At a glance
- New price: £18,480 - £20,880
- Used price: £11,330 - £15,370
- Insurance group: 30 Get quotes
- Low starting price
- Good engine
- Great gearchange
- Sophisticated suspension
- Needs Performance Pack for fun
- Bumpy ride with Performance Pack
- Poor emissions and fuel economy
Make no mistake: the Vauxhall Corsa VXR has its work cut out. It takes aim at a group of well-established hot hatchbacks such as the Ford Fiesta ST, Volkswagen Polo GTI and Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo.
Especially sharp to drive
And it’s a considerable step forward from the out-going version, which bafflingly was actually more expensive.
To start with, that list price can’t be ignored. When you’re looking at kit vs cost vs fun, the Corsa VXR is up there with the class leaders.
And if you pick the Performance Pack (£2,400 at time of writing) you’ll have a car that’ll handle as well as almost anything in its sector. Thanks to a clever diff, sophisticated suspension and brilliant brakes, there isn’t a huge amount that can get near it when driven flat-out.
Which is somewhat prophetic since that’s what Vauxhall expects a lot of VXRs to spend time doing. The target market for this car is a young petrolhead likely to venture onto the odd track to find out about both theirs’ and the car’s limits.
They’re also likely to spend a portion of their time sat with mates discussing their Remus exhaust, turbocharged petrol engine and Recaro bucket seats. Rightly so, some will say, since otherwise why bother with the VXR at all?
But actually, without said Performance Pack, the VXR is still great to live with. It loses a lot of the fizz which brings excitement on track, but gains a composure that means it’ll be easier to live with every day. Its only problem is several of its rivals do this better, including the excellent Polo GTI.
Plenty of kit
Still, the littlest VXR is rammed with equipment for its modest asking price, and you can add more still thanks to options packs. For instance, those worried about safety might want to pick the Technical Pack, which adds a raft of kit designed to help the driver stay as safe as possible.
While its running costs may leave a little to be desired – especially in terms of fuel economy and tax – we’re expecting Vauxhall to bring a highly attractive PCP deal to the table.
Having driven the previous version of this car, we were very pleasantly surprised with just how accomplished it was considering the favourable price tag. It’s capable of being both super-hatch and slightly softer too, but its Achilles heel is that it can’t be both at the same time. You’ll need that Performance Pack for the former, and you’ll pay a few grand less for the latter, lesser model.
To find out more, read on for our full Vauxhall Corsa VXR review.