Cars Vauxhall Corsa review

17:05  21 january  2020
17:05  21 january  2020 Source:   autoexpress.co.uk

2020 Vauxhall Corsa review: testing the impressive new ‘people’s car’

  2020 Vauxhall Corsa review: testing the impressive new ‘people’s car’ The new Vauxhall Corsa is here at last, and an early drive suggests it's now a strong contender in Britain's most-favourite supermini sector. The post 2020 Vauxhall Corsa review: testing the impressive new ‘people’s car’ appeared first on Motoring Research.

The Vauxhall Corsa is a firm fixture in the UK's best sellers list -- and with good reason. The spacious supermini offers practicality and comfort on a par with larger cars.

Read the definitive Vauxhall Corsa 2020 review from the expert What Car? team. Check specs, prices, performance and compare with similar cars.

a red car driving on a road: Vauxhall Corsa front © Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa front
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Our Rating 
Great engines
Good to drive
Comfortable ride
Rivals are cheaper
Cramped rear seats
Confusing trim structure

The latest Vauxhall Corsa is miles better than the car it replaced, offering a much more convincing blend of performance, economy, comfort and driving pleasure. It looks good, boasts one of the best petrol engines in its class and has benefitted hugely from the thoroughly modern underpinnings shared with the latest Peugeot 208. All of the technology on-board is bang up-to-date too, but we can’t help feeling the whole package is a little overpriced; key rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio are similarly rounded but better to drive and cheaper to buy.

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As in so many other areas, the latest Corsa has taken a big leap design-wise over its predecessor – a car that was based heavily on a design and technology that first hit showrooms all the way back in 2006. Using the PSA group CMP platform – also used by the Peugeot 208 and 2008, among others – the new model is 19mm wider and 44mm lower than the previous Corsa, which makes it look more squat and sporty on the road. The design is nothing revolutionary, but it’s well proportioned and looks smart in the metal.

There’s a lively colour palette to choose from, too: alongside the predictable greys and silvers, the likes of Voltaic Blue and Power Orange offer buyers more eye-catching options. Some colours are available with a contrasting black roof and door mirrors, too. Bizarrely, you have to pay for all of the paint options, so at least £340 has to be added to the car’s list price regardless.

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The Vauxhall Corsa faces stiff competition in the supermini class from rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. Can its funky interior and

Only the wheel size might let it down in the eyes of style-focused buyers: while some rivals get 17-inch and even 18-inch wheel designs, only the top spec Corsa Ultimate Nav gets 17-inch items. The rest of the range rides on 16-inch wheels.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a car: Vauxhall Corsa interior © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa interior

Step inside, and the Corsa’s tidy if unremarkable design theme continues. The dashboard is neatly laid out, with a familiar Vauxhall steering wheel sitting beside a new PSA-derived infotainment system. Unlike the Peugeot 208, however, the Corsa still sticks with physical controls for the air conditioning system, which will be a welcome decision for many buyers.

As standard, the Corsa gets a pair of large analogue dials with a small LCD screen between them, but top spec models get a full-digital readout. It’s bright and easy to read, but the square seven-inch display looks like an afterthought within the instrument binnacle.

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Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Carrying over the infotainment setup from new parent group PSA comes with its pros and cons. For starters, the Corsa’s new touchscreen display looks great; whether it’s fitted with the 10-inch display used by top spec models or the 7-inch touchscreen that’s standard throughout the rest of the range, they both boast bright colours and clear graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, and there’s a smartphone cubby at the base of the dash which allows you to connect a smartphone via a USB port.

a black and silver phone: Vauxhall Corsa infotainment © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa infotainment

However, it’s not the easiest system to use. The menu layout isn’t as logical as the systems you’ll find in rivals from the Volkswagen or Hyundai groups, and overall it just seems a little fiddly to use. There are some physical controls – including the climate functions – to help with some options though, so the system is less of a pain than it is in the Peugeot 208. Elite Nav models also benefit from a panoramic reversing camera to make parking manoeuvres less stressful.

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Under PSA ownership, Vauxhall has been able to access the group’s CMP small car platform. In contrast to the underpinnings of the previous Corsa that dated back to the early 2000’s, the latest architecture is bang up to date. The chassis is both over 15 per cent more rigid than the old car’s and 40kg lighter. Add up the other weight saving measures – lighter seats front and rear, an aluminium bonnet, lighter engines – and the new Corsas weighs up to 108kg less than an equivalent version of the old car.

This brings benefits to the way the Corsa accelerates, brakes and handles, plus how much fuel it uses. Predictably then, the Corsa driving experience takes a giant leap forward.

Around corners it feels agile and responsive, and body control and grip are both strong. It’s not quite as much fun as a Ford Fiesta – the slightly numb steering lets it down a little - but it’s above the class average.

