Vauxhall Corsa (2014-2019) Review
The latest Vauxhall Corsa is comfortable and stylish, with enough space for a family
Strengths & weaknesses
- Big boot and spacious interior
- Well priced and equipped
- Rides smoothly
- Four-star Euro NCAP rating
- Outclassed by newer rivals
- Looks old against Fiesta
Used Vauxhall Corsa prices from £5,995 Finance from £116.16 per month
There are some rivalries known the world over: Ali vs Frazier, Coke vs Pepsi, Senna vs Prost and, er, Fiesta vs Corsa.
Almost 200,000 drivers bought a Ford Fiesta or a Vauxhall Corsa in 2017 - accounting for one in every 14 cars sold in Britain - and the Ford Fiesta came out on top with 120,000 sales. That lead is growing, thanks to the new Fiesta that arrived in 2017 with more room, more quality and improved technology. But Vauxhall were quick to respond, and June 2018 saw the arrival of an improved Corsa with a streamlined engine range and more tech on offer.
Those changes came on top of a supermini that was already a sensible choice, offering so much space, equipment and performance.
Five-door versions are more practical, making it far easier to get into the back, but if you’re rarely going to carry rear passengers, then the three-door might appeal because its curvier roof gives it a more attractive shape. That curve does reduce rear headroom though, which can make it uncomfortable for tall adults. In contrast, the five-door Corsa has enough headroom and legroom to keep two adults, or three at a squeeze, comfortable. The Corsa's dimensions, including 285 litres of boot space, are fairly average for a supermini.
Even the very cheapest Vauxhall Corsa models come with cruise control, electric front windows, a heated windscreen and Bluetooth, to connect your phone wirelessly. There's also a touchscreen, which, since 2016, has included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
This older generation Corsa does lack the latest safety equipment - including automatic emergency braking, where the car can slow itself down to avoid a crash. This affects the car’s safety score: it was awarded four stars out of five after crash tests by the independent Euro NCAP organisation.
|Warranty||Three years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||280-285 litres|
|Tax||£165 to £205 in the first year (few remaining VXRs are £1,240) £140 thereafter|
Best Vauxhall Corsa for...
Best for Economy – Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i Turbo (100PS) SE Nav S/S 5dr
With a diesel engine no longer offered, the most economical Corsa is this petrol-powered model. Even then, it’s just 1mpg more economical than most other engines in the range. It’s not available in a cheaper trim so this slight gain comes at some expense.
Best for Families – Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i Turbo (100PS) SE Nav S/S 5dr
There are a lot of Vauxhall Corsa trim levels but to cut through the confusion, the Design includes most of the essentials, except alloy wheels, which are optional extras. The 1-litre turbocharged petrol is economical but powerful.
Best for Performance – Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i Turbo GSi (150PS) 3dr
This is not as fast as the old VXR, but it is cheaper, and cheaper to insure.
One to Avoid – Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i (75PS) SRi VX-Line Nav Black
This version is dressed to impress but in weedy 75hp form it is not only underpowered but expensive, too. The slightly more powerful 90hp version is slightly dearer and no less unappealing.
- July 2014 Current Corsa unveiled by Vauxhall
- September 2014 70,000 Corsas recalled for potential steering column defect
- December 2014 Car gets four-star Euro NCAP safety rating
- November 2015 New Intellilink software added to all cars except Sting and Sting R, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- February 2015 6,300 Corsas recalled for separate potential steering problem
- March 2015 Corsa VXR hot hatchback announced
- March 2016 Corsa Red special edition with 1.4T engine announced. Since extended to Black and White special editions
- 2017 EcoFLEX engines rebranded EcoTEC
- 2018 Vauxhall streamlines the Corsa range and adds extra kit. The 1.0-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines are dropped meaning all engines are now 1.4-litre petrols, two of them turbocharged, in four different power outputs. Air-con now standard from Design trim upwards.
- 2018 GSI hot(ish)hatch added to line up.
- September 2019 A brand new Vauxhall Corsa replaces this older model.
Understanding Vauxhall Corsa names
Engine 1.4i 100PS Turbo
From new, there’s only one base engine, a 1.4-litre petrol. It’s offered in turbo and non-turbocharged forms, and in a total of four different power outputs. The 100hp engine is turbocharged for extra power and improved economy.
The trim level indicates how much equipment comes as standard. The Corsa comes in eight different trims ranging from basic Active to range-topping GSi.
Lower-powered (75 and 90hp) Corsas come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard. The 100hp and 150hp models have a six-speed gearbox. The 90hp engine is also offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Vauxhall Corsa Engines
Petrol: 1.4i, 1.4i Turbo
There’s now no diesel engine and no small 1.0-litre turbo petrol in the Corsa line-up. Instead, buyers are offered a choice of two, 1.4-litre petrol engines, one of them turbocharged, in different power outputs: 75hp, 90hp, 100hp and 150hp.
