your hand. Although at the same time, it can also strangely feel quite comfortable as well.
There’s a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 101bhp and a six-speed manual, a 1.2-litre turbo petrol with 128bhp, although it’s only available with an eight-speed auto. The engine I’d recommend is the 1.2-litre turbo petrol, which gets 99bhp and 151lb-ft, because it has enough power to suit most journeys and it’s available with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto.
It seems Vauxhall have decided to give the interior quite an update, as it feels a lot more adequate now. Although it doesn’t have the same funky elements that the 208 does inside. But there still are some (and I mean only some) Peugeot parts that have been transferred onto the Corsa, like the infotainment system.
It’s gets a 7-inch touchscreen as standard, which comes with DAB, Bluetooth, and most importantly, it works with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Higher spec models come with a 10-inch screen. And while it’s nice to use the shortcut touch icons and a physical power button that’s integrated into the volume control, the system can sometimes be painful to use. It was sometimes as frustrating to use as trying to spread rock-hard butter on some proper doughy bread.
Anyway, teens will be glad to hear that they all come with a three-spoke flat-bottomed leather steering wheel like its bigger brother Astra has. If that doesn’t sound good enough, then how does a shark sound? No, the shark is not real. The shark is an Easter egg that Vauxhall has kept going inside the Corsa ever since 2004, although this time round, the shark doesn’t seem to be hiding extremely hard.
Depending on the trim, there’s a variety of extras, which include a front centre armrest with a storage compartment, wireless charging, ambient lighting, electronic climate control, keyless start, and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster. Low spec models come with an analogue instrument cluster with a 3.5-inch screen for your driving data.
The back seats are comfy and there’s a reasonable amount of leg room for an adult, considering it’s a supermini of course. While there aren’t any rear USB ports or electric windows as standard, it does have ISOFIX points with zip covers that stop bits falling between the seats. That’s gotta be reassuring for people with OCD.
There’s 309-litres with the seats up, and 1,118-litres after the rear seats are folded down as a 60/40 split. Although there’s barely any straps either side of the boot aside of one hook, which looks quite flimsy. So maybe don’t risk holding that bottle of wine on it…
If you’re a Vauxhall fan, and you’re into the Corsa’s, then there’s a good chance you’ll like this one. It still might not be the most fun to drive or have the prettiest interior, but it’s been improved in many ways than before. It’s like getting a substitute from a food delivery, it’s unexpected, but the replacement is often better than you anticipated.