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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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PROS

  • Freshened looks in and out
  • Packed with equipment
  • More engaging to drive
  • Sweet 1.0-litre engine

CONS

  • Heavy refresh, not all-new
  • Non-turbo engines weaker
  • Firm ‘Sport’ ride quality

Verdict

One of the best-selling small cars in Britain, the Vauxhall Corsa, has been given a thorough overhaul for 2015 so that it’s in a better position to take on the

Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo.

Yes, you read that right – a thorough overhaul and not an all-new model. It’s more than just a facelift though as all body panels barring the roof are new and while the underpinnings remain based on the previous generation’s, they’ve been significantly revised.

Raft of upgrades

The biggest visual changes for the latest Corsa are found at the front where the nose is longer and more expressive, with distinctive new headlights and a lower, wider grille. It’s no accident that it shares a very close resemblance to the Adam, Vauxhall’s more fashion-focused small car.

Climb inside and the Adam theme continues with a much improved dashboard featuring soft-touch plastics for the upper moulding, more technology (almost all versions benefit from the IntelliLink infotainment package) but essentially the same amount of space as before as the fundamental cabin dimensions are carried over.

It’s the side aspect where the new and previous Corsa iterations look most similar, as the windows continue into this generation. The more coupe-like glass outline of the three-door is slightly extended by a glossy applique just behind the rearmost side window, but the five-door’s make-over is cleverer, with metalwork that curves upwards on the outside of the rear door to frame the glass. Inside it’s less convincing with black foil stuck to the glass instead of the interior door panel mirroring the exterior.

At the back the rear ends of both three- and five-door Corsas are brought into line with identical treatment featuring horizontal tail lights and a large Vauxhall badge that stands proud of the tailgate doubling as a release handle for the hatch.

Under the skin it drives significantly better than before too, riding more pliantly on Comfort suspension models but at times with too much firmness on those with the Sport setting.

Refreshed petrol and diesel engines

Under the reprofiled front of the latest Corsa is a combination of improved and all-new engines, the focus being efficiency rather than high performance – none of the range at launch completes the 0-62mph acceleration in less than 10 seconds, for instance. This will be rectified in spring 2015 when the new Corsa VXR goes on sale.

Until then, the headline-grabbing engine is the new three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol, in 89bhp and 113bhp outputs. We were particularly impressed by its refinement and balance between speed and efficiency, and it’s quieter than Ford’s similarly-sized EcoBoost engine too. Depending on wheel size, the lower-powered version of the two units boasts claims up to 65.7mpg and 100g/km of CO2.

It’s not the most efficient Corsa though; that honour still belongs to the 1.3-litre CDTi diesels in 74bhp and 94bhp forms, where Vauxhall claims as high as 88.3mpg, resulting in CO2 emissions of 85g/km.

Depending on trim, other engines include a 69bhp 1.2-litre petrol, and a 1.4-litre available with or without a turbocharger, delivering 99bhp and 89bhp respectively. That 89bhp version is also available with options of a conventional automatic and an improved version of the robotised manual that changes gears automatically, called Easytronic. All other Corsas have five- or six-speed manual gearboxes.

Broad range and packed with equipment

Vauxhall’s attempted to simplify the outgoing Corsa’s range but it’s still ended up with nine trim levels at the time of the 2014 launch. All of them are well-equipped compared to rivals – all have an electrically heated windscreen, and every Corsa barring the entry-level Life has LED day running lights too, in Vauxhall’s signature ‘wing’ formation. Best of all, model for model it’s less expensive than the previous Corsa too.

Is this host of well-judged revisions going to be enough to bring it close to the leaders of the small car pack? Read Parkers full new Vauxhall Corsa review to find out.

What owners say about this car

The car is so good at the basics, and in the end that's all you need. Drives well, efficient and... Read owner review

It looks compact from outside but tonnes of space inside, room for 5 passengers and the boot is... Read owner review

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