Apart from the most powerful 150hp version in the GSi, the engines all do around 50mpg. The automatic gearbox that you can have with the 90hp engine brings economy down to around 45mpg.
The entry-level engine is a non-turbo 1.4. It's the cheapest way to get behind the wheel of a Corsa but isn't very exciting to drive, especially in 75hp form, where accelerating from 0-62mph takes a ponderous 15.5 seconds. You're better off with the more powerful 90hp version.
The two turbocharged engines produce 100hp and 150hp. The latter can be found in the new GSi. Meanwhile, despite its extra performance, the 100hp is actually slightly more economical than the 75 and 90hp engines.
Vauxhall Corsa Trims
Active, Design, Energy, Sport, SE Nav, SRi Nav, SRi VX-Line Nav Black, GSi, Griffin
There are certainly cars with simpler line-ups than the Vauxhall Corsa. There are eight basic specification levels to choose from (listed above), plus the manufacturer from time to time offers special editions.
Regardless of what Corsa you decide to buy, you’ll get a heated windscreen, Bluetooth and USB, to connect your phone, electric windows, cruise control and power-adjustable door mirrors.
The entry-level Active model, which is only available in three-door form, has 15in alloy wheels, cruise control and a heated windscreen.
Move up to Design and not only can you choose from three or five-door body styles but you get air conditioning, front foglights and a touchscreen display. Strangely, though, the wheels are steel rather than alloy.
The next trim, Energy, sees the return of alloy wheels, this time 16in rather than the 15in affairs fitted to Active trim.
Sport adds sporty front seats, alloy-effect pedals, a leather-covered steering wheel and dark tinted windows.
As its name suggests, SE Nav has a sat nav and is just that little bit more comfort-oriented than Sport. Both are around the same price. SE Nav trim buyers can now specify an optional Lux pack which, for £1,500, brings features including special 17in alloy wheels, a rearview camera and climate control.
SRi Nav is a blend of Sport and SE Nav, with a price to match.
SRi VX-Line Nav Black is more eye-catching still with elements of the old VXR (rear spoiler, 17in alloys and a body kit). However, it’s only available with the 75 or 90PS engines so performance-wise doesn't live up to its visual promise. It’s also very expensive.
The range-topping GSi replaces the more powerful VXR. It’s only in three-door form and looks like the VXR (rear spoiler, bodykit, Recaro seats and aluminium pedals). It is cheaper to buy and to run than the VXR, but not as fast.
The latest special edition is the Griffin, brought out to celebrate 25 years of the Corsa. Named after the mythical creature that makes up Vauxhall’s logo, this version sports sat nav, air conditioning, front fog lights, and a set of unique ‘Griffin’ badges on the front wing of the car.
Vauxhall Corsa Reliability and warranty
The Vauxhall Corsa is more reliable than the model that it replaced - although that's not saying much, given its predecessor's lowly reputation. The current car has a mid-table reliability ranking of 67 out of 75 in the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.
The result is also similar in the vehicle reliability index, compiled by the aftermarket warranty firm Warrantywise. Based on real-life claims, Vauxhall is 24 out of 38 brands, ahead of Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes.
In terms of warranty, the Corsa is in line with most of the competition in offering three years or 60,000 miles of cover (whichever comes first).
Used Vauxhall Corsa
In common with several other Vauxhalls, the Corsa suffers a steep drop in value in the first year of ownership, with even the desirable VXR hot hatchback shedding around a quarter of its new list price. Vauxhalls are popular with company-car drivers and rental firms, so you could save even more if you don't mind choosing a relatively new, yet fairly high-mileage Corsa that may be close to exceeding its 60,000-mile warranty limit.
The complicated series of trim levels and lengthy options available mean that it's simpler to simply check the specification of a vehicle that you like, rather than having to learn exactly what differentiates an SRi from an SRi VX-Line.
One option that complicates matters is Vauxhall's OnStar service, which many buyers regard as a nice-to-have gadget rather than an essential. It was only fitted to Corsas from November 2015 and comes with a one-year subscription. If you want to continue benefitting from its features, which include a WiFi hotspot, use of a call centre that can program your sat-nav to direct you to any destination, and tracking if your car is stolen, then it will cost around £90 a year.
|Vauxhall Corsa: used car prices||1 year old||2 years old||3 years old|
Best for performance Vauxhall Corsa GSI
Best for families Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i Turbo (100PS) SE Nav
Best for economy Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i Turbo (100PS)