Vauxhall Corsa (2020-present)

Lighter, more agile and better looking, the latest Corsa is an improvement on its predecessor, but it is also a lot more expensive new

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Quiet but punchy petrol engines
Plenty of kit across the range
Looks better than its predecessor

Weaknesses 

Sat-nav system is clunky
Expensive to buy new
Interior full of cheap plastic
Best finance deal

Vauxhall Corsa Diesel Hatchback (2011-2014) 1.3 cdti ecoflex sxi 5dr [ac]

Finance price £79 per month

Cash price £4,999

Vauxhall Corsa prices from £14,675   Finance from £243 per month

Multiple generations of Vauxhall Corsa have been gleefully trundling along UK roads since John Major was prime minister and the television-owning public was checking the football scores on Teletext. Its mix of keen pricing, small size and practicality has ensured it pops up towards the top of the UK's best-selling cars list pretty much every year since.

Now Vauxhall has changed ownership - becoming part of Groupe PSA (which owns Peugeot and Citroen) - the fifth-generation model has plenty of common parts shared with Peugeot and Citroen. In reality, this is very much a Peugeot 208 with its own look and the stylists have done a very good job to ensure new Vauxhall Corsa looks sportier and more purposeful on the road.

Prices at launch start at £15,750 for the most basic SE models with a non-turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine, while the most expensive Ultimate Nav sits with a price tag of £25,990, that's a lot more than you'd have paid for Corsas in the past - you're looking at Volkswagen Golf territory here. If you're after value, therefore, it's worth picking up a nearly-new or used model and saving thousands.

That price can be explained to an extent by the amount of new tech on board; even the most basic models come with a seven-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Most will opt for the sportier SRi trim, which sees more attention paid to racier interior flourishes, while the turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol is much more usable, thanks to 100hp and a slick six-speed manual or a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox borrowed from Peugeot.

As the Corsa weighs in from under 1,000kg, too - which is light for a modern supermini - so it does feel nimble out on the road. Surprisingly, road noise is still kept to a minimum and refinement levels are high for a car of this size. The seats are comfortable and the turbocharged petrol and diesel offerings are perfectly good enough for long journeys.

Of course, you can splash the cash on big-car-kit with the new Corsa, which sees things like 17-inch alloy wheels added, leather seats with a massage function and clever 'IntelliLux' LED Matrix Headlights that produce a huge amount of light and shuffle the beam around to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic while lighting as much of the road as possible.

Initial PCP finance deals from Vauxhall on the new Corsa are pricey, so if you have a smaller budget, going for a nearly-new model should prove much more affordable. As the previous Corsa wasn't a particularly good car, you're better off choosing a low-mileage Ford Fiesta until more of the latest Corsa are available used, unless you want to cut costs as much as possible, in which case a top value used Vauxhall Corsa could make sense.

The Corsa’s mass appeal was always its cheap price tag, but this is no longer a cheap car and direct rivals now include the much more high-quality feeling Volkswagen Polo, the very enjoyable-to-drive Ford Fiesta and even the likes of the Audi A1 or Mini Hatchback.

It’s a tough act to follow, especially seeing as the new Corsa’s interior just can’t compete with some of the cars mentioned above in terms of build quality or feel. The Peugeot 208, upon which most of this car is based, sports a striking dashboard layout, looks similarly dramatic from the outside and features a very similar price tag. This means that the Corsa which makes more sense at a lower price, meaning that going for a nearly-new version seems like a sensible bet if you're sold on the Corsa.

An all-electric version could be an interesting alternative for buyers, seeing as the most long-range models feature a usable 209-mile claimed range and prices start at around £30,000 for the lower powered 7.4kW versions - making it one of the cheapest electric cars on the market. However, £30,000 is still a huge amount of money for a small car, and those after a desirable compact electric car could get a far more upmarket, more desirable low-mileage 2019 BMW i3 from as little as £25,000.

Last Updated 

Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 10:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3-years / 60,000 miles
Boot space: 
309 litres
Width: 
1,960mm
Length: 
4,060mm
Height: 
1,433mm
Tax: 
£110 to £130 (free for Corsa-E)

Best Vauxhall Corsa for... 

Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 75PS SE 5 Speed
The most basic Corsa in the new range is not only the least expensive to buy, it’s also the cheapest to tax. It isn’t the most fuel efficient, though. That would be the 1.5-litre diesel.
Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 100hp Elite Nav 8 Speed Auto
Although not quite the most lavishly appointed model in the range, this spec includes plenty of kit, an easy going eight-gear automatic gearbox and a reasonable price tag.
Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 100hp 6 Speed SRi
With no high-performance VXR model currently on the cards, this is probably the closest customers will get to sporting performance. Namely sports seats and 16-inch alloy wheels.

 

1993 The first generation Corsa goes on sale (dropping the Nova nameplate used previously) and is sold purely as a hatchback
2000 Corsa receives a major refresh, including new chassis and engine technology
2006 Corsa D version is unleashed, with the first examples of high-performance VXR versions hitting the market
2014 More powerful engines, improved suspension, refreshed looks and greater levels of technology came part and parcel of the fourth generation vehicle
2019 The first Corsa sharing Peugeot and Citroen engines, gearboxes and tech arrives, complete with an all-electric version for the first time.

Understanding Vauxhall Corsa car names 

  • Corsa
  • Trim
    SRi
  • Body style
    5 Door
  • Engine
    1.2-litre petrol
  • Gearbox
    6-speed Manual
  • Trim
    There are four trim levels offered here, with most basic cars sporting the SE badge and Ultimate Nav including the most kit.
  • Body style
    The Corsa has long been available as a five-door hatchback and nothing has changed here, though a three-door model is no longer available.
  • Engine
    Two different 1.2-litre petrol engines with differing power outputs and a single diesel offering greet customers. There is also an all-electric version.
  • Gearbox
    6 Speed shows that the car has six gears. The Corsa comes with a five-speed manual (on lower powered 1.2 petrol engines), a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifts, so you can change gears manually.

Vauxhall Corsa Engines 

1.2 petrol (75hp), 1.2 petrol (100hp) and 1.5 diesel

We are still awaiting the first proper drives of the all-electric Corsa, so let’s focus on the petrol and diesel cars for now. The range kicks off with a relatively small 1.2-litre, non-turbocharged petrol engine that develops just 75hp.

It is predictably a little underpowered and drivers will find a lack of sixth gear gets rather frustrating on faster stretches of road or long motorway journeys, as without this the engine is working harder at high speeds - meaning increased fuel consumption and more engine noise. But this is designed very much as an entry-level product and proves very easy to drive for those new to being behind the wheel.

Many will plump for the more powerful 1.2-litre turbocharged 100hp engine. It’s a great little engine, providing ample pulling power but not making much fuss about doing so. It is surprisingly quiet even when working hard.

Fuel economy is very good, too, with official figures putting it in the region of 52mpg, while the 1.5-litre diesel is pegged at around 70mpg. That said, the diesel doesn’t feel as refined and isn’t as enjoyable to drive.

The more powerful petrol engine comes mated to a snappy six-speed manual gearbox as standard, which is a joy to use, while the eight-speed automatic is very good, too. Gear changes are quick and smooth, although it will automatically change up when it wants to, even when placed in manual mode, which essentially renders the slender plastic paddle shifts a bit pointless and means that if you want to feel in control you're better off choosing a manual. Plus, acceleration is markedly slower with the automatic gearbox specified - hitting 62mph from a standstill in 10.2 seconds, as opposed to 9.2 seconds with the manual.

Performance figures aren’t exactly scintillating across the range, but the chassis and suspension set-up is well judged here. The largest 17-inch alloy wheels make the ride feel a bit firm and crashy on the worst UK road surfaces, but the standard 16-inch variants are very good.

The lightweight shell ensures new Corsa feels responsive and quick to turn into corners, boding well for any potential upcoming high-performance VXR variants. Overall, it’s a nice thing to drive but doesn’t excel in this department like rivals from Volkswagen and Ford.