It’s certainly firmer than the previous Corsa, but it’s by no means uncomfortable. The likes of the Renault Clio and the Volkswagen Polo ride more smoothly, but the Corsa isn’t far behind. Refinement was always a Corsa plus-point, but the more rigid body structure means that the cabin is more hushed than ever.

a red car driving on a road: Vauxhall Corsa cornering © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa cornering

The best news is that in everyday driving the Corsa remains very easy to drive. The steering and the other controls all feel light at low speeds.

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In a move which, Peugeot 208 aside, is unique to the supermini class, the Corsa is available with petrol, diesel, and electric powertrains. So regardless of your driving habits, there should be a Corsa for you.

The petrol options use a 1.2-litre three-cylinder that’s available with a turbo (99bhp) or without (74bhp) and these will make the most sense to most buyers. Alternatively, there’s a 1.5-litre diesel with 101bhp and a hefty 250Nm of torque. The entry-level petrol is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, the diesel gets a six-speed manual, while the most powerful petrol gets a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.

Doing away with a conventional transmission altogether is the Corsa-e. Here, drive is taken care of by a 134bhp electric motor, which combined with a 50kWh battery results in a 200-mile-plus zero emission range.

Models higher up in the range – both combustion and electric - are available with a selectable driving mode. By switching to Sport mode, petrol models get an artificial engine note piped into the cabin, plus extra weighing to the steering. Prodding the Sport button in the Corsa-e allows the driver full access to the 134bhp on offer.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The Corsa’s weight saving measures compared to the last one haven’t just resulted in raised performance levels well beyond those of the old car, they’ve shunted the Corsa towards the top of the supermini class.

Even the entry-level 74bhp petrol doesn’t feel out of its depth on the road: officially it’ll cover the 0-62mph dash in 12.4 seconds and go on to a 108mph top speed. The turbocharged petrol offers up 99bhp and 205Nm, and slashes those numbers to 9.3 seconds and 121mph. By contrast, a Volkswagen Polo with just 5bhp less needs 10.8 seconds to get to 62mph, and has a top speed of 115mph. When paired with the eight-speed auto gearbox, the 1.2 petrol’s figures drop slightly, with 0-62mph taking 10.2 seconds and a 119mph top speed.

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Turbocharged or not, the 1.2 petrol is a sweet unit. Power delivery is smooth and predictable, and these units only make their presence felt audibly under hard acceleration. Most three-cylinder units are a little thrummy, and this one is no exception - but the cabin and the controls are well insulated against vibrations.

The diesel performs just as impressively. Boasting 101bhp and 250Nm, the 1.5-litre four-cylinder takes 9.6 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph and has a top speed of 117mph.

As the electric version is the most powerful - the single motor makes 134bhp and 260Nm - it’s also the quickest Corsa. 0-62mph takes just 7.6 seconds, while the instant throttle response means that, particularly at urban speeds, it feels much quicker than that.

One of the benefits of PSA’s latest CMP platform is weight – specifically a lack of it. Aided by what Vauxhall claims is class-leading aerodynamic efficiency, the Corsa should offer up some of the best real-world fuel consumption figures in the class.

Based on the WLTP testing procedure, the 74bhp petrol achieves 51.4mpg. The turbocharged version matches it, though on larger wheels that figure drops to 47.1mpg. Based on our time with the 99bhp petrol, these numbers seem entirely plausible, depending on the sort of driving you do.

The diesel is more frugal still. Officially, the 1.5-litre, 101bhp unit should top 68.9mpg - a remarkable figure for a non-hybrid car. However, given that it costs roughly £1,400 more than the turbo petrol, it’s only a worthwhile choice for those who will be covering a high mileage.

a car parked in a parking lot: Vauxhall Corsa front © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa front

Emissions are low throughout the range, too, with every model dropping under the 100g/km CO2 mark. The non-turbo petrol achieves 93g/km, the turbocharged petrol just scrapes under 100g/km at 99g/km, and the diesel emits just 85g/km.

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The Vauxhall Corsa VXR is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that produces 189bhp- a considerable amount for such a small car and the most powerful Vauxhall Corsa ever.

Particulate emissions are kept to a minimum in the diesel thanks to an exhaust system which features a passive oxidation catalyst/NOx absorber, AdBlue tech, and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Of course, there’s also the fully electric version, the Corsa-e, which emits 0g/km.

Electric range, battery life and charge time

The Corsa-e is equipped with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery, which results in a WLTP-certified range of 209 miles. This depends on the driving mode you’ve selected however: the official figure is based on the ‘Normal’ setting, but Sport mode will cause this to decrease (by around 10 per cent, says Vauxhall) while drivers looking to eke out a little extra range can do so in Eco mode.

The Corsa-e can accept rapid charging through a CCS port at up to 100kW. In optimal conditions, this means that charging from zero to 80 percent (about 167 miles of range) takes 30 minutes. Based on a 7.4kW home wallbox, a full charge from empty takes seven-and-a-half hours.

Vauxhall will also throw in a free six-month subscription to BP Chargemaster’s Polar Network, which from then on increases to £7.85 a month.

