The Supermini Which Lacks The Word Fun.
A review of the Vauxhall Corsa: The car that always feels one step behind its rivals.
The Vauxhall (Opel) Corsa is one of the most popular cars in the UK, which has been in production since 1982. The pre-facelift model (generation D) was built from 2006-2015, before Vauxhall decided to give it a makeover and brought out the facelift - generation E.
The facelift has a much sleeker design, not to mention the interior has improved as well. It's available as a three and five-door body style, giving customers a choice of what they prefer.
The Corsa comes in a variety of engines. From a 1.0-litre three-cylinder with a 90bhp and 115bhp output. There’s a 1.4-litre four-cylinder which comes with and without a turbo, ranging from 75bhp to 150bhp. There’s a 1.3-litre CDTI, which produces either 75bhp or 95bhp. And the most powerful engine, the 1.6-litre turbo which kicks out 205bhp. The engines are available in either a five or six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
I tested the Corsa Design with the 1.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol, which was…underpowered. If you’re looking at buying the Corsa, I would advise you to at least get a turbocharged engine. That way you’ll get a bit more poke out of it. And it will make the ride more bearable and it’ll still be relatively economical. The 1.4-litre engine gets around 40mpg. It produces 90bhp and 96lb-ft. 0-62mph in around 13 seconds, with a top speed of 109mph.
The Corsa felt okay on the road. I wasn’t overly impressed with it in all honesty. I’m saying that as if it’s a terrible drive, it wasn’t ‘bad’, but compared to its rival, the Ford Fiesta, it nowhere near as enjoyable. The word ‘fun’ doesn’t spring to mind, even if you’re absolutely gunning it. I feel the main problem is the steering, it just feels too vague.
While we’re on steering, one thing I will point out is there’s a City mode button. Enabling the features makes the steering wheel lighter, making the car easier to manoeuvre into tight parking spaces and compact areas.
The Corsa Design gets the 7-inch infotainment system, which has DAB, Bluetooth, USB, Aux, and is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Overall, the system is easy enough to use. Not the best though. The Design doesn’t come with Sat Nav, as you’ll need a higher spec trim level to get the feature. But just plug your phone into the system and save your pennies.
In the boot there’s 285-litres free for shopping. Push the rear seat down to get a bigger 1,120-litre space. To the side of the boot, there is a metal hook. Now, in any other car, it’s just a case of flipping or pulling it down to hook something onto it. But in this case with the Corsa, it’s so solid, you can barely move it without breaking your fingernails. If you buy a Corsa, your next stop is B&Q for a lever bar to pull the hook down which should do the trick. I might as well point out that all three rear seats go down together on lower-spec models. Only on higher spec models you can get split seats in the back. Shocking really.
When it comes to buying the generation E Corsa, apart from picking the right engine, you’ve also got to decide on what trim level you want. Normally you have roughly 5-8 trim levels on a car. On the Corsa, it’s a different board game. There are (ahem) 26. That’s right, 26 trim levels to choose from. I’m not going to list them all as it seems unfair to fry your brain, as well as mine.
The Corsa is an easy-to-use car, with a wide variety of engines to choose from. Although it may not feel as fun to drive as some of its rivals, it’s still not a bad supermini. It’s not the most stylish, or the most practical in its class. But it ticks most boxes customers look for.
Since I reviewed the car, Vauxhall has released the newest Corsa F in 2019, with an additional electric version called the Corsa-e and it's available to order now.