Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Fastest and greenest Corsa
  • 136hp motor
  • Electric your only option 

There's only one propulsion option on this Vauxhall, a 136hp electric motor. There are three drive modes, and two levels of regenerative braking. A full 260Nm of torque means nippy acceleration, especially around town, where the Corsa-e can leap from 0-31mph in just 2.8 seconds, and on to 62mph in 8.1 seconds when conditions allow. Top speed is 93mph.

Helping claw back charge is the car's regenerative braking system, which offers two levels of severity depending on driver preference and prevailing traffic conditions.

Drive in D mode (below) and you'll experience a mild level of regeneration, allowing the Corsa-e to decelerate gently. Nudge the gearlever down to B mode and this doubles the level of regeneration, working all the way down to 5mph before coasting again.

Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020) transmission selector

Three drive modes will also be available in the form of Eco, Normal and Sport. Toggle the button located beside the electronic parking brake switch and this varies the amount of power output available in each.

Eco mode brings a reduced power output of 82hp and 180Nm of torque, with a slower throttle response to match and a pared down climate control system. Driving in Normal mode means you'll be driving with 110hp and 220nm of torque. Top speed remains the same, but both these detuned maps can also be overruled with full-throttle application for emergency use.

Sport mode is where you'll find the full 136hp and 260Nm of torque, along with weighted-up steering to match. Given the usable battery capacity of 46kWh, the Corsa has an efficiency rating of 4.54 miles per kWh and using the latest Government power generation figures, a well-to-wheels CO2 output of 37.7g/km.

Vauxhall Corsa-e handling

  • Nippy and fun
  • Even in eco mode, performance is brisk
  • Regenerative braking takes some getting used to 

Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020) profle view, driving

It's longer and wider than the version it replaces, too, so expect it to feel more stable, with better ride comfort. The roofline is lower to help improve drag, but you also sit lower to the ground. In conjunction with a longer bonnet, you'll feel less like you're sitting in a people carrier compared to the old one.

The brakes have also been upgraded with larger items to compensate for the added weight.

It's no Tesla, but the little Corsa is brisk, borderline quick. Like all single-speed electric cars it punches hard from a standstill but tends to run out of steam at high speed. Medium speed overtaking feels fast and confidence inspiring, but above 50mph you need to think carefully before a marginal pass. There's a lot of torque and the Corsa-e feels nippy and fun. Even on slippery roads the traction control is gentle and wheelspin takes a lot of provocation. That said, if you floor the throttle with a lot of lock on, it does fly off rather too fast for comfort.

Body roll is well controlled and the steering is direct and well weighted if not over endowed with feedback. In fact the Corsa-e's weight distribution is closer to an ideal 50/50 than its petrol counterpart and the centre of gravity is 10 per cent lower, which is a good start. That extra weight, however, means that like most battery electric cars, Corsa corners flat with a slightly uncanny feeling of grip which tells you nothing about just where the limits of that grip are. So you end up driving on trust rather than knowledge.

Drive modes: Sport, Normal and Eco, which restrict power and torque and modify throttle and steering weight

Autonomous driving systems: intelligent cruise and lane keeping is an option on Elite Nav cars, which works well even down to walking pace. You still need to hold on to the steering wheel when the car is staying in lane, but it maintains a central position even through tight corners.