Insurance groups

The Corsa should be a cheap car to insure. Entry-level SE models with the non-turbo engine start in group 10, while the cheapest Turbo model starts in group 16. Diesels start in group 20.

By contrast the Ford Fiesta starts in insurance group 5 for Trend models with the entry 1.1-litre petrol engine; the more powerful 1.0-litre EcoBoost models start in group 10.


Cars that sell in numbers as vast as the Corsa tend not to be that great at holding onto their value. Combine this with the fact that the Corsa has an asking price that’s higher than the class average, and it means that the Vauxhall is behind some rivals in terms of depreciation.

Depending on the model, the combustion-powered Corsas should retain roughly 35 percent of their value after three years. The 1.2 Turbo in middling specs is set to hold the most, at closer to 38 percent.

While the Corsa-e costs the most to buy, it should hold onto more of its value, too; up to 41 percent is forecast for these electric versions. Still, as a whole, the Corsa range can’t match the Renault Clio, which holds as much as 46 per cent of its value.


Unlike previous Corsas which were offered with a choice of three and five doors, the latest model comes exclusively in a single five-door body style. Up front, it’s a comfy place to be. The supportive seats have plenty of adjustment, while all round visibility is pretty decent.

Storage is fine, rather than spectacular for the class. The front door bins can each hold a big-ish bottle, while there’s a pair of cupholders in the centre console ahead of a small closed storage bin. The smartphone tray ahead of the gear selector is big enough and positioned in a way that devices shouldn’t fall out when you accelerate or brake. The glovebox is small, though – a result of making it as flat as possible to maximise knee room for the front passenger.


The latest Corsa measures 4,060mm long. That’s 39mm longer than its predecessor, and 7mm longer than a Volkswagen Polo. At 1,765mm wide and 1,435mm tall, it’s grown 19mm wider and dropped 44mm lower than before. The wheelbase measures 2,538mm – 13mm less than the Polo.

a car parked in a parking lot: Vauxhall Corsa rear © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa rear

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Even before you’ve got in, things start to become a little tricky. The doors’ openings are quite narrow - particularly at the back - which means that it’s not only harder to get in than some rivals, but more difficult to install a child seat.

Once you’ve squeezed through the back doors, things aren’t much better. Compared to rivals like the SEAT Ibiza, Hyundai i20 and even its predecessor to a degree, the Corsa feels cramped. The low roof means that anyone nudging six foot tall will brush their head against the ceiling, while knee room isn’t great either. The seats themselves are comfy, though.

a red suitcase sitting next to a car: Vauxhall Corsa boot © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa boot


The Corsa’s boot measures 309 litres. That’s 24 litres more than the old car, and 17 more than you get in a Ford Fiesta. However, the Hyundai i20 (326 litres), SEAT Ibiza (355 litres) and particularly the Renault Clio (391 litres) are all much more generous. The opening itself is fairly small, too, with quite a high loading lip to lift heavy items over. The rear seat backs fold in a 60:40 split, but beyond that, the space is short on clever features.


The latest Vauxhall Corsa achieved a four-star rating (out of a possible five) from Euro NCAP in its crash tests, with scores of 84 and 86 per cent respectively for adult and child occupant protection. Poor whiplash protection for rear-seat passengers brought the overall score down, meaning the Corsa trails five-star rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio.

Every Corsa comes with lane departure warning and lane assist, speed sign recognition and automatic emergency braking as standard; rear parking sensors are added on SRI cars, Ultimate Nav models get adaptive cruise control and SE Nav brings lane departure warning with lane-keep assist. Top-spec cars also bring sophisticated LED matrix headlights, but all models get standard LED items that are very effective.

The latest Corsa is too new to have been featured in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, while the last model languished in 92nd place in the 2019 survey; Vauxhall itself fared poorly too, finishing 29th out of 30 manufacturers. Customers had little to praise about the cars but, mercifully, a below-average 12.4 per cent reported experiencing a fault. We’d hope that the latest generation of PSA Vauxhall cars will remedy owners’ complaints in next year’s survey – we certainly think the Corsa is a cut above its predecessor in almost every area.

a red car: Vauxhall Corsa headlight © Provided by Auto Express Vauxhall Corsa headlight


All Vauxhalls are covered by a three-year, 100,000-mile warranty. This is more or less par for the course, matching that offered on the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, but lagging behind the five-year coverage offered by Hyundai and Toyota on the i20 and Yaris respectively.


Vauxhall offers a range of servicing packages; Vauxhall Care is the most comprehensive, offering three years servicing, two years roadside assistance and a free MoT when your car needs it. Standalone fixed-price services are also available, including all parts and labour with no hidden costs, plus a 12-month warranty on any work.

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Revealed: cars that generated the most service work in 2019 .
The Vauxhall Corsa was the most serviced car in 2019, followed by the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf was the most serviced EV. The post Revealed: cars that generated the most service work in 2019 appeared first on Motoring Research.

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