Model

Fuel

Mpg

Power

0 - 62mph

Top speed

1.2 75

Petrol

53.3mpg

75hp

12.4 secs

108mph

1.2 100

Petrol

52.3mpg

100hp

9.3 secs

121mph

1.5

Diesel

70.6mpg

102hp

9.6 secs

117mph

Vauxhall Corsa Trims 

SE, SRi, Elite Nav and Ultimate Nav

There has been a recent trend for manufacturers slimming down the choices in their respective product line-ups. Part of this is down to simplifying things for new emissions regulations that require every version of a car to be tested for emissions, rather than simply each engine to be tested separately.

As a result, Vauxhall is offering just four trim levels on the Corsa, with most optional extras limited to a small selection of ‘packs’ that bundle in additional technology or styling elements.

Entry level SE models come with 16-inch alloys wheels, a seven-inch media display, a digital radio, LED headlights, air-conditioning and a suite of advanced safety functions, including lane departure warning, speed sign recognition and hill start assist, for helping when pulling off on a slope.

Even in its most basic form, the Corsa feels very well equipped but there is no getting away from the fact that the cabin still features lots of scratchy and cheap plastics, which are always very much in reach of the driver and passengers.

The media system is perfectly adequate, but definitely not as sharp or intuitive as those found within the VW Group (consisting of Audi, VW, Seat and Skoda among other brands). On top of this, there’s a small display sat between the instrument dials that feels particularly cheap. It’s not programmable, either.

SRi models add a few sporty touches to the exterior, like a bespoke set off alloys, a sportier front fascia and chrome-tipped exhaust. There are also alloy sports pedals inside and more cosseting sports seats. Sat-nav can be added to all trim levels for a premium of around £700. 

Elite Nav models introduce sat-nav as standard, but this is clunky and completely eclipsed by anything offered by a smartphone, rendering it defunct for any remotely tech-savvy buyers who will naturally plug a device into the larger 10-inch screen every time they set foot in the car.

Electrically folding mirrors, ambient LED lighting, a panoramic reversing camera, parking sensors, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are all very welcome additions to the package, but these cars start at £18,990, which feels very expensive for a Vauxhall Corsa. As initial Corsa finance deals are pricey, it's worth checking out used models if you want the most kit in your Corsa for an affordable price.

More expensive still is the Ultimate Nav model, which is only available with the more powerful petrol engine mated to the eight-speed automatic gearbox. An eye-watering £25,990 buys you 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, leather seats with a massage function (something rarely seen in this type of car), keyless open and start and adaptive cruise control, which maintains a safe distance behind the car in front.

Ultimate Nav models also boasts Vauxhall Connect functionality, which allows you to benefit from a suite of constantly connected Vauxhall apps.

Perhaps most interesting of all are the IntelliLux LED Matrix Headlights, which constantly monitor the road ahead and automatically adjust to provide the most light on the road without blinding fellow road users. It is the sort of technology you’d expect to find in a premium vehicle from Audi or Mercedes-Benz, not a small family hatchback.

Vauxhall Corsa Reliability and warranty 

Vauxhall’s only entry into the 2019 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey is the Astra, which depressingly languishes at the very bottom of the table. However, Vauxhall receiving a new owner in form of the PSA Group and the benefits of large economies of scale, shared platforms and common parts for reliabiity and lower costs, bodes well for the brand.

Customers might notice that the three-year/60,000-mile warranty is also a bit stingy compared to unlimited mileage variants offered by most rivals, while the likes of Kia and Hyundai blow Vauxhall out of the water when it comes to owner’s peace of mind with seven and five-year warranties respectively as standard.

Used Vauxhall Corsa 

There is a used Vauxhall Corsa to suit all budgets: from low-cost older cars that can withstand the rigours of a new driver, to almost-new previous generation models with nothing more than delivery miles on the clock.

As such, there are bargains to be had across the board and when you can pick up a top spec 2019 1.4-litre Corsa with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and just five miles on the clock for £12,495, it makes the £20,000 asking price of a similar new model a tough pill to swallow. Check out the latest used deals on BuyaCar to see just how much you could get for your money by clicking on the button below.

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